Humankind has obsessed over cinematic mass slaughter ever since we made three Titanic films the same year it actually sunk. But for all our previous effort, the true explodey renaissance no doubt came with 1996's Independence Day and the slow rise of modern digital effects. Now, cut to the 2016 sequel and epic destruction is so blase you can calm an infant with the sounds of flaming cars. Let's face it: Simulating big-ass disasters is sort of what we do, as a species.
Too bad, then, that we suck at it. I'm not talking about "Uh, lasers wouldn't make a sound in space"-style nerdery -- in most cases, the actual disasters would look even more awesome than what the movies are showing us (provided you're not one of the casualties). For instance, bet you don't even realize that ...
6 The Statue Of Liberty Would Be Blown To Shit In A Second
20th Century Fox
As a beacon of American freedom, the originally named Liberty Enlightening The World is an easy target for screenwriters and directors hoping to scoop some quick symbolism points to use on their monster/doomsday/global warming movie's poster.
Columbia Pictures, MGM, 20th Century Fox
Enough casual violence against women, Hollywood.
And even if the statue's destruction isn't the centerpiece, films like Independence Day and Deep Impact will still make a point to show fairly intact pieces of Lady Liberty when the dust starts to settle.
20th Century Fox
If she didn't die from the blow, she'll probably die from drinking Hudson River water.
One way or another, America's endurance in the face of certain doom rears its crowned head, a cinematic habit no doubt inspired by the grand-daddy of them all ...
20th Century Fox
"You maniacs! You blew (most of) it up!"
But Actually ...
The Statue Of Liberty would be the first to go.
While so many films imitated the visual parable of finding America's hope jutting out of the monkey-beach like a million-year-old tombstone, none of them stopped to wonder if this iconic twist was in any way a load of bold-faced hogwash. Spoiler: It absolutely is. Because, as Discovery's Life After People series figured out, there's no goddamn way the Statue Of Liberty would withstand so much as 300 years before crumbling into the ocean -- let alone the amount of evolutionary time apes need to form robe societies and shag haircuts.
Hell, Lady Liberty wasn't able to go its first 100 years without $25 million in restoration to rusting framework and heavy corrosion, as the National Park Service once described her as "literally falling apart." Because for all she's taken on in movies, we're actually talking about an iron frame under copper that's been exposed to the elements of sea spray, cold winters, and hurricane winds. Copper that's thinner than two goddamn pennies pressed together.
It's no wonder that back in 1916 when Germans exploded a munitions dock in Jersey City, the shock wave was enough to burst rivets from her arm. So any world-ending tsunami or alien ray explosion would pulverize her like moist tissue paper. And this solemn green toga giant isn't the only landmark we inexplicably think is indestructible, either ...
5 Bridges Would Completely Fall Apart (Instead Of Just Losing A Chunk)
We're not sure what San Francisco's most iconic bridge ever did to screenwriters, but they love breaking it up. We're seeing major franchises from Terminator to Planet Of The Apes to Godzilla take a swipe -- sometimes literally.
"Hey, a penny!"
This is from the scene where the atomic lizard grapples one of the large cables while fighting an army so inept that they already destroyed the other one ...
Someone's cannon was busy last night and isn't shooting straight.
All of this culminates in the monster bursting through the center of a bridge like an angry marathon winner.
Spoilers: The "friend to all children" just killed the ones in those buses.
But this isn't the only suspension bridge that's been bisected by monster rage, since the Brooklyn Bridge sees a similar fate in Cloverfield, as well as being purposely destroyed in I Am Legend:
This is the first time anyone has brought up I Am Legend this year.
But Actually ...
There's no way any of these bridges would still be standing.
This really shouldn't be surprising, but it turns out those big things called "suspension cables" are there not to look nice but rather to keep the bridge suspended. So when one such cable snaps on the Golden Gate Bridge, the road would instantly start falling apart -- especially when said road is covered in 60-ton tanks. Instead, it doesn't even shake at Godzilla's might, nor does it completely fall apart when severed at the middle, despite that act essentially being like cutting a rubber band in two. We know this thanks to a structural engineer named Alex Weinberg who took the time to explain how these bridges actually work.
Alex Weinberg, P.E./Hackaday
The same thing happens if you cut Larry King's suspenders.
Main suspension cables work by creating tension between the bridge's towers, as if one of them just farted. When driving across, your vehicle pulls downward on the vertical cables -- creating force that is then transferred to those main arcing cables above. If you break one or both of those cables, the road is no longer supported and would begin to domino into the ocean like a suicidal anaconda. Meaning that when you see Godzilla cut through the Golden Gate Bridge without the whole road falling, it's the equivalent of Wile E. Coyote walking on air before looking down. And the biggest offender? According to Alex, it's the grounded world of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises -- which explodes every mid-section of Gotham's suspension bridges while magically keeping the surrounding road intact like it's being controlled by Magneto.
Seriously, Nolan? You modeled a scientifically accurate black hole but you can't handle basic gravity?