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Distant Reaction Shot

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

Pat Mustard: Better get out the earplugs, Father, because when that milkfloat goes up, you'll hear it all the way to the North Po—
[cut to North Pole] *BOOM*

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. If it's not being Played for Laughs or visual spectacle, expect a reaction shot from the horrified witnesses.

When a distant reaction shot is used for censorship reasons (whether to cover up bad language, violence, someone about to throw up, or sexual intercourse), then it's a Discretion Shot.

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



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh: English teacher Yukari Tanizaki attempts teaching math. She grabs a textbook, and from space can be seen the planet Earth, so is the sheer overwhelmingness of math.
  • Battle Club: Suplexes have a distance reaction shot from the outside of buildings.
  • Doctor Slump: Arale can punch so hard, the Earth cracks and splits in half.
  • Excel Saga: How much is Hyatt bleeding? Enough to cover the Earth.
  • The first OVA episode of Tales of Symphonia use this when Lloyd actives the exsphere in Iselia.
  • Dragon Ball does this from time to time. The video games love to use it for moves that destroy the battle arena.
  • An extravagant example comes from the F-Zero anime, in which light from the explosion of Black Shadow's Dark Reactor covers a rather large chunk of its home spiral galaxy and extends farther than the galaxy is thick. The famous scene is often posted, making it seem as though Captain Falcon's signature attack triggered the explosion.
  • Happens in Fate/Zero when Saber uses her Wave Motion Sword Noble Phantasms against Rider and destroys his Gordius Wheel, the shot cuts to Kirei Kotomine on a rooftop along with Kariya Matou, his Berserker and an unconscious Irisviel watching the beam.
  • The Lighthearted Rematch between the Mid-Childa Mages and Belkan Knights in the last supplementary manga chapter of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's ends with Nanoha and Fate launching a Combination Attack that Hayate intends to meet with her own obscene Wide-Area Attack. Expecting the worst, Yuuno maxes out the Containment Field surrounding the area and assures Chrono that the training room they're using won't get damaged. Cut to a distant shot of the Time-Space Administration Bureau's orbital headquarters and one section of it exploding.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann pulls it from time to time, when it is not filling the screen with explosions. One notable example would be when Simon detonates a hole in Lordgenome's chest with the contact key of his mecha.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
    • One episode shows a small red patch on a map of the globe. We soon find out that a miles-wide circle got wiped out when one of the new Evas had a... glitch.
    • A less extravagent scene occurs whenever an Angel is destroyed: the camera cuts to a far-off place where the audience can see a massive cross-shaped explosion. Happens to EVA-04 in the above example, as well as with every human on the planet during the Third Impact.
    • In a flashback to the Second Impact, there is a scene which shows the event from a satellite in four photographs, which show the event creating a huge expanse of nothingness when seen from orbit forming over the South Pole, as well as the White Moon which spawned the Angels.
  • FLCL does this when the satellite is hurtling towards the town in "Full Swing".
  • Toriko does a comically-lengthy version of this with the dropping of the Dodurian Bomb (basically a natural Stink Bomb turned Up to Eleven). The moment the fruit's olfactory onslaught is unleashed, we first get a bird's eye view as the fruit's giant stink cloud explodes. We then see 17 different characters react to it all across Human World. Most show variants of "What the smell?!", one (Teppei, the guy who sent Toriko and Komatsu there) prays, and another (Sunny) collapses in reaction to it. Only one (Zongeh) doesn't react due to smell tolerance, but the two next to him do.
    • Also done in a more serious way during the final battle against NEO to show off how extreme it is - multiple characters' attacks end up battering the poor planet, such as a palm strike embedding a country-sized hand shape into the mantle, and Toriko's own Leg Knife cleaving off a chunk of the horizon.
  • In Urotsukidoji, this is done with the Overfiend's conception. At that moment, the movie rapidly cuts to several other major characters, as they react to the "disturbance in the Force", and then cuts to a shot of the whole Earth, wreathed in purple light, with especially creepy sound effects. Nothing will ever be the same.
  • Done in One-Punch Man when Saitama unleashes a "Serious Punch" on Boros at the climax of their fight. Not only obliterating him in the attack but likewise cutting to show the Earth's atmosphere in which clouds were parted from the sheer force alone.

