Location is a vital part of creating the right ambiance and aesthetic of a film. With its picturesque coastlines, mountains, and luscious greenery, it’s not surprising that Kauai has had its fair share of screen time. The following films have taken advantage of Kauai’s lush and beautiful landscapes as a backdrop for their storylines.
Kauai is the location for the amusement park in Jurassic World. The prehistoric look of the island was the perfect setting to make dinos feel at home. Some key locations filmed included the Napali Coast, the National Tropical Botanical Garden, the Wailua River watershed, Manawaiopuna Falls, and Kualoa Ranch. There are a number of locations on Kauai that are only able to be reached by foot or helicopter, leaving many areas rarely touched by humans. This untouched, natural environment creates a prehistoric feel. The film crew was conscious of keeping Kauai’s natural environment unharmed. As supervising location manager, Laura Sode-Matteson explained, “We went to great pains to make sure we left the locations in the same or better condition than we found them.”
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The fourth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides had filming locations on Kauai’s Honopu Arch, the Isle of Kauai, Allerton Garden, Kipu Ranch, and Grove Farms. Some locations such as the Honopu Arch were only accessible by boat or helicopter. The isolated and uninhabited locations worked well for adding an eerie touch to the film.
While Kauai has all the elements necessary for drama, films have also used the location to portray serenity. The Descendants is based on the novel by Hawaii native Kaui Hart Hemmings. Kauai is the setting of both the novel and the film and portrays the location through the lens of a local. The film is described as, “an intimate look at this languid tropical paradise where, as Hemmings writes in her book, ‘everything moves at a slow, slack pace’.” The tranquil beaches and forests showed calm and subtle beauty of the island.
Soul Surfer is an uplifting and motivational drama based on the biography of Bethany Hamilton. Bethany was a professional surfer from Kauai who was involved in a tragic shark attack, which left her without an arm. The film team went to great lengths to achieve specific shots for the film. Some of the scenes shot were along the Kalalau Trail which “while incredibly breathtaking, it’s considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the world.” Apart from picturesque views, Hawaii is known for its ideal surfing conditions. This movie gives viewers a peek into the surfing culture of Kauai.
The variety of film genres that used Kauai as the filming location is a prime example of the different experiences that Kauai offers. Whether you are an adventure seeker or interested in taking it easy, there are numerous activities available on the island.