The Creator uses “real” explosion footage and everyone’s saying the same thing

John David Washington in The Creator and Robert Downey Jr. in Oppenheimer20th Century Studios/Universal Pictures

The Creator appears to use real footage from the Beirut explosion, and while sparking controversy, everyone can’t resist making the same joke about Christopher Nolan in the wake of Oppenheimer.

Coming from Gareth Edwards – the director of Monsters, Godzilla, and Rogue One – The Creator has been billed as a “motion picture event”; especially for fans of the filmmaker, as it’s his first movie in seven years.

James Cameron did it nearly 40 years ago, but its prescient plot feels a little close to the bone: its story revolves around a war between mankind and artificial intelligence, with John David Washington’s special forces agent tasked with hunting down and killing the architect of the AI, only to find a young child.

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The trailer gives us a glimpse of a dystopian future after the AI detonated a nuclear warhead in Los Angeles, and one moment is immediately familiar.

Christopher Nolan fans react to The Creator seemingly using Beirut explosion

At 0:24 in the latest trailer, a city is blasted by a massive shockwave. That shot, according to Corridor Crew, is repurposed footage of the 2020 Beirut explosion embellished with CGI to change the look of the buildings.

Now, this has already become the subject of backlash and debate over the ethics of using such footage, but lots of people have made the exact same joke: how Christopher Nolan must feel looking at it.

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For context, Nolan’s latest movie Oppenheimer, which explores the invention of the atomic bomb, features a recreation of a nuclear explosion without CGI, but it doesn’t use any real-world footage.

If you look on Twitter, you’ll see a smattering of replies that read something along the lines of: “Nolan looking at this like,” with a photo of Robert Downey Jr.’s Lewis Strauss. Some people have also used the clip of Homelander being flustered in The Boys.

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The Creator sparks controversy with Beirut explosion footage

The likeness to the Beirut footage was first spotted by u/BrokeBoyAdvanced on Reddit, and the post quickly became a hub for debate. “I hope this is a shot that was inserted for the trailer and NOT a clip that’s in the film. If it is in the film, I’d like to hear the director’s perspective on why it was chosen to be included,” one user wrote.

“It’s more about using a real tragedy to create fake movie plot – imagine paying a pedestrian for their 9/11 footage so a movie can use it as a base for VFX of a giant building being attacked?” another commented.

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“Not a VFX artist by any means, but is it possible it was a shot rushed out for the trailer and not an actual clip from the movie? I could see this being pressure and someone said ‘just grab a powerful explosion and do your best’. Because there’s tons of great visuals so far from this movie, and that clip itself looks dodgy,” a third speculated.

“It’s really upsetting that they used footage from an actual tragedy to promote a movie that likely has nothing to do with it,” a fourth also wrote. “How is that different from when there is a storm that devastates a community and then a film crew goes to use that location as devastation for their film? If you think that hasn’t happened, it’s happened more times than you’d know. In fact, coincidentally, the director of The Creator did this in this first film, Monsters,” a fifth user commented.

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The Creator hits cinemas on September 29. Find out more about the movie here.

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