The World United

15 cheesy but kinda great round-the-world montage sequences from sci-fi and fantasy

Global panic and worldwide wonder are a staple of science fiction, as a common threat or an awesome event affects everyone on planet Earth at once. We all looks to the skies, or watch the cataclysm on TV as one. And some iconic movie and TV images have come about as a result. Relive some of those great, cheesy moments over the next few pages (in no particular order)…

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1 Armageddon

Recognisable locations: Mont Saint Michel, France; The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

What’s happening? The President of the United States gives a pompous speech to the world about how American astronauts will save the world. Foreigners, you notice, either have to share TV sets in the street or listen on crappy, handheld radios, because foreigners don’t have the technology to save the world like Americans do, obviously.

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2 Independence Day

Recognisable locations: New York; Washington DC; London; Moscow; Paris; Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania; The Pyramids, Egypt; Sydney

What’s happening? There are actually two main montage scenes in the film. The first shows the alien ships arrive and hovering over famous landmarks like intergalactic sightseers. As with many entries on this list, it takes place mainly on TV. But to prove that was a stylistic choice, and not a budget saving one, director Roland Emmerich gives us a proper montage at the end of the film showing the destroyed alien ships.

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3 Mars Attacks

Recognisable locations: Washington DC; Paris; London; Mount Rushmore; The Taj Mahal, Agra, India; Easter Island

What’s happening? Martians attack. And because it’s a Tim Burton film, they’re very creative with the destruction. (By the way, the bit from the film everyone remembers, with the UFOs playing with the Washington Monument, actually comes elsewhere).

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4 Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

Recgnisable locations: Times Square, New York; Champs Elysees, Paris; Washington DC; Sacre Couer de Montmartre, Paris

What’s happening? The Fallen broadcasts a threat to the world – “Have you seen this boy?” It’s a bit of a mish mash this one, with a few “poor people watching TV in the streets” shots that seem to be left over from director Michael Bay’s previous effort, Armageddon ; a couple of random travelogue shots of famous places; and a couple of CGed shots to place the Transformer onto screens around the world.

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5 Skyline

Recgnisable locations: Los Angeles, New York, London

What’s happening? A couple of FX-guys-turned-directors show off what they can do on a limited budget (and spare us the godawful dialogue for a few moments).

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6 Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey

Recgnisable locations: (We think it’s the) Santa Maria cathedral in Florence; England; Russia; somewhere Oriental, probably China

What’s happening? The villainous De Nomolos intends to broadcast his triumph over Bill and Ted at the battle of the bands to the world. Instead the world sees him defeated and then enjoys a gig by the future Bill and Ted, aka Wyld Stallyns. Stereotypes abound unashamedly, with the Italians going, “Bella, bella bella,” and the the English uttering, “My word!” and eating Marmite. Thank God there aren’t any lazy Mexicans…

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7 Team America: World Police

Recgnisable locations: The Taj Mahal, Agra, India; London; somewhere vaguely Oriental, probably China; Los Angeles

What’s happening? This one’s actually a wishful thinking montage as Kim Jong-il tells the team about his plans to bring terror to the world. Love the fact the pub in London appears to be called Fish And Chips.

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8 Doctor Who “The Christmas Invasion”

Recgnisable locations: The Tower Of London; Paris; The Coloseum, Rome

What’s happening? The Sycorax use blood hypnosis to force everyone on Earth with blood type A positive to do impressions of Captain Jack standing on random, seemingly inaccessible high-up places.

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9 Doctor Who “Army Of Ghosts”

Recgnisable locations: Paris; The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

What’s happening? The Cybermen are breaking through the dimension barrier all over the world! Well, in London, Paris and the ever-popular Taj Mahal, anyway.

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10 Doctor Who “Last Of TheTime Lords”

Recgnisable locations: Very few, but definitely Westminster Abbey, London

What’s happening? Martha has convinced everyone in the world to say a little prayer for the Doctor. They do believe in fairies… erm, the Doctor, they do, they do! Sadly, it’s all done by a mix of slightly unconvincing stock footage, a shot of some people in Parliament Square and a close-up of an Asian family who may be supposed to be in India. It's difficult to tell.

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11 Doctor Who “The End Of Time”

Recgnisable locations: The White House, Washington DC; Red Square, Moscow

What’s happening? The Master, who is now everyone in the world, communicates with all his other selves… Most of it is just John Simm in various costumes and sets, but the Red Square shot is an absolute cracker.

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12 Doctor Who - TV Movie

Recgnisable locations: San Francisco; San Francisco Bay Bridge; Stonehenge; St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow; Paris; the Houses Of Parliament, London; New York

What’s happening? You know what, we’ve never been quite sure. Something timey-whimey involving lots of technobabble and stock footage getting some weird visual treatment. It’s all taking place as the new millennium arrives, which does make you wonder if the writers thought that midnight in San Francisco means that it's midnight everywhere else on the planet at the same time too. Certainly it seems to be the middle of the night all over the world.

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13 Futurama

Recgnisable locations: Times Square, New York; Paris; The Vatican; the Pyramids, Egypt; the Parthenon, Athens, Greece; the Great Wall Of China; The Taj Mahal, Agra, India; somewhere random in Africa; Tokyo (we think)

What’s happening? Hang on. It's the same problem again! In the first episode of Futurama , the new millennium seems to be being welcomed in at the same time world wide!

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14 V - The New Series

Recgnisable locations: Paris; Rio De Janeiro; the Pyramids, Egypt; London; Los Angeles; Moscow; New York

What’s happening? Alien leader Anna gives her first message to the world, speaking through vast monitors on the underside of the V spaceships around the world, and instantly being translated into all languages. Although we don’t actually hear her attempt Welsh…

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15 V - The Original Mini-Series

Recgnisable locations: San Francisco; Paris; Washington DC; the Pyramids, Egypt; London; the Parthenon, Athens; Paris; the Coloseum, Rome; St Louis; New York

What’s happening? And now the equivalent scene in the original TV movie. This time it's all seen on the telly, which may seem a cop out, but the show more than makes up for this by the sheer number of different locations its uses – eleven! Even the new show can’t beat that. A truly impressive amount of Kodak opportunities.