KUALA LUMPUR: It's been a long journey to the big screen for Venom, but the Marvel anti-hero's standalone film is finally in cinemas with British heartthrob Tom Hardy taking the lead.
Venom marks the slippery Symbiote's first film outing without Spider-Man and is intended to kick off Sony's Marvel Universe, which is separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Tom Hardy stars as Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom's human host alongside Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson, and Jenny Slate.
If you've already seen it, you would have certainly noticed the pleasant surprise for Malaysian moviegoers: the movie’s opening scene is set in Sarawak.
* Warning: Spoilers ahead
The film opens with a LIFE Foundation rocket crashing into a forest, allowing one of the Symbiotes it was carrying to escape from its canister. It is later revealed that the forest is part of the fictional Hutan Simpanan Borneo (Borneo Forest Reserve), which is apparently located some miles away from Sibu, Sarawak.
A female EMT officer played by American actress and stuntwoman Michelle Lee also delivers some lines in Sarawakian Bahasa Melayu.
And it’s not the only scene set in Malaysia. Another key moment supposedly happens in a "Malaysian village" in Sarawak, although it looks more like a night market in Hong Kong from the early 20th century.
According to the film's production notes, the "Malaysian village" was built on a dirt lot in Georgia.
However, one could argue that the set design – complete with traditional Chinese lanterns and stalls with primarily Chinese characters – may not be typical of the night markets you'd see in Malaysia.
If you look closely, you'd notice that the back of the EMT officer's jacket also bears Chinese characters.
The last scene set in Sarawak takes place in what we presume is the Sibu Airport. The set design looks like it was modelled after the actual location before it was renovated in 2012.
Although the aforementioned scenes do not involve the main cast, they are crucial, as they eventually lead up to the final showdown.
If Venom is your poison, go watch it now.
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