Journey Beyond the Screen

King Arthur Country?

Are action films the right vehicle to promote film tourism?

King Arthur Country?

By Pennie Hunt

With the release of these beautiful behind-the-scenes shots for VisitBritain's film tourism campaign around King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, I was expecting a very different kind of film.

Looking somewhat chilly on it - King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) on the rocks of The Bealach in Applecross, Scotland.

Looking somewhat chilly on it - King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) on the rocks of The Bealach in Applecross, Scotland.

A scene filmed in Llyn Gwynant, Snowdonia, Wales.

A scene filmed in Llyn Gwynant, Snowdonia, Wales.

So imagine my surprise when I watched the film's trailer and was greeted by an explosive rock video with sequences cut to coincide with the screaming strings of Led Zeppelin's classic song 'Babe, I'm gonna leave you.' Even the Independent newspaper describes Guy Ritchie's latest film as "a bonkers take on a classic, with the help of giant elephants, lots of bare-knuckle boxing, and Jude Law in superior evil mode."

The truth is, action films don't tend to be the best vehicles for promoting film destinations. Yes, the images above are stunning, but within the context of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (a film I'm assuming doesn't develop a real depth in the characters), they fail to address our emotions. Why? Because film characters are intrinsically tied to locations and falling in love with them, means falling in love with a place. Think about it - in The Lord of the Rings Frodo's emotional parting from Sam will be forever tied to the Mavora Lakes, and what lover of Paddington bear wouldn't want to visit the Paddington railway station?

We fans tend to want authentic experiences. We want to feel the emotions a beloved character felt and to connect with the world of the story through their eyes. I don't need to watch Ritchie's film to know that that's just not my kind of King Arthur country.

I'd love to know what you think. Are emotional, character-driven films better vehicles for destinations?

PS: If you are interested in seeing more of VisitBritain's campaign, check out their behind-the-scenes clip below.

 

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