The latest edition of “Guinness World Records” declared that the James Bond film “Spectre” had the biggest explosion in the history of cinema. “Pearl Harbor” director Michael Bay strongly disagrees.
The 007 scene in question is when Bond blows up the Blofeld base in the Moroccan desert. The James Bond 007 YouTube channel claims the filmmakers used 2,223 gallons of fuel, 72 pounds of explosives and captured the explosion in a single take. Here’s what that scene looks like in the movie.
Just in case you get nervous, it’s actually the third outburst in this streak that actually holds the record. It’s impressive work, but not necessarily the scene one remembers from what might be the worst of the five Bond films starring Daniel Craig.
‘Transformers’ director Bay certainly isn’t impressed with the outburst of ‘Spectre’, and he’s still defending his 2001 epic ‘Pearl Harbor’, starring Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett, Jennnifer Garner and Alec Baldwin.
Promoting his new Ambulance thriller “veterans committing a heist, but for health care” in an interview with Empire magazine, Bay offered his own version of what should be considered the greatest explosion of the history of cinema.
“There’s a special sauce for explosions,” Bay explained. “It’s like a recipe. I see some directors doing it, and they look corny, or there won’t be a shockwave. There are certain ways with explosions where you mix different things, and different types of explosions to make it look more realistic…. It’s like making a Caesar salad.
Bay is a man who knows how to blow things up. Is he the director with the most explosions per minute in his film career? Throw together the “Transformers,” a pair of “Bad Boys” movies, and Ryan Reynolds’ Netflix flick “6 Underground,” and you’ve got enough boom to win a war.
Indiewire got a copy of Empire magazine in print and pulled out an amazing quote from Bay.
Producer “Jerry Bruckheimer showed the film to Ridley Scott and the quote [from Scott] was, ‘F**k me,'” Bay recalled. “Nobody knows how hard that is. We had so much big stuff there. Real boats, 20 real planes. We organized 350 events. Three months of rigging on seven boats, stopping a highway three miles away.”
Bay previously described the scene of the Japanese bomb explosion in another interview with Whalebone magazine.
“There was dynamite everywhere. Stuff was rigged on so many ships,” Bay said. “We also had 17 planes in the air, and you’re dealing with big puffy Hawaiian clouds. So you have to face the sun, you have to wait for the right time when you’re going to get enough sun because the clouds inflated cross… There’s something on the water where if a boat crosses a red line that means you could kill guys in the boats because it’s very dangerous because there’s KinePak – – which is dynamite in the water — all over the boat, kill the guys.
“It was 12 cameras. We had antennas overhead. We had helicopters. I think it’s probably about 30 seconds of film, but it’s gigantic explosions. The plume went hundreds and hundreds feet in the air. There was a spark that we went to a little side island and started a forest fire, and we had to go in to put it out. But it was a huge undertaking, that explosion.
Even though Bay fully embraced CGI digital effects in his “Transformers” films, he’s still old enough to refuse to use green screen technology when he wants to blow something up. There’s nothing quite like the real-time concussion wave of a real explosion.
There are no clips of Bay’s explosion available to include here. You can buy or rent “Pearl Harbor” from all the usual online movie stores to see the 40-minute attack scene that includes the big boom.
People who grew up before the internet generally regarded the “Guinness World Records” as the ultimate authority on everything that mattered, so the idea that they could have so completely blown up on this subject is disappointing. Bay is Hollywood’s expert at blowing stuff up, so maybe he’s right and Bond’s impressive boom isn’t the one who should be given credit.
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