Styrofoam Is A Mineral YKTTW Discussion

Styrofoam Is A Mineral
(permanent link) added: 2010-09-09 09:57:48 sponsor: SpiritOfSahara (last reply: 2010-09-09 09:57:48)

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Launching within hours - needs opinions on the title

The most popular title for this trope so far: Styrofoam Rocks

Alice and Bob are on an epic adventure to find a treasure buried deep underground. They are making their way through a maze of tunnels, with only a flashlight and an ancient treasure map keeping them from getting lost. But oh no! The villain hot on their heels accidently sets off a bomb and the ground starts shaking under the heroes' feet! The ancient tunnels aren't built sturdily enough to take the tremors and the walls crumble around them!

Except the rocks that fall sort of...bounce when they hit the ground...

When shooting in a studio, you can't just bring in a truckload of rocks and drop them on the actors. Hell, even wood won't work - what if somebody is injured! The rocks could of course be done with CGI, but that would cost quite a deal, and be hard for the actors to properly portray.

What do we have left? Styrofoam!

This trope is a kind of Special Effects Failure and is applicable in every situation where physical objects of some kind is meant to portray rocks, bricks or some other heavy material, but pathetically fails. Probably because it's impossible to be done any other way without risking injuries, especially in older shows, it's become an Acceptable Break from Reality.


  • Dragon Ball Evolution: In the climax of the movie, the protagonists are in a valley between rock pillars. Except the rocks look very light.
  • In the climax of Our Man Flint one of Flint's fleeing girlfriends is hit by a styrofoam "boulder" and it bounces right off.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Ethics", Worf's spine is broken when a cargo container falls on him. It seems almost humourous, since the way it falls and bounces indicates it's so light it wouldn't even hurt a human, let alone a big sturdy Klingon.
  • The opening to UHF makes fun of this, as a rock bounces right off of George Newman's head mid-fantasy and does nothing to him.
  • Stargate SG-1 has an episode with a flashback which reveals how Daniel Jackson's parents were killed. Apparently, they were crushed to death under the collapsing walls of an ancient cardboard temple.
  • Nickelodeon's Legends of the Hidden Temple and Guts were made of this trope. Although they were game shows, so it would have been disturbing if the effect were more convincing.
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