A James Bond Movie Holds An Explosion Record. Michael Bay Thinks It's BS

Daniel Craig's James Bond on snow-covered mountain in Spectre
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Competition can be a fun inspiration when it comes to making movies. The drive to outdo not only yourself but other movies on the market is something that can lead to envelope-pushing moments in movies. For example, moments like Spectre’s record setting explosion. However, director and explosion enthusiast Michael Bay has spoken on record to claim the James Bond record is BS, which leads to a rather interesting discussion when it comes to who has the biggest boom.

Recently, Micael Bay was on hand with Empire magazine to discuss his new film Ambulance. When you’ve got the man who most recently filmed a stunt that was crazy-destructive, and used footage of said stunt to create the world’s first glimpse at his next movie, you know destruction is definitely on the menu. 

In this case, the master of disaster himself submits that his 2001 film Pearl Harbor contains a greater feat of explosion than the Daniel Craig movie’s big moment. Basically, the bombing attack that acted as a pivotal moment in World War II (and cinematic) history is being pitted against James Bond destroying a gigantic building with an explosive chain reaction. Comparing his reenactment of the pivotal attack on the US naval fleet to Spectre’s destruction of Blofeld’s secret base, Michael Bay used the following details to refute the current 007 record.

Jerry Bruckheimer showed Ridley Scott the movie, and the quote [from Scott] was, ‘Fuck me.’ No-one knows how hard that is. We had so much big stuff out there. Real boats, 20 real planes. We had 350 events going off. Three months of rigging on seven boats, stopping a freeway that’s three miles away. James Bond tried to take the ‘largest explosion in the world.’ Bullshit. Ours is.

While Bay claims his World War II drama should be the one that holds the record, it’s not as simple as that. To be certified for a Guinness Book of World Records honor takes time, the submission and review of evidence, and eventually a decision from the group itself. Though that sort of examination isn't at stake, we can definitely take a look at the two scenes in question, in order to get a better understanding. 

First, let's take a look at a portion of 2001’s Pearl Harbor, which showcases the reenactment of the bombing run. Please note, this is only part of the overall sequence from Mr. Bay's film, and not a presentation of the total scene: 

On the surface, it’s a bit difficult to compare Michael Bay’s extended sequence of destruction to one moment from Spectre. As you can see in the video included above, the Pearl Harbor attack sequence is longer and more sustained, so there could be a case for it outdoing the big scene from director Sam Mendes’ second James Bond outing. Here’s the video for what that specific sequence’s claim to explosive fame entailed: 

One massive, single location is being compared to a widespread canvas of explosions, and on a basic level of examination, it’s not a clear call to make. There’s a possibility that Michael Bay could be right, and more firepower was involved in his previous film. The only way to be certain would be for the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records to review this claim, along with any evidence that Michael Bay has to back it up, and make an official ruling. 

It’s probably a long shot that Michael Bay could contest this perceived slight on Pearl Harbor’s explosive reenactment, as it’s been almost 21 years since the film was released. That being said, you can almost be assured that the legendary action director is going to try and break those James Bond records. Just as No Time To Die shattered Guinness World Records history through looking into what records were left to be broken, Mr. Bay will probably keep those particulars in mind when budgeting his next big blockbuster.

Maybe the only way to settle this is to let Mr. Bay consult on a future 007 explosion; or maybe to even let him direct a future film in the franchise of James Bond movies? Now that Cary Joji Fukunaga has made history as the first American director to work in the series, it could happen. That is, if Michael Bay would even be interested in directing a Bond film in the first place. 

Ambulance will create its own brand of explosive commotion in the name of Bayhem, when it debuts exclusively in theaters on April 8th. You can get a taste of that movie, which seems to blend both Speed and Heat into one massive mashup, when you watch the film's trailer. If you’re really looking for all of the bang for your box office buck, then the full list of new movie releases for 2022 is going to be a great road map to doing just that. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.