    Asian Animation 
  • Used quite a bit in Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf. For example, in the Joys of Seasons episode "Candy House Fantasy", Paddi yells "Gimme my candy!" and it cuts to the Earth.
  • Happy Heroes: At the end of one episode, Big M. does a Skyward Scream that "I WANNA GO HOME!!!" The camera pans out to a shot of planet Xing Xing as he shouts this.

    Comic Books 
  • Infinite Crisis: Superman shouts from one planet to another.
  • Justice Society of America has the battle between the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, and his turned-mad son Obsidian. After Alan Scott uses his Green Lantern Ring to match his son's size and blast him at full power, we cut to a wide shot of the city as a massive pillar of Green Lantern's light is rising into the sky, then cut into a wider shot as we see this massive pillar of light rocket into space.
  • Inverted in this PS238 strip: In a secret facility far underground, the toddler son of two superheroes is being tested. They ask him to strike a target as hard as he can. Cut to the surface, where a tiny "pop" in the ground makes a little kid trip. Back in the lab, the machinery has been demolished.
  • In The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Tailgate discovers that on his way to the Ark, he has been delayed for a while, from having it whispered into his auditory receptors. The next shot has zoomed back quite a lot (especially given that the Lost Light is a bit bigger than Brooklyn) to emphasise the volume of his resultant shout of "SIX MILLION YEARS?!"
  • A tragic one occurs in Astonishing X-Men, when Kitty Pryde uses her powers to permanently fuse with a gigantic bullet that's on course with the Earth, making the object intangible and thus saving the planet. As this happens, Professor X, who's in exile on Genosha and has been out of the plot for nearly the whole series, is shown holding his head and crying, signifying that he's feeling the pain. Justified in that he's one of the most powerful psychics in the world, and implied to be directly connected to all of the X-Men.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the Garfield strip for 14 November 1999, Garfield holds a sleeping Jon's eyes open as Odie licks them. The last panel shows to aliens on the Moon wondering what the screaming is. A Square Root of Minus Garfield strip relocates the aliens to the Saturnian moon Minas, as part of the "Garfield [word that sounds like 'Minus'] Garfield" Running Gag. The Rant points out that this makes the scream even louder.

    Films — Animated 
  • 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.
  • 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...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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 Bueller's Day Off: Starting with an extreme close-up of his screaming mouth, 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.
  • Midway-ish through Titanic (1997), as a distress rocket is fired - the scene cuts away briefly to a very isolated blip of light above the ship which is otherwise surrounded by darkness.
  • During the interception of a malfunctioning agricultural robot at the start of Runaway, Officers Ramsay and Thompson jump on top of it, only for the robot to explode. Cut to a group of farmers making quips about "World War 3" as they watch a large cloud of black smoke rise over their fields.
  • Die Hard, when Hans detonates the roof of the Nakatomi and John just barely manages to save himself by jumping off it via a fire hose he uses as a makeshift rope. One of the camera cuts shows the building for a several mile long distance and the very visible explosion coming from it.
  • Alien 40th Anniversary Shorts. "Containment" opens with a distant shot of a colony ship silently disintegrating with the tiny figure of a single Escape Pod launching away, then we cut to events inside the pod among the Sole Survivors.

  • From outdoor humorist Patrick McManus's short story "How to Get Started in Bass Fishing:"
    "He then used the air in his lungs to power a long, quavering scream of anguish that echoed up and down the lake, and for miles away fishermen said to each other, 'Smokey Joe must have lost a trophy bass he thought was a log.'"
  • The tenth book of The Wheel of Time consists largely of reactions by various characters to the effects of the climax of the previous book.

    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, who gives a surprised jerk and looks around in puzzlement. This is also a Gilligan Cut, as it happens in the middle of the Hoist by His Own Petard villain giving the page-quote above.
  • Inverted a few times in Battlestar Galactica 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.
  • On Friends, Ross is aghast that not only did his co-worker swipe his special sandwich (leftover Thansgiving turkey with bread drenched in gravy), but that his boss got full and threw the rest away. His anguished cries of MY SANDWICH?! is cut to the outside of the building, then birds flying away in Central Park.
  • During the last season of Cheers, when Carla realizes she had sex with Paul, she screams while various shots around Boston are shown.
  • Inverted for Chernobyl which opens with the distant flash of the explosion seen through the window of a distant apartment, then the building shakes from the shockwave, then we cut to events in the reactor control room.

