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Scene of Wonder

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Allison: This can't be real.
White Chain: A narrow concept. This is Throne, domain of kings.

You open the door, go through it, and the lights are turned on. And what you are seeing now, leaves you in awe for a moment, because you have never seen something like this before. During this moment, you look around to take in all of the details.

If you just experienced this, you may have had a Scene of Wonder. Here, one or more characters see some kind of environment for the first time, and have a short scene where they look around and are struck by what they see. Their reaction could be a positive one, like amazement, but does not have to be bound by this as it could also be something negative, like horror. Expect to be exposed to the environment in its entirety, and by shots or descriptions of details or smaller events happening in it. Bonus points if the music swells when the reaction happens or when we see the environment.

Compare to The World Is Just Awesome and "Hell, Yes!" Moment. Also compare to Stunned Silence, where the reaction is silence to something a person does, while in here, it has to be an environment of some sort. May prompt character to utter "We are not in Kansas anymore". Of course, people (or creatures of some kind) could be part of the scenery. It could possibly include Scenery Porn. Not to be confused with One-Scene Wonder. When the setting shown is establishing a Period Piece, this trope could very well overlap with "Mister Sandman" Sequence.

No Zero Context Examples please! When adding examples, please say who is reacting and at what. Also add why the environment evokes the reaction and how the characters are reacting.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Your Name revolves around a boy from Tokyo named Taki and a girl from a rural village named Mitsuha swapping bodies. Mitsuha is fed up with small-town life and wants to go to Tokyo, so when she first swaps bodies with Taki she is awestruck at seeing Tokyo for the first time.

  • The penultimate image of Gustave Doré's illustration of the Paradiso shows the poet and his muse gazing lovingly at the Eternal Rose of Angels, perfectly dancing in harmony around the light of the Trinity.

    Fan Works 
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku is awestruck when he gets to see Krypton (as a hologram) for the first time, marveling at its architecture, locales, and technology as he comes to grips with the fact that this is where he came from.

    Films — Animation 
  • Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: The zoosters have this kind of moment when they look overs the African plains and see others of their own kind for the first time.
  • Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas: The Santa Workshop evokes a gleeful reaction from Huey, Dewey and Louie. After a camera pan from their faces towards the entire room, the audience gets to see some shots of the creative ways the toys are manufactured.
  • A very dark version in Mulan, immediately following the number "A Girl Worth Fighting For," all the soldiers fall silent as they arrive at the decimated village. They even stop before singing the last note of the song to stare in shock and horror. This is taken even further when they come across the fallen troops that came before them.
  • The number "What's This?" from The Nightmare Before Christmas, in which Jack wanders into Christmastown and runs around singing about the wondrous sights he's never witnessed before.
  • In The Secret of NIMH, there's the scene where Mrs. Brisby first enters the rosebush. At first everything looks dark and foreboding, but then she finds a clearing illuminated by glowing flowers. She looks around in wonder at the beauty all around her... but the mood is suddenly shattered when she encounters a rat guard with a sharp trident who chases her away.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: In the middle of their journey to Shell City, SpongeBob and Patrick react in shock upon seeing the anglerfish monster that chased them ran towards a giant chasm (which Bob and Pat narrowly avoid) and then gets eaten by a gigantic Sea Monster that leaps out of the chasm. Doubly so since they have to cross said chasm to get to their destination.
  • There are two such instances for the odd li'l bot WALL•E:
    • While clinging to the outside of the shuttle rocket, WALL•E escapes the lifeless clutter of his Crapsack World, and gazes in wonder at the infinitude of outer space.
    • Upon leaving the Axiom's docking bay, WALL•E sees the multitude of living people whizzing around the glistening luxury liner, and can only gaze in awe at this spectacle.
  • On the train ride into Zootopia, Judy Hopps gazes in wonder at the myriad different environments that comprise the city's twelve districts. First there's Sahara Square, the towering oasis amid shifting sands; then comes Tundra Town, the wintry wonderland; next comes the Rainforest District, absolutely alive in vegetation and greenery. Last comes the metropolis proper, whereupon Judy debarks to do a 360-degree eyeful of the magnificent architecture that's the polar opposite of her sleepy, bucolic Bunnyburrows.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future is the Trope Namer for the related trope "Mister Sandman" Sequence; in the aforementioned sequence, Marty walks around staring in wonder when he's gone back to 1955. He has similar reactions whenever else he goes forward or backward in time (he also stares in dismay at the changed Hill Valley in the version where Biff owns a casino).
  • Galaxy Quest: Jason thinks his first trip to the Thermian spaceship is an amateur film produced by fans of his old show, right up until he's about to be sent home. The transporter bay opens on a view of an alien star system, with a ringed planet and several others nearby, that leaves him speechless in awe. The rest of the crew have similar awestruck reactions when they're transported to the starport, and again when they see the Protector.
    Alexander Dane: Oh my God. It's real.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: When the Guardians visit Ego's planet there is an extended sequence as they travel on a floating platform throughout the lush, beautiful alien planet. All set to George Harrison's My Sweet Lord in true Guardians fashion.
  • Jurassic Park: When the very first dinosaur, a Brachiosaurus, appears on-screen, Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler take a moment to marvel at the fact that they're actually looking at a real, live dinosaur. Hammond can barely contain his glee as he describes all of the wonders of Jurassic Park, including the T. rex.
    John Hammond: Dr. Grant. My dear Dr. Sattler, Welcome, to Jurassic Park.
  • A similar scene happens in Jurassic World. Set to a triumphant reprise of John Williams's Welcome to Jurassic park theme, Gray Mitchell throws open the curtains of his hotel balcony to be greeted by a sweeping shot of the entire, fully functional theme park. After so many years, John Hammond's dream has finally come true.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: When Georgie Henley, who plays the youngest of the Pevensies, first enters the mystical land Narnia. As with the Willy Wonka example, this was Enforced Method Acting. She was actually blindfolded and carried onto the set.
  • In Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, when the children enter the room with the chocolate waterfall, they all stare in wonder. This is partially because of Enforced Method Acting, as none of the actors had seen the set before it was filmed.
  • The Wizard of Oz
    • After the farmhouse lands in Oz, Dorothy goes to the front door to open it. Up to this point, the movie had been in drab sepia. When she opens the door, the movie turns to glorious Technicolor. Dorothy spends more than a minute walking around a village filled with beautiful flowers, just staring at the scenery.
    • The Emerald City definitely dazzles Dorothy and company from the outside, and once inside the city's gates, they gape at a wondrous place that's much glitzier and busier than the Munchkin village where Dorothy began her journey.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring the journey through Moria is mostly dark and depressing, but when they reach Dwarrowdelf, Gandalf considers it worth risking more light to let the Fellowship see the city-sized cave and supporting pillars.
  • The scene in Somewhere in Time where Richard first mind-travels back to the 1910s era. He steps out into the hotel lounge and is stunned by the sight of The Edwardian Era crowd.

