FILMS THAT DESTROYED LONDON
Added on: 18th Mar 2016
‘LONDON HAS FALLEN’ (2016)
The Big Smoke gets torched by terrorists, who, as evidenced
by the poster of Big Ben exploding in a shower of glass, hit us
where it really hurts: right in our big clock. The Houses of
Parliament also get exploded, as does, weirdly, the
'28 DAYS LATER’ (2002)
The nation’s capital is left a barren and empty wasteland
in Danny Boyle’s zombie, not-zombie thriller, virus survivor
Cillian Murphy is free to wander around a completely deserted
London at dawn, free of the usual drunken revellers and people
puking into jester hats. The sparse imagery is powerful, an
over-turned bus here, a traffic-free Waterloo Bridge.
'REIGN OF FIRE’ (2002)
“Well this town’s gone to hell,” says Christian Bale upon
witnessing the devastation wreaked upon a scorched London.
Big Ben is something of a target, as the dragons give the
old boy a medium flambé, and Westminster Abbey is
left charred and burned.
'V FOR VENDETTA’ (2006)
London’s Old Bailey criminal court building is lit up on fireworks
night by mysterious masked man V to the banging tune of
Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. The main event, however, happens
the following year: along with his vigilante padawan Evey
(Natalie Portman), V loads up a tube train with enough explosives
to make Guy Fawkes think twice and ploughs it into the
Houses of Parliament, finishing what Fawkes himself never could.
'G.I. JOE: RETALIATION’ (2013)
London is destroyed almost as an afterthought in this highly
silly action romp but is never mentioned again, despite the
presumed deaths of millions of people. The destruction is
localised around the Thames as a bomb is dropped on
Waterloo from space, obliterating the London Eye and
other great tourism destinations.
THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN (1969)
Michael Caine’s 1969 war film 'The Battle Of Britain’ took
to the skies to witness the bombing of London as we see
the bombs drop from the point of view of the Luftwaffe.
Explosion after explosion riddles the capital’s skyline, but from
a mile high, along with the gentle hum of the German aircraft.
Only the odd shot from ground level, buildings collapsing,
Tower Bridge ablaze, remind you of the level of damage
dealt by the Nazis.
'THE TIME MACHINE’ (1960)
The destruction wrought upon London in this adaptation of the
HG Wells classic is described by Rod Taylor’s inventor as
“a labour of centuries, gone in an instant”. Special effects weren’t
quite what they are today back in the '60’s but the effect
is still quite mesmerising: Taylor stands back to watch a
'futuristic’ London implode from a nuclear warhead, with
Mother Nature retaliating with a few volcanoes thrown
in for good measure.
'THE LOST WORLD’ (1925)
“It’s running wild… the streets are in an uproar! My brontosaurus
has escaped!” A particularly low-tech destruction of London it
may be, but the dinosaur rampage in this silent movie adaptation
of Arthur Conan Doyle’s seminal tome still impresses,
considering it was made 90 years ago. The errant Bronto terrifies
crowds of onlookers before wandering leisurely through the
capital, knocking down buildings and eventually collapsing T
ower Bridge with its sheer weight.
'THE CORE’ (2003)
The most hilarious signifier of impending destruction comes
via this 2003 disaster movie, which sees the core of the
Earth stop spinning. The first creatures to know what’s up are
the capital’s pigeons, yes, seriously, who respond to the Earth’s
slowing rotation by going Full Hitchcock and waging a sort of
air-to-land kamikaze campaign on the citizens of London,
dive-bombing office buildings, landmarks and British cabbies
who say things like “Move you bloody idiot!” See, the end
of the world isn’t depressing, it’s properly hilarious, too!
Next time you see a pigeon that looks suspicious… run.
'STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS’ (2013)
Even though it basically amounts to the blowing up of a library,
“Not our books!” is right up there with “Not our big clock!”
in terms of underwhelming collateral damage, the
'Star Trek Into Darkness’ scene in which Noel Clarke destroys
London’s 'Kelvin Memorial Archive’ is notable because it
contains scenes of futuristic destruction. It’s actually a rather
subtle and well composed scene, pulling back from the
flames engulfing the London 2.0 skyline to focus on a
photo of the little girl whose life’s worth was deemed more
than the poor sods who perished while perusing the
Young Adult section.