How movie explosions look so much better than real explosions

Originally published at: How movie explosions look so much better than real explosions | Boing Boing


Naked Gun Panic GIF


Also see: Woman gets explosion in face while lighting car on fire | Boing Boing


I think there’s a scene in The World is Not Enough where Pierce Brosnan climbs a ladder away from an explosion.


Napalm pretty much looks like a hollywood explosion, as does anything which has a good volume of flammable liquid involved - fuel truck explosions are particularly impressive.

Gas explosions are usually much more destructive (when contained in, say, a building), but rarely look as impressive as the big flamey slow-mo mushroom clouds that hollywood has always loved.

Grenades, claymores, plastics etc look fairly tame in comparison, but it’s the shrapnel and concussive blast that’ll rip you to bits/turn your insides into mush…


Burning graphics cards just don’t look the same.

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The setup they did in the video required a lot of trouble arranging det cord and bags of liquid fuel. At an effect house I used to work for the pyro guy had a really slick simple setup that created similar looking explosions: he had a gunpowder-driven hollow spike drive itself into a disposable propane bottle, releasing and igniting the fuel in a big fireball. It was really quick and easy to set up and reload when multiple takes were needed.

He also had this really cool chemical that I can’t remember the name of that would create dramatic looking big orange fireballs, but it was almost like a slow-motion explosion that had no real concussive force, so it was relatively safe for stunt actors to stand right next to it when it went off. (With suitable flame protection, at least.) I really wish I could remember the name of that stuff, it looked awesome.


Exception: when the protagonist is such a badass that he’ll sacrifice himself to blow up a whole celestial body to save the Earth like in Armageddon or Deep Impact.


I’m surprised the explosives expert didn’t mention the adding of “streamer”-type fireworks to the mix, to simulate secondary explosions (but, really, to me they just simulate “streamer”-type fireworks). Every Bratt Retner film made must have this type of explosion, by California statute.


Now will they show us how a bullet explodes when it hits a sheet of metal?


Wait, so you’re telling me this isn’t a real explosion?

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I’m always grimly amused by Hollywood movies that lionize suicide bombers.

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