People baffled by clip showing Oppenheimer scene Christopher Nolan pulled off without CGI
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Featured Image Credit: Universal Pictures
When technology isn’t enough, just drop a bomb like this famous director and you’ve got a film worth watching.
Filmmakers are a rare breed of people who strive to create art out of video, creating a visceral impact through carefully selected props, angles and backing music. But one thing that they are most known for is taking risks to get the results they need.
And that’s how Inception director Christopher Nolan ended up batting away the idea of using CGI to mimic an explosion in his new film, Oppenheimer, starring the likes of Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh.
Well known for his visually striking projects, such as the gothic Dark Knight trilogy or the stunning expansive world in Interstellar, the British-American filmmaker thrives on giving his audience something that stays with them long after the movie has ended.
Now, faced with a feature film that follows the work of the father of the atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer, of course we were going to get something spectacular during the filming process.
With an accumulated box office revenue exceeding $5 billion, Nolan was going to do something that some might call insane and others call genius.
He recreated the nuclear bomb explosion without the use of CGI, and as well as having a track record of crashing a real plane into a building during the making of Tenet, it really wasn’t a surprise that he was going to do this.
When speaking to Total Films, Nolan admitted that pulling off a realistic nuclear explosion proved to be more challenging than anything he had done before.
He said: “I think recreating the Trinity test (the first atomic bomb) without the use of computer graphics was a huge challenge to take on.”
He went on to explain that the weather was harsh when trying to recreate the bomb, but necessary.
"Andrew Jackson, my visual effects supervisor, I got him on board early on - was looking at how we could do a lot of the visual elements of the film practically, for representing quantum dynamics and quantum physics to the Trinity test itself, to recreating, with my team Los Alamos up on a mesa in New Mexico in extraordinary weather, a lot of which was needed for the film, in terms of the very harsh conditions out there- there were huge practical challenges."
Set in New Mexico, the crew and Nolan tirelessly worked to recreate the explosion, regardless of any bumps along the way.
As a firm believer in a minimal use of CGI in films, Nolan wanted to bring realism to the screen with a concoction of gasoline and propane.
Fans on Twitter were no doubt very excited when they heard about the explosion, with many tweeting their reactions in a hilarious compilation of memes and gifs.
One user tweeted his surprise at Nolan's ability to create a bomb: "Nolan wasn’t kidding when he said: 'no CGI'."
Another has fun of how Barbie is being shown on the same day as Oppenheimer, writing: "The Barbie theatre when the Oppenheimer IMAX Atomic Bomb goes off."
Was anyone really surprised that Nolan would pull this off?