  • One of the first episodes in The Aeneid is when the Trojans come across masterful sculptures of the destruction of their city. Many a verse is dedicated to how lifelike the Greek soldiers look and how truly dead the Trojan families seem before the reality of the beautiful, terrible illusion brings Aeneas to tears.
  • Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has this multiple times in the book and movie, most notably when everyone first sees the main Chocolate Room, which is made entirely out of candy and a sight to behold.
  • The Divine Comedy: The garden at the peak of Purgatory is described at length as the three poets watch the smooth breeze bend the tree-branches up and down so slightly that the birds nested on them don't even awake. The narrative only kicks in to tell the audience that this lovely garden is the true Parnassus, the place of happiness that all poets dream of.
  • Diagon Alley is this for Harry Potter in the first book, having seen little of the wizarding world yet. In the movie, this is shown by multiple shots of the shops and emphasized with the loud music.
    • Followed up not long after when Harry makes it through the secret gateway to Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross, where the humdrum diesel and electric intercity and suburban trains are replaced by the bright red steam-powered Hogwarts Express.
  • In the Discworld book Interesting Times the throne room of the Agatean Emperor is supposed to have that effect, to make uncivilised and uncomplicated tribesmen step back in awe at its grand majesty and submit to the throne. However, when Cohen and his Silver Horde turn up they immediately start calling it gaudy, flimsy, and are generally just unimpressed and miss the point of it. Perhaps they were just too uncivilised to recognise how uncivilised they were...
  • The Lord of the Rings: Even in the hideous depths of Mordor, Samwise Gamgee can still look up and see a star bright in the sky to marvel at the beauty of the world he and his master hope to save.
  • Paradise Lost: Even the Devil can't help but marvel at the sight of Eden, which is described at length with classical similes and pastoral imagery. The beauty of leaves the Father of Lies speechless, only for his awe to turn to anger as he makes excuses about how necessity forces him to turn this Paradise to a terrestrial Hell.
  • Although she was initially reluctant about it, Marle from Pindakaas en Sushi admits to being amazed by seeing an anime convention for the first time, describing it as something to experience. She also becomes happy about the few things she does recognize, though she pulls herself back at that moment, telling herself not to get too much into it.
  • Watchers of the Throne: When Tieron travels to Luna to investigate a disturbance there, he crests the edge of a crater to find the aftermath of a massive battle, littered with corpses of both loyalists and (many more) traitors, but nothing attracts his attention quite like the man who remains standing in the centre: Roboute Guilliman, immortal son of the God-Emperor, returned after ten thousand years. For the next few hours, Tieron feels like he's having a fever dream.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This often happens in Doctor Who when characters enter the TARDIS for the first time and see that it's Bigger on the Inside. The Eleventh and Thirteenth Doctors got their own scenes of wonder when they viewed their new TARDIS interiors after the ship had repaired itself.
    • Companions also shown being amazed at some sight on an alien planet that the Doctor is showing them. An online extra scene explained that the Doctor is doing this deliberately as he's become jaded from having Seen It All, but the reaction of his companions makes him experience the same wonder again.
  • A negative reaction gets evoked in iCarly, during the episode iSell Penny Tees, where Sam makes fourth-graders do labor work. Naturally, Carly and Freddie are not pleased at the sight of the visibly tired and sweaty children, their expressions being somewhere between shock and confusion. However, due to the nature of the show, this is Played for Laughs.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Isildur is impressed with seeing Middle-Earth for the first time as the Numenorian ships approach its coastline and woke up early just to see its beauty at sunrise.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Le chien chaud et le mouton noir" Miss Brooks is dismayed when she enters the "Salon de Chien Chaud". She had taken an evening position as a receptionist to augment her income, only to find out it was really a job as working as a waitress at a rundown roadside diner. Miss Brooks looks about the "Salon de Chien Chaud" with dismay.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", Captain Sisko and his officers are awestruck when they come aboard the original USS Enterprise. In particular, they can barely contain their excitement anytime they're near Captain Kirk. It's also a meta-example, as the actors hadn't seen the rebuilt Enterprise sets prior to filming, so their awestruck looks are genuine.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street: In Part 1 of the "Little Big Bird" two-parter, after Big Bird is accidentally shrunken down to the size of a bug as a result of Mr. Mumford's magic trick going wrong, he is amazed at the huge world around him which soon leads to him singing about his new gigantic surroundings.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder: This is the motivational trope for the Red Reaver, the bigger and meaner cousin of the Grey Render. While flying around it will become struck by some wonder of nature and comes crashing down, which doesn't harm it. Its entire life is spent eating, exploring and gazing transfixed into its chosen vista. As for anyone standing underneath it at the time...

