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Hollywood Movies in the United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates, there is a growing tendency to perceive movie industry very seriously and constantly develop it. The research has clearly shown that a myriad of Hollywood-produced films make millions of tourists from every corner of the globe visit places they never expected to go to touch and feel the things they have only seen on the screen. It provides not only the increase of a tourism level but also many investments that make the economy of the country grow. Therefore, without it there would be no fantastic blockbusters like Mission: Impossible, The Fast and the Furious,or Syriana.

Hollywood Movies in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates have clearly shown the world how largely tourism can influence the economy of the Middle East region and foster its intensive development. Meanwhile, the Hollywood and the USA, in turn, demonstrated to the whole world how movie industry can strengthen tourism and promote it to the new level of perception. Therefore, it is no surprise that cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai are attracting more and more tourists, as well as investors, not just to their luxurious hotels and resorts, the highest skyscrapers and a beautiful view of the Persian Gulf, but also for many well-known movies filmed there.

The United Arab Emirates have chosen rather an effective model of economic growth among others that combined movie industry with tourism and succeeded in it. They have implied it very quickly, and the Dubai Film and TV Commission was established by the decree issued by the Crown Prince of Dubai for the purpose of making a modern set for making movies out of Dubai for not only local and regional but also an international studios and producers (Totman, 2009). The government has made billions of investments and donations to develop a tremendous infrastructure encompassing new sets and studios, offices for post-production, and movie-editing along with the exceptionally trained crew. Therefore, it will provide the space on the screens of cinemas all around the globe for Dubai and other cities of the country, and everyone will have a chance to see the result of such culture initiatives done by the United Arab Emirates government. Thus, it is no surprise that the main goal of Dubai Film and TV Commission is to conquer international movie market for the next ten years and films made in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or any other city of the UAE will be shown in theaters everywhere. The government of the Emirates contributes largely and supports to the realization of this objective for the reason that this aim is very ambitious yet strategically very reasonable. Therefore, it can become a powerful factor and reinforce not only the tourist industry but also the UAE’ economy as a whole. Over the next few decades, the region with its tremendous oil resources will obviously become extremely effective in movie and TV production so far.

There are a plenty of articles in magazines, as well as on the Web describing, the well-known films fully or partially made in the United Arab Emirates for the past fifteen years. When it comes to popular culture, this country is always in the first ranks of those who are ready to implement new methods to promote the country by cultural means like improving their music, theater, food, clothing, and movies industry. The official website of the Dubai Film and TV Commission provides the precise information concerning the best locations to film, the greatest movies shot on them. According to the website, since 2005, over six thousand films, TV series, commercials, and corporate videos have been made in Dubai (Hill, 2015). Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the blockbusters to understand the role of the UAE’ cities in these movies.

The epic desert wilderness, beauty of royal palaces, and modern skylines enabled cities like Dubai to play a starring role in many blockbusters. For instance, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol is something really breathtaking. The most exciting movie scene is that with Tom Cruise climbing and hanging off the highest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. It was literally a movie shot never seen before and even never imagined. Bearing in mind that this scene was shot almost without any special effects, it is unbelievable to imagine the amount of supporting crew needed for these few minutes of the movie. The other actors where Jeremy Renner as William, a CIA — a friend of the main hero, Simon Pegg, who starred as a geek and IT-specialist helping Tom Cruise to perform this mission, and Paula Patton, the central female character who also accompanied the main hero till the end of the movie.

The next movie so long-awaited for nearly ten years is Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens starring Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and a team of other top-rated Hollywood actors like, for example, Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), and Daisy Ridley (Rey). Moreover again, Simon Pegg played a role here (Newbould, 2015) All these actors went to Abu Dhabi to film the movie on the gigantic sets designed and constructed exclusively for this blockbuster by architects, engineers, and workmen from the USA, India, and essentially from the United Arab Emirates. Such sets included large shuttles and a spacecraft, massive buildings like towers and even a whole market. Furthermore, some spectacular scenes were shot in the Rub’ al Khali desert that is one of the Earth’s greatest deserts with the highest sand dunes comparing to any other desert in the world. According to the story, this one is believed to be the Tatooine that is Luke Skywalker’s home planet.

