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MFF Special: How Much Ground Did Nic Cage Cover While Dressed as a Bear in The Wicker Man Remake?

March 14, 2018

I love The Wicker Man remake because of its over-the-top acting and a once in a lifetime moment involving Nic Cage running amok in a bear suit.  Very rarely have movies confounded me like The Wicker Man and it has left me with several questions that I needed to answer.

  1. How far does he travel while wearing the bear suit?
  2. Where did he learn to fight? The dude knocks out three people and knocks down two people with six total strikes.
  3. Could I map the island to learn how far he traveled?
  4. How did a parade of slow-moving people manage to travel in a group to another location to wait for Nic Cage after he frees his daughter Rowan?


I will never know how he learned to be such an efficient striker but I figured I could map the island and track his bear-suited movements. After watching the movie again I quickly realized that director Neil LaBute had no interest in making anything easy on me. The geography of the island is never 100% established and nothing makes geographical sense, but if you know my dumb data you know I try my best to combine all the clues to make an educated guess that is somewhere close to what is featured in the movie. There is no actual way to ever know how far Nic Cage traveled while dressed as a bear but the following is the best guess I was able to put together.

THE WICKER MAN, Nicolas Cage, Erika-Shaye Gair, 2006, (c) Warner Brothers

Here are some assumptions that I have about the island:

  1. Nic Cage covers a lot of ground during his investigation. However, he never notices that they are building a massive statue that he will eventually burn in. Thus, the statue must be on the opposite side of the island because he has covered most of the coastal trails on the Lodge side of the island and had been to several homes/barns and a graveyard, old church, school, apothecary and a very large bee farm and witnessed nothing being built in a large field that is about 200 yards from the water (thanks, crane shot at the end).
  2. After leaving Willow’s (his ex-who got him to the island) house he comes across some men loading wood onto a wagon. This means there is an adequate road system for transporting supplies via wagon. When we see the statue later those pieces of wood look very familiar. I love that they are collecting wood for the large wooden creation while Cage is running around like a maniac.
  3. The island isn’t massive, but it is big enough to make bicycles a viable transportation option. However, there are no bicycles or houses in sight during the finale so it must be a remote part of the island.
  4. In the time it takes for Cage to run from the cemetery to the Summerisle residence his once soaked clothes are now dry. This means the distance is at least two miles through trails and wooded terrain.
  5. If the length of the island is over two miles and Cage’s journies took him relatively deep inland (up hills, through trails etc..) it makes sense that it would be at least one mile to the opposite side of the island.

Here is what happened

Towards the end of the movie, the island’s denizens start their journey to supposedly light a little girl on fire because they need a sacrifice for their crops. They start at Sister Summerisle’s (Ellen Burstyn) home and make their way inland through the bee maze and into a forested area. When they reach the forested trail, Nic Cage comes from the trees and meets up with his ex-fiance Willow (Kate Beahan). They finally stop at a forested area where this happens.


Where did Nic Cage come from? 


Nic Cage came from the lodge/bar that he was staying at while he was doing his illegal and loud investigation. The lodge is located centrally near the coast and is a solid base for everything that happens. Once he gets the bear suit on he runs up a hill and through the forest in an effort to meet up with the parade of cultists and Miss-bee-havers.

Because of the location of the Lodge in relation to where the cultists traveled I’m guessing Nic Cage had to travel 1800 yards (5400 feet) while dressed as a bear. How did I figure this out? Since he starts his journey on the coast he needs to move inland and over and down several hills and eventually cut off the roving group of honey lovers. Once he gets with them they travel for several hundred yards until they get to the burning site. He then runs about 50 yards to knock out an unsuspecting lady and rescue his “daughter” Rowan. They then run away into the woods where he takes off the bear suit. The distance covered is easily 1800 yards because he runs through the woods, travels along a trail, and eventually walked further with the parade before he made a final sprint to knock a lady out.

It’s impossible to know the exact number and I was initially a little disappointed that I couldn’t factually say something like “Nic Cage ran two miles in 14 minutes while disguised in a bear suit.” However, I still love the fact that he traveled over a mile while dressed as a bear and I’m 100% certain that my incorrect guess is pretty close to the actual distance Nic Cage ran.

If you liked this random post make sure to check out my other stuff!  Also, a big thanks to Brian Raftery at Wired for interviewing me about this dumb data.

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21 Comments leave one →


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