Aquaman’s Explosions
At a young age, my parents explained how dangerous fire is and how water will quickly put it out. I am sure everybody reading this article had the same lesson and fully understands the relationship between fire and water. Yet… Some Hollywood movie makers had parents who skipped that basic message.
In December, I watched Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. It’s not a fantastic plot, but I mostly enjoyed it. However, there was a glaring problem that angered me. The underwater battle scenes had massive explosions with giant orange fireballs. Umm, what?
It is possible to have an underwater explosion, and the result is a brief flash. Why? A fire requires three elements—fuel, oxygen, and heat. Being underwater rapidly removes all three, leaving smoky gas bubbles. Aquaman viewers saw incredible computer-generated explosions that lit up the screen.
Wait a minute. Movie audiences are supposed to get fooled. Harry Potter’s wand is imaginary, and the Star Wars Death Star cannot destroy a planet. It is all make-believe. There is even a name for it. “Movie Magic”
Yes, I know flaming explosions got added by computer artists to excite audiences, and we are supposed to accept this oversite. Yet, Fire + Water = No Fire That is cave-dweller grade logic. Ignoring such a fundamental law of nature is absurd.
Why did this one aspect of the film upset me? After all, the plot required many leaps. The whole movie was about underwater societies coming together. Then, the king of them all lived in a lighthouse, not the ocean. Somehow, he had a brother that fit into the plot. I bought into that illogical mess, but the massive underwater flames still got to me.
I know the film creators are under pressure to make something visually epic, and their choice to ignore physics should excite audiences. But let us not forget it is possible to create realistic underwater explosions. Filmmakers have been doing this since 1940s submarine movies. Technicians set off small explosives near models and filmed the result. Moviegoers see a yellow flash followed by grey bubbles. Simple, logical, realistic, and effective. Audiences watched those old movies and agreed that was how water and explosives worked.
I’m going to attack the issue from a different angle. Would it be acceptable for Harry Potter to use his wand to create a fire underwater? Could Luke Skywalker use The Force to do the same? What if Deadpool a lit cigarette? When he tossed it into the water, it would go out. Right? Yes, it would! But not Aquaman. No, he got permission to bypass common sense.
Of course, writers can play all kinds of games. Superman flies by, putting his hands up. Michel Knight talks to his car, Kitt. Scooby Doo solves mysteries. A road runner can run through a wall painted like a tunnel, while a coyote cannot. Doc Brown travels through time in a DeLorean. Wolverine had his bones replaced with metal. (How does he get through airport metal detectors?) Tony the Tiger even wants us to purchase his sugar-filled cereal.
So, we should give the filmmakers a break. Go ahead, light up some water. It is in the same category as Superman lifting a train. We all wish we could do that. Good job expanding our minds. Yeah, I am not buying it. Hey Aquaman. You, of all people, should know water extinguishes fire.

You’re the best -Bill
February 28, 2024
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