What is more, the fascinating globe-spanning thriller called Syriana was also shot in different cities of Emirates, particularly in Dubai as one of the backgrounds. George Clooney, who received the Oscar reward for this film, plays the main hero who is a veteran CIA officer aiming to pursue his targets to Iran where he must prevent the launching of a devastating new missile. Matt Damon also stars in Syriana as an energy analyst living in Switzerland and helping the main hero to perform his mission. Amanda Peet plays the role of main character’s wife. Also, finally, the Jeffrey Wright stars as an attorney hired by the law firm and obliged to investigate the future merger of some oil companies.

One more interesting thing about this film is that Iranian desert landscape from it was a skyline on the outskirts of Dubai. Among the movies released for the past five years, there is also Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. The most opulent and sophisticated scene from this film is that the billionaire’s life is set in Dubai since it completely corresponds to the way of life they lead. Last but not least, the cast is great here. Michael Douglas reprises his role as Gordon Gekko who was a millionaire released after a long period in prison trying to regain all the wealth he had before building his money empire. Also, he tries to make up with his daughter. Carey Mulligan plays his daughter who has not spoken to her father since the day he was taken under arrest. Josh Brolin is another Hollywood actor who plays the head of the investment bank and a villain in the story.

Most of the websites and magazine articles along with many charts recently claims that the movie, which has completely changed the way the UAE are perceived not only in the film industry but the world culture as a whole, is Fast and Furious 7 or just Furious 7 (Al Wasmi, 2014). That is the reason why it should be separately observed. Abu Dhabi was a movie location for a great part of the latest series of films that appeared to be one of the most significant Hollywood productions. Moreover, the government has also fostered this process and donated to it. Therefore, the Emirates could become a media and movie center of the whole Middle East region. The movie was shot on some of the greatest locations such as, for example, Etihad Towers, Al Dhafra, the Corniche, and the Emirates Palace. The interesting fact is that even the casts of the Fast and Furious have felt in love with Abu Dhabi and the whole country while filming there. For example, The National Magazine tells that Vin Diesel, who played the main hero, said that he was literally astonished by the opportunity to experience the cultural impact and attractiveness of the United Arab Emirates (Hill, 2015). Ludacris, who also played one of the main roles, was also amazed by the UAE and Abu Dhabi in particular because of the feeling of money, drive, and motivation on the city streets. There is a vast variety of supercars over there, and everyone is racing and competing. For him, it is similar to the “man’s dream land because the city is just about money, a lot of motivation and a lot of power” (“Hollywood movies filmed in the UAE”, 2015). One more movie hero was Paul Walker, and his death in a car crash in 2013 was an irreparable loss to all who knew him. Therefore, the movie was then delayed for approximately a year. In 2014, it was released being finally finished in partnership with Abu Dhabi Film Commission. The next cast member of the film was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who appeared in the film for the third time as an agent of Federal Bureau of Investigation. Since he is a professional wrestler, the best scenes with him were actually the scenes of fighting. He had been a champion of the World Wrestling Federation for about 17 years. Thus, he did most of the fight sequences without any weapons (Newbould, 2015). That is the reason why Jason Statham, who played a bad guy in the movie, needed to be prepared well — he was his sworn enemy.

To conclude, it is clearly observed that the United Arab Emirates perceive movie industry very seriously and constantly develop it. The research of the literary sources has proved that the UAE’ concern about making their cities popular around the world can give some significant benefits to the country. It provides many investments, which actually make the economy of the country grow, as well as support film industry. Otherwise, there would not be such fantastic blockbusters like Mission: Impossible, The Fast and the Furious, or Syriana.

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