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Tonight on TV: 700 sticks of dynamite and 18 thousand liters of petrol, it is the most expensive explosion in cinema



Pearl Harbor seen from Michael Bay

If there’s a director who knows explosions, it’s that one Michele Baia ! The filmmaker is a fan of action films and as soon as he got the chance he didn’t hold back from blowing everything up. As for the saga transformers (2007-2017) which features a large number of explosions during each fight between the giant robots. But Michael Bay also surprised us with his latest film Ambulance (2022) or during the chase in San Francisco in Rock (1996). And even more with Pearl Harbor (2001)which also features the most expensive explosion in movie history.

As a reminder, Pearl Harbor, focuses on three major events of World War II, including the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, carried out by Japanese forces. Around historical facts, Michael Bay imagined a love story. First between Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale), a nurse he meets during an Air Force test. Then, following Rafe’s disappearance, her best friend Danny (Josh Hartnett) consoles Evelyn and becomes closer to her. Only for their romance to fall apart when Rafe returns to Evelyn.

An explosive finale and a record

Made on a colossal budget of $140 million, Pearl Harbor was a huge hit for Michael Bay, grossing more than $449 million worldwide. Enough to largely accomplish the $5.5 million which were necessary for filming the attack on Pearl Harbor. A part that has thus entered the Guinness World Record as the film’s most expensive explosion sequence. The director managed to use 700 sticks of dynamite and 18,000 liters of gasoline and destroyed six ships made available by the American army.

But aside from being the most expensive explosion scene, Michael Bay believes this sequence should be officially considered the biggest”. A title obtained by Spectrum (2015) with the destruction of Blofeld’s base. Which made the director shudder, declaring Empire :

It’s bullshit. Ours is the largest. Jerry Bruckheimer showed the film to Ridley Scott. And his reaction was: “Fuck!” Nobody knows how difficult it is. There were so many huge things on the ground. Real boats, 20 planes. We had 350 events going on. Three months of assembly on seven boats, the closure of a 5 km highway…

Pearl Harbor ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Pearl Harbor ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Michael Bay had also specified that to film this type of explosion there was a sort of recipe to follow in order to be able to cause a real, impressive and at the same time realistic shock wave. And for Pearl Harborthe director had all the ingredients, with 12 cameras to best capture a particular moment within the 40-minute sequence, where the explosions reach their climax.

It’s probably 30 seconds of the movie, but it’s full of giant explosions. The plume of smoke rose hundreds and hundreds of meters. A spark even hit a small island and caused a forest fire that we had to put out. But this explosion was a gigantic undertaking.

An impressive result that you can (re)see in the video below:

Source: Cine Serie

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