If there’s one thing fans everywhere seem to love, it’s things that go boom in a big way. Writers and Movie makers know this, and it seems that many of the most iconic works in our favorite genres have that big explosion that makes our inner child stand up and cheer. Here are a few of what I think are the coolest bangs for my buck:
Second Death Star, (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
Now, I know that the destruction of the first Death Star is by far the more iconic, but the actual explosion itself was a victim of it’s time (special effects wise). The second Death Star, however… with the nail-biting escape of the Millennium Falcon trying to outrun the blast is simply movie magic of the highest caliber.
Alien Mothership (Independence Day)
Let’s face it, I could have comprised this post entirely of explosions from Independence Day with no issues… but if there is one stand out explosion in the movie, it’s the destruction of the Alien Mothership. I have had lengthy debates with friends about the unrealistic size of the yield generated from the single nuke Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum shoot into the belly of the beast during the climax of this movie, but there is no doubt that it’s one of the best sci-fi explosions in cinema. From the blinding ball of blue light and debris that engulfs the escaping fighter to the 3 dimensional shock wave that radiates from it’s center, it’s one great boom.
There’s something to be said for an explosion that is basically the start of an entire genre, and the destruction of Superman’s homeworld did exactly that. It’s been rendered many times by many artists and filmmakers, but primarily earns its place on this list by virtue of being the first time that the concept of an entire planet exploding was thrust upon the public consciousness. (I imagine it being something like… Whoa… Planets can EXPLODE?That’s so freaking cool!)
Cyberdyne, (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)
Another explosion-heavy movie, the scene where the T-800 destroys tons of police property with no loss of life is a tough act to follow. Then they blow up the entire building and fans cheer as the Conners rip the timeline a new one.
Earth, (Titan A.E.)
Much like the Hitchhiker’s guide, Titan A.E. is about the end of the world and the happy-go-lucky days that follow it. In the opening scene a Drej ship hits the planet with a powerful energy beam, causing the planet to spin faster and fly apart into a million chunks in a moment of pure visual awesome.
Stay Puft, (Ghostbusters)
My point with this one is simply this… One moment A giant monster is trying to kill you, the next moment everything is splattered in 30,000 pounds of marshmallow fluff. Now that’s a win.
Borg cube, (Star Trek: the Next Generation, Best of both worlds, part 2)
Sure, you can debate the morallity of Riker killing an entire ship full of sleeping Borg if you want… but how long would it really have been before they woke up from their little nap, ready to assimilate the planet? Better to blow the crap out of it. The destruction of the Borg cube may not be the most spectacular one on our list, but it was certainly one of the most dramatically satisfying, and ultimately proves that resistance is not futile.
Fhloston Paradise, (the Fifth Element)
Like the second Death Star, one of the things that makes this explosion so great is the last-minute escape from the blast wave. The blast radius of the starliner’s explosive end definitely makes you wonder what the power source on the ship must have been, and if galactic shipping regulations extend beyond the solar system. Fact: Someone made sure that ship had enough lifeboats for the entire passenger and crew compliment… these things don’t just happen, people! (Ok, Maybe I need to take these movies a touch less seriously….)
NCC 1701 (Star Trek III, the search for Spock)
I’m going to be honest, here… When I first saw the saucer section of the enterprise explode in the trailer for Star Trek III as a boy, I fell in love with an image for the first time. No matter if you believe in the odd movie curse of the Trek films, when Kirk sacrifices his ship to save his friends it is a huge and spectacularly defining moment in the franchise. As the ship tumbles sputtering into the atmosphere of the Genesis planet, you can’t help but feel like an old friend has died.
The Destruction of Praxis, Star Trek VI . The first time the “blast ring” is used to show a shock wave…
The Destruction of the Nostromo, Alien. Four huge explosions that don’t even kill the dang thing.
I know I have left out countless others, please comment on your favorites below…