There has been no greater star in cinema than the good old Earth. Some settings are immediately recognizable and take place in the actual place they are filming – Paris, New York City, London… or sometimes they cheat and just film it all in Canada.

Often when you’re watching a fictional movie with a great setting you think ‘oh man… I really wish I could have gone there… too bad it’s not real’. Not true! You can visit many of these places, without the help of hallucinogens, just as I have, and be all the more awesome for it. Here are some wicked sci-fi and fantasy places I have been to… please don’t burst my bubble.

Middle-Earth (From The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings)

I think the government of New Zealand got a pretty sweet deal out of these, at last count, six movies that aside from being marvels in cinematic achievement also serve as the greatest tourism promotional film ever created. The sites of the films are spread out over the two main islands, but it’s not hard to find Mount Doom, Rohan or Hobitton – truth be told, the places not used in the films are even more spectacular.

Caprica (From Battlestar Galactica)

The humans didn’t really spend much time in the show on Caprica before the Cylons attacked, but there are a number of sites, like the coliseum shaped library, that are pretty hard to miss as Vancouver landmarks. Yeah, I’ve been to Caprica. I’ve walked down the same streets Helo did with Boomer before realizing she was a Cylon… breathed in the same air that was later made unsafe by Gaius Baltar’s surrendering of access codes to Number 6. It was a lot less bleak when I was there… you know… being pre-genocide and all that, but as anyone knows who’s watched the show, it’s based on a true story… right?

Totoro’s Forest (From My Neighbour Totoro)

Okay for this one I am going to refrain from suggesting I’ve been in a cartoon just to keep people from trying to send me away to the padded room. I lived in the town of Higashi Murayama, Japan, which has a forest that is the inspiration for the forest in the Miyazaki film. For anyone who doesn’t know, Totoro is pretty much the Japanese Winnie the Pooh and it’s nigh impossible to go anywhere without seeing his likeness – he even showed up in Toy Story 3!

Mars (You know… the planet)

I’ve been there – don’t try to tell me that I haven’t. Red rocks, cold desolate wasteland – it wasn’t the most pleasant stay but I’ve been there. No need for a parade, all I want is a simple statue made of gold constructed in my honour. Just a heads up, the Japanese have already claimed it as their own.

I don’t know why there’s all this controversy over the moon landing and nothing over the Mars rovers when it’s clear that it was all filmed on Mount Fuji. It’s just one more thing that reminds us how advanced the Japanese are.

By Mike

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