The latest movie, Jurassic World Dominion from the blockbuster trilogy, Jurassic Park finally made its much awaited debut on the theatres yesterday. The movie follows Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in another man versus dinosaur showdown, this time in streets of Malta’s capital, Valletta.
The movie features Malta’s famous St. George’s Square overrun with dinosaurs and chasing actors Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard through the cobbled corners of Valletta, in one last battle between man and beast.
When it comes to being and providing locations for filming, Malta, the small island nation located in the central Mediterranean Sea, is no stranger to it. In fact, the country has had a long history of providing some of the best filming sites for various producers who have gone on to produce major box-office hits in the last decades.
With favourable weather for long shooting schedules, versatile location, film servicing facilities and infrastructure, English-speaking film professionals, fiscal incentives offered by the government, and home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere, Malta has become many filmmakers’ first choice and as the years pass by, the list of films that have been shot or are in the process to do so in the region just seems to keep piling on one after the other.
HBO’s most famous fantasy series Game of Thrones featured the islands in several scenes of its first season (2011), with the wedding scene between Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen being the most impactful. Sadly, the famed Azure Window that was showcased in the background of this scene now no longer stands as it collapsed in the sea long back at 2017.
Malta’s other famous landmarks like Fort St. Elmo and the Port of Valletta featured in several scenes in season three (2018) of Netflix’s Queen of the South, as have many other things that Maltese residents would recognise instantly from their normal, day-to-day life. A local market serves as the backdrop for a walkthrough shot of the main character, and many genuine Maltese phrases are used throughout, giving fans a taste of the islands’ true culture.
The Oscar-winning movie Gladiator (2000), starring Russel Crowe, features Malta’s imposing Fort Ricasoli, panoramic views of the Grand Harbour in Valletta, and the Valletta Ditch in Saint Michael’s Bastion. At the same time, the equally star-studded Troy (2004) with Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt transformed landmarks like Fort Ricasoli into a convincing portrayal of locations dating back to the ancient Greek Era.
Even Apple TV’s popular sci-fi series Foundation (2021) has many scenes that have been filmed at Malta Film Studios in Kalkara. This futuristic sci-fi series, based on Isaac Asimov’s eponymous trilogy of novels, did not just showcase Malta’s scenery, but also employed hundreds of locals who worked on the set in several episodes.
Another movie starring Brad Pitt, World War Z, was also shot in Valletta, which was transformed into Jerusalem for some of its most impactful scenes. Pitt was brought back to the island once more in 2015 to film By the Sea (2015) with his then-wife Angelina Jolie, shot in Gozo’s Mgarr ix-Xini.
Other notable and well known motion pictures in Malta’s endless list include The Da Vinci Code, Troy, Gladiator, The Count of Monte Cristo, Munich, Popeye, Captain Philips, and many more. Campaigns for companies such as Bacardi, Range-Rover, Coca-Cola and Hugo Boss, have also been realised on this island.