The 13 Best Laser Scenes in Movie History. By Linton Lewis.
The first laser was built in 1960 and has been an inspiration in movies ever since. Despite a long association with science-fiction films, lasers can now be found in movies of almost any genre. From spy movies to kids’ movies to superhero movies and more, lasers have become a huge part of movie magic.
In no particular order, here are 13 of the best laser scenes in movie history.
Star Wars – When you think of lasers in movies, most likely the first thing that comes to your mind is the Star Wars franchise. Between the lightsabers, proton torpedoes, and laser canons, the entire series is filled with lasers. Some of the most memorable laser scenes of the series would be the attack of the clones in Episode II and the Death Star destroying Alderaan with its massive superlaser in Episode IV.
Toy Story 1 & 2 – When space ranger Buzz Lightyear first arrives in Andy’s room, Buzz shows off his laser shooter to the other toys. While Woody refers to it as a “little lightbulb that blinks,” all of the other toys are quite impressed. Despite Buzz’s laser not being used directly in the first Toy Story movie, it is used in the second installation during Buzz Lightyear’s epic battle against Zurg in the elevator shaft.
Ghostbusters – Throughout the movies, the Ghostbusters use proton packs to weaken and catch the ghosts. This energy weapon is a handheld wand connected to a backpack-sized particle accelerator. The weapon fires a stream of highly concentrated and radially polarized protons that electrostatically snare the negatively charged energy of a ghost, ending in some real movie magic!
Avengers: Age of Ultron – In the second Avengers film, the android Vision is constructed with an Infinity Stone embedded in his head that happens to work as a laser as well. In the iconic fight scene of Iron Man, Thor and Vision versus Ultron, Vision takes down Ultron with this laser, saving the day.
Star Trek – Much like in Star Wars, lasers are common in the Star Trek world. Throughout the movies, a common weapon of choice is a phaser, which is simply a fictional extrapolation of real-life lasers. The phaser’s laser beam is said to be able to stun, heat, kill, or disintegrate living creatures. These phasers can also cut through walls or rock, with the option to focus on a single spot or a large area.
The Incredibles – In this Pixar movie about a modern family of superheroes, each family member has a unique set of superpowers. For the majority of the first movie, the baby of the family Jack-Jack is assumed to not have powers. His powers are first discovered when the rest of the family is off fighting evil and he is being watched by a babysitter. In the second movie, it is discovered that not only can Jack-Jack shoot lasers from his eyes, he can also teleport to other dimensions, clone himself, float, and much more.
WALL-E – In this Pixar movie depicting a future where Earth is no longer habitable, trash compactor robot WALL-E has spent the last 700 years cleaning up the trash that humans have left behind. After centuries of being alone, he is visited by a robot called EVE, with whom he falls in love. Both of the robots in this movie have a laser weapon, with Wall-E’s being a laser cutter, and EVE’s a laser gun.
Tron – Unlike many other movies on this list, lasers in Tron are not utilized as weapons but instead as digital teleporters. Kevin Flynn’s body is disassembled, digitized, and zapped into the computer world via the laser. To make things look even more realistic, some of the scenes in the movie were actually filmed in the real-world Lawrence Livermore National Labs and showcased SHEVA, one of the most powerful lasers in existence.
Oceans Twelve – In the second installment of the Oceans trilogy of comedy heist movies, François Toulour must navigate through a room full of lasers in the great hall in order to steal the Fabergé Imperial Coronation Egg. In this scene, Toulour manages to avoid the maze of lasers by performing a pre-choreographic dance to the music playing through his headphones.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids – In this story, a father shrinks his kids and the neighbor’s kids to the height of a quarter of an inch. The father is a scientist and powered the shrinking machine with a laser. Not realizing what he had done, the father throws out the kids and they must fight off bugs and other natural elements to get home and return to their actual size.
Austin Powers – In this smash-hit film series, British spy Austin Powers engages in his ongoing quest to defeat his arch-nemesis Dr. Evil. Throughout the films, Dr. Evil plots to extort large sums of money from governments or international bodies and is continuously stopped by Powers. Most notably, in International Man of Mystery, Dr. Evil requests his lair to be protected with sharks that have lasers attached to their heads, something he finally receives later in the series.
Goldfinger – In the third film of the James Bond series, villain Goldfinger attempts to use an industrial laser to kill Bond. This laser is said to be able to cut through solid metal and even project a spot on the moon. In one of the series’ most famous scenes, Bond is almost lasered while bound to a solid gold table. He bluffs his way out of this precarious situation by announcing that he knows about Operation Grandslam.
Mission: Impossible – In the well-known scene in the first movie, Tom Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt dangles horizontally from two cables in a heavily protected room while attempting to hack into a CIA computer. To add more stress, the floor is weight- and pressure-sensitive, meaning that a drop of sweat could set off the alarms. However, before he could even enter the secured room, he had to first bypass a laser grid in a ceiling ventilation duct.
Did your favorite laser scene make the list? Let us know in the comments which movie laser scene is your favorite!
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