From <i>The Descendants</i> to <i>Midnight in Paris</i>, these 11 movies made us want to pack our bags in search of our own picture-perfect paradise.
<b><i>The Descendants</i> -- Hawaii</b><br/> Though Hawaii often serves as a beautiful background in movies, <i>The Descendants</i> offers us an insider’s view of the “real” Hawaii -- a paradise, yes, but also one that still has domestic dramas and real estate wars just like mainland US. But we still have plenty of reason to dream about the state’s warm blue waters and pristine beaches.
<i><b>Midnight in Paris</i> -- Paris</b><br/> In Woody Allen’s <i>Midnight in Paris</i>, the City of Lights gets even more bewitching when the clock strikes midnight. For lucky Gil Bender, this is the magic hour when he can walk into 1920s Paris to muse with the day’s most famous writers and artists over aperitifs and jazz. But Paris will always be magical to us, no matter the era.
<i><b>War Horse</i> -- England</b><br/> Steven Spielberg's <i>War Horse</i> is a World War I drama about a young man and his horse, with rural England as the stunning backdrop. Spielberg says the film's location, Dartmoor, is the third character: “There's no place like it in the world."
<i><b>The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo</i> -- Stockholm</b><br/> With the success of <i>The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo</i> trilogy, Stockholm has seen a rise in tourism. Droves of fans have been heading to Sweden’s capital to search out the locations used in Stieg Larsson’s dark crime thrillers, even if some places don’t exist at all.
<i><b>Drive</i> -- LA </b><br/> “There are 100,000 streets in this city …” says Ryan Gosling’s getaway-car driver character about LA in <i>Drive</i>. And he shows us many that most tourists won’t see, inspiring us to take our own detour of LA, preferably in an equally cool ride.
<i><b>Pirates of the Caribbean </i>-- Caribbean</b><br/> Lest we were about to tire of the Pirates franchise, this past year’s <i>Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides</i>, made up for it with stunning shots of the Caribbean: all remote, wild and magical.
<i><b>Snow Flower and the Secret Fan</i> -- Shanghai</b><br/> In the film <i>Snow Flower and the Secret Fan</i>, we see contrasting scenes of both 19th-century and present-day Shanghai. With beautiful scenes of both periods, we’re equally inspired to see the temples and Chinese gardens of old Shanghai, as well as the designer hotels and metropolis cityscapes of the modern city.
<i><b>The Rum Diary</i>-- Puerto Rico</b><br/><i> The Rum Diary</i>, staring Johnny Depp, shows Puerto Rico in 1960, with postcard-perfect scenes of colorful colonial buildings, pristine beaches and ever-flowing bottles of rum. What’s not travel-inspiring about that?
<i><b>Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2</i> -- Theme Park and England</b><br/>What do Harry Potter fanatics do after all the movies are over? Hop on a broomstick, naturally, and fly to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort. Or visit locations such as the Alnwick Castle in England, a backdrop in the first 2 movies.
<i><b>Soul Surfer</i> -- Hawaii</b><br/><i>Soul Surfer</i> is more than just another surf-and-travel movie; it’s not just about searching for the perfect wave. It tells the inspiring tale of 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. Whether or a not you surf, you’ll feel drawn to the waves and the film’s location in Kauai, HI.
<i><b>Hangover 2</i> -- Bangkok</b><br/> Debauchery at its finest, <i>Hangover 2</i> may not be on our list for its cinematic merits, but we know there’s a lot more to Bangkok than shady hotels and raucous nightlife. So this movie showed us what not to do when visiting.