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Beautiful Bahamas

Word came today that the CDC warns people against traveling to the Bahamas because of high Covid rates. You can see what you're missing by watching some of the movies filmed there, excerpted from my book Around the World in 80 More Movies. The book includes our adventures dating a dolphin and swimming with sharks.

Casino Royale, 2006, with Daniel Craig reinvigorating James Bond as he exits the Bahamas’ azure waters in a cute little blue bathing suit. Oh wait, don’t use those words “cute” and “little”, especially since Craig returned Bond to the muscular, rougher-edged spy originally envisioned by creator Ian Fleming. Still, few women can tell you much about the retrofitted Casino Royale story, but they remember Craig emerging from the ocean in a variation of Ursula Andress from another era of Bond films .Much of the 2006 Casino Royale filmed in the Bahamas ,which stood in for Madagascar in early scenes including a dynamic rooftop chase. Plotting moved from Madagascar to the Bahamas on Paradise Island, with a Four Seasons Resort called The Ocean Club handling memorable scenes. Bahamas and Bond go together; three other films in the franchise shot there: Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Never Say Never Again.

Flipper, 1996 with Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan forsaking Australian reptiles for a dolphin in the Bahamas. Targeting a family audience, this variation of an earlier film and television series proves safe, benign, and bland despite attractive scenery and cute dolphins. Set in Florida, the movie uses Bahamas land and water, located about184 miles south of Miami. Settings include Stuart Cove’s dive operation on the southwest side of New Providence Island about a half-hour’s drive from Nassau. While Blue Lagoon’s very own Jake stood in for some scenes, special effects artists used animatronic dolphins for most. Real dolphins look better.

Into the Blue, 2005 with Paul Walker hunting treasure in the Bahamas. A poster showcasing bathing suit-clad bodies of stars Walker and Jessica Alba emphasized one key reason to watch the film—gorgeous, semi-naked people. With Walker best-known as the hottie in The Fast and Furious plus various sequels and Alba’s name linked more prominently to her beauty products than acting awards, no harm comes from the many scenes where diving masks and breathing tubes limit facial expressions. The many ocean scenes provide the movie’s main bragging point, with the region’s prevalent sea life adding visual splendor in a project where half the action takes place under water.

During a “making of” featurette, Director John Stockwell talked about choosing his location for its plentiful fish population. “Sharks are the reason we came to the Bahamas,” he said, commending his finned extras for their ease around people. Visitors can see what he means through “Hammerhead” Stuart Cove, whose dive and snorkel operations offer excursions to the film’s underwater sets and reefs. There, sharks lie in wait for boats bearing fish heads and other alluring appetizers.

Open Water, 2003, with a couple missing their boat in the wrong place. A real-life Australian scenario served as springboard for this fictional piece, but filmmakers Chris Kentis, Laura Lau, and Estelle Lau transferred action to another part of the world and shot their story in the Bahamas, where sharks know how to behave around movie cameras. In real life, a dive boat team at the Great Barrier Reef really left a couple of clients behind and never saw them again. Director-writer Kentis added the shark element, plus put in bickering tension between a couple whose goal included improving their relationship by spending more time together. Unfortunately, more time plus the addition of sharks offers more challenges than they intended. Emotionally sound and assembled with effective control on a limited budget, the story remains painful to watch, needing no gore to evoke true horror.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, 2006 with Johnny Depp joining Davy Jones on an adventure featuring locations in the Bahamas. Follow-ups rarely capture the same refreshing energy as their inspiration, and that holds true for Dead Man’s Chest. While 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl ranks as the best in what became a franchise, other entries maintain grand special effects, and Depp’s exuberant performance, with action ranging from imaginative to ridiculous. The first’s stunning worldwide success guaranteed more than a single sequel, so Dead Man’s Chest and 2007’sAt World’s End filmed simultaneously in a new studio water tank on Grand Bahama Island. Dead Man’s Chest also used Sandy Cay as the fictional “Isla Cruces.” Located in the Exumas archipelago 35 miles southeast of Nassau with access limited to boats, the location inspired Depp to buy an Exumas island called Little Hal’s Pond. Of course, fans more easily find Pirates inspiration in the United States at Disneyland’s Anaheim, California and Orlando, Florida locations without going out to sea—but that makes a lame excuse for avoiding

the Bahamas.

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