Even if you’re not one of the 17 million people that tune into Game Of Thrones every week, you might have found yourself in a water cooler debate about the Starbucks coffee cup that appeared near Emile Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen on last Sunday’s episode. Was it just an earnest gaff? Or was it an anachronistic exercise in product placement?
HBO has since come out and confirmed it was the former – in fact, both Starbucks and the mega TV network took to the internet to deliver their own cheeseball lines. Starbucks tweeted: “TBH we’re surprised she didn’t order a Dragon Drink,” while HBO remarked: “The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea.”
Even though HBO has already digitally wiped the latte from Westeros forever, some still might not be satisfied with their admission. A common defense of the product placement angle is bolstered by disbelief that a network as big as HBO, producing a show as wide-reaching as Game of Thrones, could ever let something as glaring as a coffee cup slip through the cracks.
Thing is, this breed of mistake actually happens on this scale quite often. Everyone makes mistakes. Here’s a look at some cinematic blunders that even the best directors and editors missed.
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The Fellowship Of The Ring
This one is particularly impressive, given the well documented time and attention to detail director Peter Jackson and writers Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh put into The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Intricate miniatures, method acting, the employment of actual blacksmiths, and Tolkien historians, culminated to make a piece of escapism that is almost perfect … almost.
Just before the Shortcut to Mushrooms scene, as Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee walk through Farmer Maggot’s field, Sam begins to become overwhelmed by the prospect of leaving The Shire. Frodo reassures his anxious gardener by recounting dialogue delivered by Ian Holme’s Bilbo, in a wide shot that features a car speeding down a road in the background.
The very same year The Fellowship Of The Ring hit cinemas, Riddley Scott’s Gladiator, earned an admirable five Academy Awards, one of which was the Oscar for Best Picture. As I’m sure you already know, the film takes place in Ancient Rome and is inspired by Daniel P. Mannix’s 1958 novel entitled, Those About To Die.
During the famously electric scene, depicting the Barbarian Horde battle, a massive chariot topples over during the skirmish, revealing a modern day gas cylinder beneath the frame. Gas canisters like the one exposed in this scene, contain compressed air and are frequently used by filmmakers to cause props and vehicles to topple over on command.
The next film on the list is a fellow Best Picture winner.
The William Wallace inspired epic, Braveheart, released in 1995, actually features a couple of notable anachronistic faux pas. The first appears in the standoff between Mel Gibson’s William Wallace and Brendan Gleeson’s Hamish. To Wallace, Hamish bitterly declares: “I could crush you, like a worm!” As Wallace declares his cheeky rejoin, a crew member can be seen strolling by with a sports cap on, though I can’t quite make out the team, unfortunately.
The second blunder occurs as Wallace leads the Scotts against the English armies of King Edward I. We get a couple of close up shots of men wielding spears, and soldiers on horseback and, just for a second, a white van plainly in view resting at the far left of the screen.
Troy, which, also stars revered Irish actor, Brendan Gleeson, in addition to a young Rose Byrne opposite Brad Pitt, is littered with set mistakes, though only one is super glaring. Brian Cox’s Agamemnon voices his skepticism as Achilles approaches the beaches of Troy with but “50 men!?” In the very next shot, following this bit of dialogue, the metal bull horn used by the crew can be seen in the far right.
Pirates Of The Carribean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
2003’s Pirates Of The Carribean: The Only Watchable One Of The Series, ends with everyone’s favorite movie dirtball, Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, rousing his men for future nautical adventures. “On deck you scabrous dogs,” Sparrow exclaims to his buccaneers … and a crew member appearing left, sporting a sun hat.
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