One of the most common staples in action and disaster films is the destruction of our world’s iconic landmarks. In this list we take a look at some of the American landmarks that cinema has seen wiped out or smashed up by aliens, volcanoes, mutants, and more.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our Top Ten Destruction Scenes: USA Edition…
10. The Hollywood Sign – The Day After Tomorrow
Kicking off our list is this disaster film of 2004. Director Roland Emmerich, the undisputed king of disaster films, presented us with a visual treat. It follows Dennis Quaid’s paleoclimatologist Jack Hall, on the quest to rescue his son in the midst of a cataclysmic shift in the earth. Random weather patterns cause massive shelves of ice to break off and melt into the ocean. Such patterns apparently also cause tornadoes to touch down in the heart of Los Angeles, all while news helicopters watch on and film. A tornado suddenly rips through the infamous Hollywood sign as if it were made of tissue. This CGI extravaganza really hit close to home, using global warming as the catalyst for the entire film and relying on our fear of what our resources are doing to the earth.
9. Brooklyn Bridge – I Am Legend
Will Smith is a sensational actor. His performance in the 2007 horror/drama I Am Legend, as the emotionally battered Robert Neville, sole survivor of a plague that has killed most of humanity, was phenomenal. With only his trusty German Shepherd, Sam, by his side, Robert spends 3 years fighting for survival, staying alive by any means. Through flashbacks it is revealed that the city of New York was at one point being evacuated and quarantined. As his wife and daughter are being airlifted to safety, the army begin firing weapons on all access points to the city, including the Brooklyn Bridge. Right in front of his eyes the bridge collapses into the water below, destroying any means of escape. The scene is powerful and the aftermath of this destruction, seen earlier in the film, has an eerie calmness to it.
8. Golden Gate Bridge – X-Men: The Last Stand
Met with mixed reviews, this writer found the third instalment of the successful X-Men franchise to be an overall enjoyable film. It may have had its flaws, but it was filled with some great action sequences. Fun moments include a training room scene, where a few of the new recruits are up against a familiar giant robot, and a mass attack on Alcatraz Island. In the latter, Magneto with his Brotherhood of Mutants are marching down the road of the Golden Gate Bridge as people sit in their cars in disbelief. Using his power of metal manipulation, Magneto proceeds to tear the bridge apart and move it to his will, eventually dropping it right on to the island. This scene really is a testament to how powerful and destructive Magneto can be.
7. Yellowstone National Park – 2012
Roland Emmerich is at it again, using the Mayan prediction of the end of the world in 2012 as the backdrop to destroy more treasured landmarks. The Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is the home of a dormant super volcano, and John Cusack’s Jackson Curtis is racing around searching for Charlie Frost, a crazy conspiracist played by a brilliant Woody Harrelson. Jackson finds Charlie waiting for the super volcano to erupt. The ground is shaking violently. Getting what he needs, Cusack leaves as we stay with Charlie, who’s happy to be there when it all begins. The growing and bulging ground rapidly sinks down and explodes, lighting up the sky. With fire and destruction everywhere, the once peaceful national park is now just fire and lava.
6. Times Square – The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Of the two mediocre Andrew Garfield-starring Spiderman movies we received, this was the lesser. Nevertheless, it was filled with fantastic visuals, great CGI, and strong chemistry between leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. One noteworthy scene is when newly formed villain Electro is searching for electricity to feed on and in doing so wreaks havoc on innocent civilians in Manhattan’s Times Square. Enter our hero, successfully talking down the villain before it escalates further. It’s all under control, until a policeman fires on Electro, setting him off. After an exciting but brief tussle with Spidey, Electro lets out a massive surge of energy that causes all of Times Square to black out and then explode. Windows smash, giant screens fall to the ground, everything is torn to shreds. This whole scene is incredible, everything looks on point, and it shows that this is a credible threat for our hero; every time he goes near Electro he is zapped and blasted away. Seeing what is normally a very bright and colourful part of New York being destroyed is undoubtedly creepy, and yet you can’t help but continue to watch.
More destruction on the next page…