    Video Games 
  • In BlazBlue, Makoto's Astral Heat finisher Planet Crusher shows the moon in space before being crushed to pieces by the impact of the opponent being sent flying into the moon.
  • Chrono Trigger: In the bad ending, the Day of Lavos, Lavos emerges from the surface and shoots projectiles that cause explosions. The planet, visible from space, covered in explosions, becomes red, then gray. Cue the sobering message of "But... The future refused to change."
  • The makeshift nuke on Virmire in Mass Effect causes a huge explosion that can briefly be seen from orbit. Pretty painful for the team-member that got left behind.
  • Quite a few attacks in the Disgaea series use this, and it gets progressively more ridiculous with each game. Examples include mushroom clouds visible from space, the moon exploding, the world exploding, the solar system getting disintegrated, and even the entire galaxy getting wiped out.
  • 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
  • Final Fantasy VI: When the World of Balance ends, the planet can be seen from space, with explosions.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Bahamut ZERO's Tera Flare zooms to outside the planet and pans through space. 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.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: The Eden Guardian Force arrives from space, bending space-time around the enemy to bring the enemy close to the ship, firing a beam of energy, zooming out to show the energy beam crossing a great expanse of space, colliding with a galaxy, causing the galaxy to explode from its center in a massive explosion, surrounded by smaller explosions.
  • 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.
  • Guilty Gear
    • Guilty Gear XX #Reload: Bridget's Instant Kill yo-yos the opponent to the surface of the moon, with the Earth visible from space. Slayer's Instant Kill punches the opponent to the next galaxy.
    • Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-: Jack-O' Valentine's Instant Kill has the opponent tied up and kicked, with an explosion on the Earth's surface, visible from space.
  • Kirby Super Star's Megaton Punch shows a crack running down Pop Star when you hit hard enough. A perfect score splits the planet, but doesn't cause the two halves to break apart.
  • Used in a soccer game from the game Touhou Soccer when Mima uses her Twilight Spark.
  • When Combat Instinct 2's final boss is defeated, four ion beamers blast him simultaneously for the final blow. Cue massive explosion across space.
  • Henry Stickmin Series: This is a common gag among the series' many, many fail scenes. For example, in the Grapple Gun route of Infiltrating the Airship, using the bomb will result in a distant view of the airship as the bomb goes off.


