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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Oh, the Places We've Seen: Part 2

This week, I began typing up an Itinerary for this year's trip to England. Although we can change some of the lodging, all of it has finally been booked. Having this finished will help us focus our attention on the sites we really want to see, near the places we'll be staying. 

Sadly, none of those places will be in London, the capital of the United Kingdom, if not the cultural capital of the world. It's such a multicultural city, filled with so much history, culture, and life. It holds so many famous landmarks, locales used in films and movies, and places mentioned in novels. While we look toward the future, I thought I'd share one of those special moments from a previous visit there with you.

I know we've all seen Big Ben, the famous clock tower that rises above the Palace of Westminster, countless times in movies and TV shows. Still, it's a magnificent building. One of my favorite movies that prominently features Big Ben is "Shanghai Knights." Toward the end of the movie, we find Owen Wilson outside the tower, clinging to the minute hand for dear life, while inside, Jackie Chan clashes swords with the villain, Lord Rathbone. It's a great action comedy, and the interplay between Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan is terrific. So if you're interested in a fun adventure set in the past, in which our two heroes help save the British Royal Family, this movie is for you.

Another favorite Big Ben moment, nearly as great, comes from the Doctor Who season 1 episode "Aliens of London." As the Doctor and his companion Rose Tyler watch, an alien ship hurtles by overhead, crashes through the clock tower, and splashes down in the River Thames. I love all the old Doctor Who shows, such as the first Doctor adventure "The Dalek Invasion of Earth," that feature such landmarks prominently. But I've told you about those numerous times, and I haven't highlighted how great-looking and accessible the new series is. There's no wonder it's won new Doctor Who fans the world over, and this scene serves as a good example of the power it wields. 

Note: If you follow the link below to watch the scene, take an extra careful look at the clock face. You may notice a small difference there, from the one in my photograph.

The amazing thing is that London bustles with so much life, and offers up so many visual delights, that it's easy to miss something so big and tall. (Yes, I'm talking something infinitely bigger and taller than you'll find in your average Big And Tall shop). On our first visit to London, I was so mesmerized by everything around me, that my wife had to tell me to look up. More than once. "What?" I asked. "Why?" Finally, I took her suggestion and looked up. 


Recently, I saw a documentary on Amazon Prime in which someone went inside Big Ben. I've always wanted to tour the inside, although as an American, I gather that wouldn't be possible unless I was an extra-special VIP, such as Tony Stark or Reed Richards. But then, given all the destruction in the Iron Man movies, and with the recent dissolution of the Fantastic Four in comics, perhaps neither man would be granted access right now. In any case, it was neat to see how different it looks from the dramatization in "Shanghai Knights." With a quick search on Youtube, I found a short documentary, part of the Guy Fox children's series, in which a young girl goes inside the clock tower. Even though I'd already seen the interior once, when I saw it again in the Guy Fox video, I couldn't help but follow the young girl's example, as she takes in one of the most impressive achievements of mankind, and says...


Dragon Dave

Related Internet Links
Watch Shanghai Knights/Big Ben fight scene
Watch Aliens In London/Big Ben crash
Watch Guy Fox: Tour of Big Ben
Watch The Dalek Invasion of Earth: Episode 1

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