10 Most Creative Ways Movies Have Destroyed Famous Structures

By  · Published on February 7th, 2013

by David Christopher Bell


Let’s face facts – explosions are great. No one is denying that in the least, but sometimes they just get a little… mundane. Really once you’ve seen the White House explode under an alien disaster beam or get rammed by a giant tidal wave, you don’t really need to see that again. It’s been covered.

So let’s take alien beams and tidal waves right off the table and start thinking about some of the more ingenious ways Hollywood has wrecked the place.

10. The Colosseum – Destroyed By Ridiculous Lightning in The Core


Lightning is a hell of a thing, sure, and while I’m no meteorologist or anything, I’m fairly sure it can’t make concrete explode like a popping balloon. But then again, it was in The Core so it has to be scientifically accurate right? Right.

As aforementioned, explosions aren’t really the type of thing you’re going to be reading about from here on – however I felt this one warranted some recognition considering just how outlandish the inciting spark was. In fact, can we start making this a thing now, movie writers? Let’s just go ahead and make “electricity + rocks = explosion” a rule from here on out. Let’s start sticking that into film after film until the trope is set in stone.

At least until that stone is blown up by lightning.

9. Eiffel Tower – Eaten By Nanomites in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Nanorobotics is like the liquid state of deus ex machina in the movie world. It can do anything and stop whenever the writers need it to – it’s like time travel, so undefined that you can make the rules up as you go along. Hell – that big nanomachined face in The Matrix Revolutions was even called “Deus Ex Machina.”

In G.I. Joe they at least went through the trouble of making it all green and shit. Like a bunch of tiny little hungry leprechauns, those nanos chomp through the Eiffel Tower like it was made of delicious butter. Unfortunately all green things must come to an end when Magic Mike goes and hits the kill switch, ruining the carnage. This, plus the weird robot outfits right before it, is almost worth watching this film for. Almost.

8. Great Pyramid Of Giza – Torn Apart By Giant Construction Robot in Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen


I swear to you that there are good movies on this list, but when you’re talking building destruction there’s no denying that it’s almost exclusively the business of bad films. At least in the popular sense of the word – after all this series has John Turturro, Jon Voight, and John Malkovich in it. That’s three good Johns right there, plus one Frances McDormand to top it off. Of course – the movie also has cars that turn into giant robot men so yeah… Anyway the point is that we see the Great Pyramid Of Giza being unwrapped like a birthday present in the second film. It’s pretty neat, guys.

Fun fact: during the shooting of this scene, John Turturro became visibly moved by being allowed on such an epic structure as the Pyramid of Giza, later tearing up at the very thought of it. I wonder if that was before or after they made him say, “I am directly below enemy scrotum.”

7. Millennium Bridge – Death By Magic in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Considering how little knowledge regular folk seem to have about the world of wizards and dragons and dark magic in this film, you just have to wonder how the media covered this event. Sentient tornadoes? Ghost attack? There’s really no wrong explanation here, but my point is that there had to be one. It’s not like a couple people seeing some car fly – this is going to be an international story.

Anyway “muggles are dumb” or whatever. You know I’m getting a little sick of how they regard us – even the ones that “defend” us. Hermione just ups and erases her parents’ memory in the last one as if they were an iPhone app she didn’t need anymore… just “alakazawhatever” and poof, human rights cast aside like it ain’t no thang. Screw these stick-waving owl stands, we got bombs and Google maps and you bet your magic ass it can find Diagon Alley.

6. Mt. Rushmore – Re-Carved By Alien Super-People in Superman II


Everything that’s going on in the Superman universe is ridiculous. Dude’s an indestructible alien that for some reason still has trouble reining in this one rich guy over and over again. Not to mention that no one asked him to fly around and play god with our lives, inflicting his own personal morals upon us while he still abandons us for large spans of time out of selfishness.

Which is it, Superman? Are you going to be our unstoppable Batman hero or bitch about how we always need you? You can’t do both! Who are you to judge in the first place? You’re the worst reporter ever and an even worse deadbeat father! You planetary waif!

Sorry sorry sorry. I got really carried away on that last part. I just really liked Mt. Rushmore the way it was before Superman’s buddies showed up and started messing with it. But hey – that’s what happens when we harbor a super alien and let him dictate our lives instead of casting him out like the societal pariah that he should be.

Read on!

