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File:Distant Explosion.jpg

Fortunately it was Sunday, so there wasn't anyone in the continent they just destroyed.

The camera cuts away to some far-off and completely unrelated setting (such as space) and we see the rather minor (by this perspective) result of The Take. The obvious implication is it must have been pretty spectacular at ground zero.

Often used for the Apocalypse Wow. The Scream is a specific version of this.

Examples of Distant Reaction Shot include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books


  • Over the Hedge: when R.J. opens the bag of chips, the dust forms a huge mushroom cloud visible from space. Later on when the security system is activated, we see pan out to see the entire galaxy with a small flash of light at our location.
  • Done in the film 300 when the Spartans cause Xerxes's stock of black powder grenades to explode.
  • In Deep Impact, the comet Beiderman enters the atmosphere and leaves a titanic smoking trail across the sky. Helpless people stand and watch as it plummets towards Earth. Then it hits in the Atlantic ocean, and before there's even a sound, the camera cuts to an outer-space view that shows the tremendous shockwave clearing away clouds for thousands of miles, and a funnel of flames rises from ground zero all the way to the ionosphere. Likewise, when the Messiah plunges into the depths of the larger, deadlier Wolf comet, the camera follows it almost all the way through...then we cut to the exterior of the comet as it explodes into harmless chunks.
  • Ferris Buellers Day Off: The shot pulls back to the car, then the block, the city of Chicago, and finally the planet earth to punctuate Cameron's reaction to reading of the odometer of Cam's father's Ferrari.
  • Parodied in Bolt. A Calico helicopter is blown up in the opening action sequence. It pulls back to three different angles, then pulls back even further to a shot from across the bay...where the explosion is tiny, and barely knocks over an empty paper cup sitting on a ledge.
  • Used in How to Train Your Dragon to show the final fireball in front of a really big volcano.
  • When the naval mines explode in Finding Nemo as a result of them being hit by a torpedo launched out of a sunken ship, the blast actually causes a bubble to pop under a pelican above it, and the other to fly away, thinking the first one, well...
    • Also, when Finn McMissile blows up Tony Trihull (also a large ship) at the end of Cars 2.
  • The end result of the Wuxi Finger Hold was shown through one of these...conveniently keeping us from knowing if the villain truly died...

Live Action TV

  • The Dune mini-series has a dead-serious one of these with a spice-blow right after Liet Kynes realizes that he's right on top of it and begins screaming, "I AM A DESERT CREAT-"
  • Father Ted did this in one episode where a milk truck (in...well...near Ireland) is filled with explosives and blown up. The audience doesn't witness the actual explosion, but instead cuts to a shot of an Eskimo ice-fishing somewhere far above the Arctic Circle. He juuust hears the blast, looks around, shrugs and goes back to his fishing. This is also a Gilligan Cut, as it happens in the middle of the Hoist by His Own Petard villain saying "they'll hear that explosion as far as the North Po--"
  • Inverted a few times in Battlestar Galactica Reimagined for the same effect - a large explosion's impact was emphasised by having debris hit the camera.
  • Malcolm in the Middle did this in the episode where Francis tried to catch a rat in the crawlspace of a cabin, and screamed when about 100 rats came out of the rotten wood, enough to be heard throughout Mamu.

Video Games

  • The makeshift nuke on Virmire in Mass Effect causes a huge explosion that can be seen from orbit. Pretty painful for the team-member that got left behind.
  • Quite a few attacks in the Disgaea series use it, but the fourth game in particular gets a lot of it, which includes mushroom clouds visible from space, the moon getting blown up, and the world getting blown up in an explosion so huge that it also engulfs nearby planets.
  • Smoke, one of the cyborgs in Mortal Kombat 3 has a fatality in which he drops a whole bunch of bombs. Cue the shot of Earth - which promptly blows up. SMOKE WINS - FATALITY
  • In Final Fantasy IX, the attack of the Eidolon Ark culminates with a bolt of magic that smashes into the enemy from on high. As the screen whites out from the shockwave, the scene cuts away to outer space, where a brief burst of light shoots out of the planet and illuminates the adjacent area.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth's ultimate attack causes a meteor to smash through the solar system, destroying every planet in its way, before hitting the sun, causing a Super Nova. This is all done through one of these.
  • Used in a soccer game from the game Touhou Soccer when Mima uses her Twilight Spark.
    • Used in the bad endings of Highly Responsive to Prayers.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Dragonball Z Abridged: When Vegeta discovers that Gohan swiped his stashed Dragon Ball, we get a string of these showing that Vegeta's yell is audible from the Z-warrior's hideout, Frieza's base, Goku's spaceship (still in space), Yemma's house in the afterlife, and Earth 20 years in the future.
  • The Strong Bad Email "hremail3184" from Homestar Runner" actually does it when Strong Bad blows up the Lappy.

Western Animation

  • Disney's Hercules: Hades is so mad at his minions for buying Hercules merchandise that he causes a brief eruption on the volcano he's in. This is seen from the background as the scene cuts to Hercules some miles away.
  • Futurama does this in the episode "Roswell That Ends Well", with a nuclear test going off and obliterating the man Fry thought was his grandfather. The scene then cuts to a diner where Professor Farnsworth and Leela are sitting down to eat as the mushroom cloud from the explosion appears in the window. Neither they nor the residents of the town seem to pay it much mind. Believe it or not, that was realistic - during the 1950s, atomic tests in the desert southwest were so commonplace that people eventually stopped paying them much attention.
  • American Dad uses (and mildly subverts) this in the episode "A Smith in the Hand". Steve attempts to use a hot iron on a piece of wood placed directly over Stan's crotch. When the expected Hilarity Ensues, it cuts to a mountain range with forest animals as we hear Stan's scream, and an avalanche occurs. Later, Stan is rubbing ointment on the wound, which results in a... different type of scream. The same cut is used, and another avalanche occurs, at which point one of the animals asks why they keep grazing there.
  • Dexter's Laboratory does this with Dexter letting off an extremely powerful fart. First it zooms out to show his house (shaking from the fart), then it zooms out further to his neighborhood (shaking from the fart). After that, it zooms out showing the planet, and finally, it zooms out, showing the universe. Throughout this, we hear Dexter farting, the indication being that it was so loud, the entire cosmos could hear it. When we zoom back in, we see that he embedded the TV in the wall.
  • Megas XLR uses this in the episode "Universal Remote" several times when Megas is trying to destroy Skalgar when he's got his shield.