Christopher Nolan says he recreated a nuclear explosion without CGI and people are worried

Christopher Nolan says he recreated a nuclear explosion without CGI and people are worried
Christopher Nolan recreated nuclear explosion without CGI effects

The only time an atomic bomb has been used was when the US bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

Since then, only nuclear weapon tests have been conducted by countries, with North Korea conducting the last one in 2017.

But for Christopher Nolan's new movie, Oppenheimer, which tells the story of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and the creation of the atomic bomb, it was kind of necessary to include a nuclear explosion.

However, Nolan didn't want to rely on computer-generated imagery (CGI) to mimic the massive explosion which sparked jokes online.

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“Recreating the Trinity test without the use of computer graphics was a huge challenge to take on,” Nolan told Total Film.

The filmmaker has been known to opt for real-life stunts and sequences for his past films like The Dark Knight, Tenent, and Interstellar.

Upon hearing that Nolan opted for no CGI to recreate the intense sequence, people online joked about the filmmaker's enthusiasm leading to unintended consequences.

For Tenent, Nolan used a real 747 plane to crash and explode.

For Interstellar, Nolan opted to film on a real glacier.

In The Dark Knight, Nolan used a real truck and explosives to make a real truck flip.

Now, Oppenheimer is getting the same special treatment.


Nolan told Total Film, he got a visual effects supervisor, Andrew Jackson, on the project early to discuss the many challenges.

"[Jackson] was looking at how we could do a lot of the visual elements of the film practically, from 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," Nolan said.

It's unclear how exactly Nolan did not CGI to recreate the scene, but it's highly unlikely they had access to any real nuclear weapon.


Nolan called the project, "one of the most challenging projects" that he's "ever taken on" due to the scale.

He credits the "extraordinary crew" on the film helping bring it to life.

Oppenheimer will be released 21 July 2023.

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