5. Easter Island – Alien Moai Bowling in Mars Attacks


Very rarely do we get to see aliens bowl in films – it’s pretty much just this film and… actually I think it’s just this film. Never before have I seen characters have more fun destroying all humans than the little Martians in this. They even pull a Zod and retool Mt. Rushmore as well.

I think it’s safe to say that Mars Attacks is and will be the most successful movie ever based on trading cards, right? I haven’t heard about a “Dinosaurs Attack!” film in the works or anything like that. That would be boss though, can you imagine that? Jurassic Park, but off the leash! No scientific accuracy or PG-13 rating! Just dinos ripping dudes to- THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE! Hot damn I forgot about that one!

4. Various Structures – Merged Into An Alternate Realm in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation


I’m gonna go ahead and confirm that no, if you saw this movie as a kid it is not – I repeat, NOT – as good as what you remember. It’s a lot like the Mario Brothers film in that visually there was a lot of amazing effort put into it (albeit a bit overambitious in terms of CG), however nothing put toward dialogue or story.

Also like Super Mario Brothers, it has a moment where our dimension begins to merge with a creepy underworld dimension. The effect in both films is shown with landmarks being merged. I would have included Mario Brothers as well, but I figured it would be best to leave that one be.

When the alien bounty hunter from The X-Files begins to turn the tide in his favor, we are treated to New York, The Eiffel Tower, as well as Liu Kang’s home temple being dragged into the bad guy’s realm. It makes you wonder what the hell happened to all the people in the buildings, however the movie goes ahead and hand waves that thought at the end when everything is miraculously restored by elemental gods as if a big “undo” button was pushed.


3. Golden Gate Bridge – Relocated By A Genetically Mutated Old Man in X-Men: The Last Stand

Technically speaking, it was relocated by a genetically mutated 70 year old Holocaust survivor with the ability to generate and control magnetic fields… because why not?

There are so many questions here. Why not just dump the Golden Gate Bridge right onto Alcatraz and kill the kid that way? If you can lift a bridge then how about just lifting that whole building up during that big standoff? Capes? Really? But it’s all for the sake of cool I guess – for Magneto is, above all else, cool. Did you not see that swank Mercedes he and Xavier rode in the opening scene? Don’t even get me started on the suit he was wearing.

It only makes sense that such a man of style would make an entrance such as the one in this film. The best part about it is that all the children on the bridge who didn’t know what was going on probably thought that it was some kind of a magic ride – because kids are stupid.

2. All The Famous Landmarks – Hit By Giant Food In Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs


It’s kind of impressive how closely this movie was able to adapt from a thirty-page children’s book, but almost everything memorable is in there, down to the bread boats and macaroni head. Of course, they had to stick science in it for some reason – like the opposite of when they made Spider-Man’s web slinging organic and everyone got upset. Still it all worked out pretty well, despite being one of the most disgusting concepts to think about.

How long would it take for all the dehydration issues to kick in? What with all the juice and soda raining down on them there would be no pure water. Crops would be lost, not to mention a severe rodent infestation. I don’t care how many of those sanitation machines you got; everything would be sticky. Rain wouldn’t wash away waste but instead create more of it. Just think of the smell!

And now it’s all over the place by the end of the film, making you wonder just what kind of lawsuit our hero is going to find himself buried under like a delicious maple-soaked pancake.

I’m hungry…

1. The Manhattan Museum Of Art – Smashed By Another Famous Structure in Ghostbusters II

So far we’ve explored many creative ways to take out famous buildings, but none of it compares to actually using a national monument as the force of destruction.

While some (like Bill Murray) say that this film is a commercial waste of time, I’m going to politely disagree. It’s not as good as the first, but once you have the Statue Of Liberty walking around and stepping on cars you can’t really deny gold. Also – what better song to represent love and hope than Jackie Wilson’s “Higher And Higher”? If there were any song to get that copper queen off her stoic pose it would be that. Freaking mopey looking statue – why were you used as our greeter?

I’m glad we landed on this as the number one, because I have a fun fact about this statue that I think is relevant to it’s regularity in the disaster film genre: the copper skin of the Statue Of Liberty is only 3/32 of an inch thick. That’s two pennies’ width.

And yet who do we always see still standing after the big tidal wave or alien attack? Lady Liberty, that’s who. She got up and walked around in this film! Hell – she lasted eons at the end of Planet Of The Apes! Chick’s resilient.

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