From Midway to Independence Day, Roland Emmerich comments on his most beautiful explosions

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Metropolitan Film Export

With its heroic bombardments, Midway is the opportunity for Roland Emmerich to organize a new backfiring ballet. And for us, that of making him comment on the top 5 striking explosions of his film.

On the occasion of the release of Midway at the cinema at the end of 2019, First had asked the director Roland Emmerich to comment on his most beautiful explosions for the cinema. Flashback, while waiting to (re) see his war film, which arrives in clear on France 3.

5 – Madison Square Garden in Godzilla

It’s hard not to quote this one … It is not the climax, but the trigger pushing Godzilla towards his greatest attack of destructive rage. His offspring are all wiped out by a squadron of F-18s, while they swarm in the sports hall of Madison Square Garden, where he has nested. A shot shows them engulfed in flames, then an aerial shot reveals that the whole of Madison Square has blown up … It’s not the most impressive scene in my film, but I like her: she’s coming to avenge the horror experienced when one realizes that the monster is capable of multiplying … “

4 – Japanese aircraft carriers in Midway

On MidwayI was obsessed with the danger of dive attacks all the way. Bombers have to dive so steep that the likelihood of crashing or being hit is enormous. They are almost suicide missions! There are two decisive attacks at the end: without saying too much, I am very happy with the impact on the aircraft carrier Hiryu, because we have managed to show how close American pilots have to fly. targets to hit enemies. Especially since the Japanese ships, when they were attacked, were advancing at 30 knots … The speed of a speed boat, can you imagine? Really, I was haunted by the insane courage of these guys.

3 – The Himalayas in 2012

Well, I will quote a kind of a little special explosion: a water explosion! (Laughs.) The tsunami that blankets the Himalayas is really my favorite feat of the film. The day after taught me a lesson: while digital progress, from the 2000s, made explosions banal and easy to carry out, no one knew how to make a beautiful wave crashing down on a city … 2012, so I went to see Scanline, a German studio expert in simulations of aquatic phenomena. The tsunami alone drained the film’s digital effects budget. But it was an exciting challenge, as the Marvel films made the explosions razor sharp … And we don’t remember anything: in the end, they destroyed everything, even our memories! “

2 – The helicopter crushed in Godzilla

Better than Madison Square Garden, there is this shot from above: a helicopter flees after being chased by Godzilla, the pilot thinks he’s out of the woods and there … the monster’s open mouth appears from below, and bite into the helicopter which explodes between its fangs! More than twenty years later, this plan still makes me laugh. And in addition to being cruelly comical, the movement is elegant. When asked which shot to use to sum up my style, I always mention this one.

1 – The White House in Independence Day

This is the streak I’m proud of above all, without hesitation. Everyone was against this idea: my co-writer, my producer, the studio. I tried to convince them with a ‘beta’ scene of the White House explosion, which I had included in a kind of temporary teaser. They told me : ‘No one in the United States is going to approve of this.‘So that they made me replace the White House by the Capitol, because the symbolic load was less strong. But I still insisted on organizing test screenings with both versions. There was no photo … People were screaming when they saw the Presidential HQ sprayed. There was a lot of resentment against the government at the time, around Clinton’s record – which escaped me, by the way: to me, it was the most important building that could be blown up. I explained to everyone: ‘If the White House is destroyed, then in the minds of humanity anything can happen.‘The sequence occurs halfway through the film, and triggers the reaction that any good explosion should cause:’Oh damn, what to expect now?‘”

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