    Web Original 
  • Dragon Ball 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.
    • This happens again from Vegeta when he realizes that Gohan, Krillin and Dende are wishing with the Namekian Dragon Balls loud enough that Piccolo, who was on the other side of the planet could hear it.
      Vegeta: Jesus, I overslept. It's already night... for the first time since I got here... on a planet with three suns (beat) Oh you motherFU (cuts to Gohan, Krillin and Dende) CKERS!!
      Piccolo: (far away) Ow, my ears.
  • The Unexpectables D&D stream has at least 3 different instances involving orc barbarian Borky; one scream of terror from discovering skeletons, and two Gory Discretion Shot Lightning Javelin impacts, complete with miniature mushroom cloud.
  • In the stickman gif starting with "If the door doesn't open, break it down" and ending with "If pushing doesn't work, try pulling", the final attack resembles a Final Fantasy summon, showing the planet from space, as a beam spreads out and narrows into a focused blast of explosive energy.
  • In The Lazer Collection 7, after the man assaulted in the pepper battle admits to having a food allergy, the Earth can be seen with a bright, brilliant lazer.
  • The Strong Bad Email "hremail3184" from ''Homestar Runner" actually does it when Strong Bad blows up the Lappy.
  • SuperMarioLogan: Jeffy screaming "ARE YOU FUCKING HIGH?!?!" in "Jeffy's Tantrum!" shakes the Earth itself.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: The massive wave of holy light that comes from the Star Child finally finding a vessel, meaning a good chunk of the Emperor's soul has finally returned, has an ever-increasing series of these culminating in one from outside the galaxy entirely.
  • Something Awful's old Let's Play of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri jumps to the viewpoint of a space telescope in Earth orbit as it picks up the nuclear holocaust on the planet the game's set on, 4 light-years away. For something as low-key as a computer's system messages, it's really quite effective at evoking dread of the scale of the devastation.
  • In the Chimney Chickens episode Meet the Genius: Buzz Watson, when Blaze throws the nitroglycerin he was asked to fetch at Buzz, the camera cuts from inside the lab to outside the school to show the resulting explosion.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Megas XLR uses this in the episode "Universal Remote" several times when Megas is trying to destroy Skalgar when he's got his shield.
    • Coop has Megas unleash everything it has on a planet sized alien, when it hits the alien, the scene cuts miles away to which the whole alien can be seen, and the explosion is shown to be a mere firecracker on the alien.
  • Beast Wars has perhaps the world's only depiction of destructive Transformer flatulence, caused by a bad reaction to wild beans. The establishing shot is from high orbit. The enormous blue mushroom cloud of gaseous Energon that results is larger than all of north Africa, billows out past the stratosphere, and causes massive atmospheric ripples. Pretty impressive for one techno-organic rhinoceros of average size.
  • An occasional gag that would pop up in Hey Arnold!, whenever Helga would get frustrated with Arnold. She would look up and shout, "ARNOOOOOOOOLLLD!" Cut to Arnold and Gerald (who would usually be on the other end of town). Arnold would look up, turn to Gerald and ask, "Did you hear something?" To which Gerald would reply, "Nope."
  • One or two examples in SpongeBob SquarePants.
    • In "Dying for Pie", Squidward had thought that SpongeBob had exploded from eating a pie bomb. But it turns out he had been saving it for them to share. And just as SpongeBob is about to offer the pie, he trips and the pie flies in Squidward's face, and the camera cuts away to a massive live action explosion (and Squidward's understated "ouch".)
    • In "Band Geeks", Squidward is the conductor of a band, and urges the band to play really loudly so that they sound good, operating on the logic that people talk loud when they want to act smart. As soon as he motions the band to play loudly, the camera cuts to the exterior of the hall and the windows shattering. The camera then cuts back to Squidward's distorted face and him suggesting that maybe they should play so quietly no one can hear them.
  • Family Guy
    • In "Dial Meg for Murder", a hardened Meg steps into the shower with a loofa while Peter is in it. She tells him "Don't worry about it", and then...
    • In "Quagmire's Dad", Quagmire's sex-changed father Ida tells Quagmire that she met someone, and he excitedly asks her the man's name. The scene then cuts to outside his house, where we hear Quagmire shout a Big "NO!" from finding out that "someone" is Brian.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "Rambling Ed", one of these from the other cul-de-sac kids follows Rolf's frustrated cry of "The burden of hospitality is too great for Rolf!!"
  • Steven Universe: In "Message Received", after Peridot burns her bridges with Homeworld by calling Yellow Diamond a clod, the episode ends with Peridot's despondent groans being heard from further and further away, even out in space.
  • In The Simpsons
    • An early "April Fools"-themed episode had Bart pranking Homer with an overshaken can of Duff beer. When Homer finally opens the can, Bart barely has time to call him on it before the sheer force of the exploding beer destroys the entire house, and the scene cuts to the police officers on patrol two blocks away witnessing the resulting Mushroom Cloud.
    • In the first part of "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", the family receives a thank you letter from Burns for the assorted chocolates... except for Homer, who had sent the candies in the hopes that Mr. Burns would at least remember his name. When Homer reads the letter, he orders the kids to step out of the room before unleashing a major F-Bomb. The audience doesn't hear it, but we cut to outside of the house as the church's organ lets out a note (Fittingly F minor), crows are disturbed and fly off from their perches, and the neighbors around the street stand around in shock.
    Flanders: Dear lord! That's the loudest profanity I've ever heard.
    • Another episode had Bart shout "Testing" through 10 megaphones. The sound was so loud not only did it cause windows all over Springfield to break but also shattered every bottle of Duff beer Homer had in the fridge.
  • Fairly Oddparents has a moment that doesn't even require a noise: A beauty rest-lacking Cosmo is so ugly that the mere revelation of his face causes a herd of deer miles away to look up in alarm.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: At the start of "Helter Shelter," the Professor's loud and protracted yell of "BUUUUBBBBLES!!!!" goes all the way into outer space, where the girls are repairing a spacecraft.
    Blossom: (to Bubbles) Boy, what did you do this time?
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "World Wide Rabbit", Mac and Bloo secretly tape an embarrassing video of Mr. Herriman, and Bloo ends up uploading it and making it go viral. When he finds out about it, the scene cuts to the house exterior as we hear him yell "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!".
  • Tangled: The Series has one in the Grand Finale when Rapunzel shoots the Sundrop and Moondrop into outer space, showing that Corona takes place on on alternate Earth, as its landmass is Europe and appears to be set where France would be.


Video Example(s):


Jeffy's Tantrum


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Example of:

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Media sources:

Main / DistantReactionShot