Into the wild, blue yonder – Chap. 4, Act 1, Strip 18

And thus our friends embark on their epic journey to scenic Arulco, using the most convenient mode of transportation: a combination of stock footage of airliners taking off with a red, dotted line advancing across a map. Of course this classic visual metaphor originated in a time when flying was more of an adventure than trying to get aboard a plane. Strictly speaking, it would have required updating for quite some time now – but scenes depicting the actual checking-in process are only really suitable for torture horror movies.

Nolan could find no airline that would sponsor travel expenditure for his crew…but the guy at the JAL counter gave him a free subway ticket out of sympathy, so Nolan insisted that George should steal the footage from a JAL commercial. He likes to show his gratitude.

Nolan was likewise unsuccessful in finding a local tourism board that would have been willing to sponsor his production in some way…or at least been willing to be helpful in some way…or even been willing to acknowledge his inquiries in some way. Life is tough at the very bottom of the cinematic pecking order. If Nolan at least knew Peter Jackson, he could ask him to borrow a small bit of his property, New Zealand, but unfortunately he’s never met the man at the other end of the order.

The upside to the lack of official endorsement is the ability to set the next scenes in a fictional country – thus all inconsistencies in climate, building styles, street signage and the accents of the extras can be handwaved away as being the norm in Arulco, a small country at the crossroads of everywhere.

The exact location of Lillytown is likewise left unspecified – Nolan is still hoping to find some local tourism board somewhere in the US that’ll at least give him a dozen fast food coupons or something for having Lillytown U officially implanted in their county.

More on Monday.

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