Before the cameras can roll, and the action starts, a movie set invites audiences into the action. A well-built set creates the world that the rest of the movie brings to life
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Production Design: Dennis Gasner
The Atoll was painstakingly constructed ON WATER, using pretty much all the steel that could possibly be brought in. It was a quarter-mile across, and so large in scope you could actually believe a whole self-sustaining city of people lived there. (Except the part where it didn’t have bathrooms)
Director: Tim Burton
Production Design: Anton Furst
Gotham City has always been a character of its own in the Batman universe, but the Tim Burton 1989 Batman, Gotham City was practically city-sized. Not only did it feel urban, its deliberate ugliness gave the city the vibe of on that needed saving.
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Twice the size of the real-life Roman Forum, Cleopatra’s set (and the movie as a whole) almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox. But boy, was it impressive!
Director: Fritz Lang
The titular Metropolis pretty much defined the on-screen presence of futuristic city for almost the last hundred years. Big distinction for a miniature city!
Director: Lars von Trier
Production Design: Peter Grant
The painted-walls minimalist set of Dogville makes every bit as big an impact in the film as any of the more elaborate counterparts on this list.
The Lego Movie (2014)
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Anyone who has ever played with Lego Bricks WISHES they had enough pieces to build Bricksburg. Digital or not, it’s a dream realized for the 8-year-old in all of us.
The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)
Director: Peter Jackson
Production Design: Grant Major
Hobbiton is a case of a real-life location transformed into a fantasy world, and we’re pretty sure that’s the definition of movie magic.
Director: Ilya Khrzhanovskiy
Production Design: Olga Gurevich, Boris Shapovalov, Denis Shibanov
The re-creation of 1950s Moscow was painstakingly re-created (down to controlling the actions and free time of all the cast and extras. The level of control exerted in re-creating a totalitarian state is impressive (if dubious), but it WAS effective.
Apollo 13 (1995)
Director: Ron Howard
Production Design: Michael Corenblith
Constructing a set that’s a vehicle has always involved some fancy engineering. But Apollo 13 was engineered to put the cast in Zero-G. Zero-G!
The Abyss (1989)
Director: James Cameron
Production Design: Leslie Dilley
James Cameron has always been pushing technological limits to achieve leaps forward in filmmaking, and with The Deep Core Underwater platform, he sure was pushing it, constructing an actual underwater set to simulate deep underwater dives.