  • Hansel and Gretel dedicates Scene II of its third act to the reveal of the Gingerbread House. Its sudden appearance amid the woods is greeted by the children with a few moments of Stunned Silence as the orchestra begins a luxurious melody.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout series:
    • Most notable in Fallout 3 where the main character has never even seen the sky until he/she is forced to leave in search of their father.
    • For the main character in Fallout 4, when having witnessed the nuclear blast for a few minutes before he/she is cryogenically frozen in the local vault, the result 200 years later is all the more horrifying.
    • The trailer for Fallout 76 gives the player this feeling upon first leaving the vault. It shows empty forests and abandoned, worn down locations, with ominous mist and a used protective suit laying on the ground, of which the supposed player character inspects the helmet of.
  • Hi-Fi RUSH has a moment early in the first track, where an elevator throw Chai up quite high, and he gets a moment to look on in wonder at the sheer scale and City of the Future...ness of Vandelay Technologies.
  • Invoked by the developers of Journey (2012), who have designed its locations specifically to elicit this kind of reaction from players. With the ultimate goal of fostering friendships between online strangers, they reasoned that people who experience awe and wonder of an environment together tend to bond with each other much more naturally.
  • In Mass Effect, there is the sequence when the Normandy first arrives at the Citadel, and the human crewmen all stand around gawking at the sheer size of the place.
  • Although most games in the Myst series are first person, this is likely the intended effect when players first arrive in the various worlds (or "Ages") the games take place in. Players travel by placing their hand on a book that instantly transports them to the world that book describes. They then spend anywhere from minutes to hours taking in the sights that greet them.
  • In Ni no Kuni Oliver has this reaction after first teleporting to the other world. Although he has already met the magical creature Drippy, who is a doll which came to life, the shining gate appearing out of thin air and the beautiful green landscape that follows sure makes him stand still for a moment.


    Western Animation 
  • Discussed a little in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Master Piandao is educating Sokka on the use of a sword. One of his lessons involves blindfolding Sokka and leading him to a picturesque environment, with waterfalls, a gorgeous view, and polished stone. Sokka is given a few seconds to marvel at the scene, before Piandao yanks him away, gives him paper, brushes, and ink, and tells him to paint the landscape he just saw, telling Sokka that a swordsman may have only a moment to observe the scene before they must make use of it in combat.
  • In Futurama, Fry has one in the pilot after first seeing future New York through a window.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" during Fluttershy's flashback to when she got her cutie mark, she is knocked off her cloud by Rainbow Dash and the boy bullies and falls out of the sky, only to be saved by a family of butterflies in the forest below. She realizes she has never been this close to the ground before and explores her new surroundings, all set to her song, "So Many Wonders".


Video Example(s):


CEC in the Galaxy 5000

Once Chuck E. and his gang arrive on Planet Orion, the team and visitors are in live-action while everything around them is done in video game-esque CGI.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / RogerRabbitEffect

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