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ToSeek
2008-Feb-01, 03:17 AM
Not anything that hasn't been said before, but it's always nice to know that somebody's paying attention:

Hollywood under the microscope (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/hollywood-under-the-microscope-775574.html)


Independence Day

In this 1996 version of the “aliens invade Earth” plot – and in spite of the fact that the aliens’ technology is incomprehensibly advanced – the humanssomehow hack into the alien computer system and blow up the gigantic mother ship. Along the way, we’re told the mother ship has a mass equal to one-quarter the mass of the Moon and is in geosynchronous orbit above the Earth, more than 10 times closer than the Moon.

The ship’s gravity would cause huge tides, totally destroying coastal areas, and probably flex the Earth’s crust enough to cause catastrophic earthquakes. Still, the aliens send out smaller craft (each about 15 milesacross) to hover before unleashing flaming death-rays. Here, we cannot ignore Newton’s Third Law: to allow a ship to hover, there must be an upward force equal to the weight acting on it. So the ship must be exerting a downward force. If this involves air, the city beneath will be crushed by air pressure. So why waste energy on those death rays?

Noclevername
2008-Feb-01, 03:34 AM
Aha! They tricked us, the ships from ID were HOLLOW! No wonder they blew up so easily, they were balloons!

The aliens never invented heavier-than-air flight!

Noclevername
2008-Feb-01, 03:38 AM
The1989 Batman, with Michael Keaton, is a great example to showcase film physics. When Batman and Kim Basinger are dangling over a ledge, they lose their grip and fall before Batman’s retractable rope-hook catches on a gargoyle, saving them from crashing to death on the ground below. Would it really save them, though? Remember that the principal feature that distinguishes Batman from other superheroes is that he has no superpowers. So here’s where the physics doesn’t add up. It doesn’t matter whether a fall is interrupted beforeimpact with the ground; if the deceleration is sharp enough, severe injury is just as likely as in hitting the ground. To alleviate the effects of the forces and resulting negative acceleration (or deceleration), their magnitude must be reduced by increasing the time over which the forces occur. The rope does no good unless it is very elastic, like a bungee cord. Batman’s rope isn’t; he and Kim Basinger are brought to an abrupt halt.

Rapid accelerations and decelerations in humans would cause large bones to break, and internal injuries are possible. This is a result of Newton’s First Law: internal organs aren’t fixed to the frame of the body, so they will continue to move “at a constant speed in a straight line until acted on by a net external force”. That is, until they splat on your ribcage



Actually, I recall one of the comics saying that the bat-cable (or whatever it's called) reel has motion sensors and responds to falls by letting out the line gradually, deccelerating Batman safely instead of jerking to a stop.

Jason
2008-Feb-01, 03:40 AM
The humans had fifty years to study the alien computers, more than enough time to come up with an interface in to their system and maybe even a virus.

And who knows what's holding the alien ships up? Maybe they have a different set of laws.

tdvance
2008-Feb-01, 03:47 AM
ah, but in our universe, they follow our laws! Except in Hollywood.

Tucson_Tim
2008-Feb-01, 03:53 AM
I have many issues with that movie - one of my complaints is that the aliens had to use our satellites to coordinate their attacks. Why couldn't they bring their own? Of course, it's a plot device to allow Jeff Goldblum to anticipate the aliens' attack and save the President in the nick of time.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-01, 04:11 AM
And they blew up monuments instead of, say, missile silos and military bases. And they came into our weapons range when they didnt have to. And they sent out tiny fighters to get shot down when they had big honkin' lasers that could blow up a city. And that they had thought-controlled biosuits but needed joysticks in their fighters. And that a single central computer controlled all their defensive shields. And that none of the falling ships crushed the cities they were hovering directly over. And Randy Quaid.

That movie sucked.

Delvo
2008-Feb-01, 05:51 AM
Actually, they didn't say anything about the biosuits being thought-controlled or the land under the saucers not being crushed when the saucers crashed.

The thing about equal and opposite reactions and big hovering ships crushing what's below them (like things behind a jet engine on the ground getting blown back away from it) doesn't work either. With gravity control, hovering wouldn't necessarily require that kind of countering external force.

Van Rijn
2008-Feb-01, 09:28 AM
Actually, they didn't say anything about the biosuits being thought-controlled or the land under the saucers not being crushed when the saucers crashed.

The thing about equal and opposite reactions and big hovering ships crushing what's below them (like things behind a jet engine on the ground getting blown back away from it) doesn't work either. With gravity control, hovering wouldn't necessarily require that kind of countering external force.

The ships pretty much needed to be massless. Remember, these things were miles around, yet one dropped right next to the "Area 51" site, yet the site and the people survived. Anyway, that doesn't help with the mothership, which was said to have a quarter the moon's mass. Even if people on Earth survived everything else, they would have been toast if even a small fraction of that landed on Earth.

My favorite bad science bit in that movie was the dog that evaded a fireball/blast wave by jumping through a door. The blast wave was kind enough not to follow. I actually liked that movie, partly because it was so bad it was amusing.

Matherly
2008-Feb-01, 02:17 PM
And they blew up monuments instead of, say, missile silos and military bases.

"...we will lay waste to your cities with our anti-monument laser!"- Lrrr of the planet Omicron Persei 8, Futurama

NEOWatcher
2008-Feb-01, 02:26 PM
I think it's great that a story like this is appearing in mainstream media.

I do wonder though, what prompted the article?

I also think it should be catagorized under entertainment. Not because of the subject matter, but because the people who need to read it probably jump right past the science section of the news.

Doodler
2008-Feb-01, 04:21 PM
And who knows what's holding the alien ships up?

Inertial dampening? Dial down mass to the point where the requisite downward thrust is negligible.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-01, 04:35 PM
There were invisible strings extending up to big counterweights beyond geosynchronous orbit.

suntrack2
2008-Feb-01, 04:55 PM
Toseek, I like hollywood movies very much, but their are least movies based upon space and astronomy. I think Hollywood is quite ahead in the whole world in making special movies, special stories each time. This is quite notable.

Matherly
2008-Feb-01, 05:46 PM
Toseek, I like hollywood movies very much, but their are least movies based upon space and astronomy. I think Hollywood is quite ahead in the whole world in making special movies, special stories each time. This is quite notable.

Suntrack2, I am curious if you are outside of the United States? The reason I ask is your comments sugest you may be getting the "Best" of the Hollywood movies. I assure you the Sturgeon's Law (90% of anything is crud) applies to Hollywood as well.

Demigrog
2008-Feb-01, 06:58 PM
Anyway, that doesn't help with the mothership, which was said to have a quarter the moon's mass. Even if people on Earth survived everything else, they would have been toast if even a small fraction of that landed on Earth.

When I stop to think about it, how would any human be able to calculate the mass of the alien ship? We can do it for planets, asteroids, etc. by measuring their orbits around objects with known masses--but we know that they are completely inertial. The alien ship was "slowing down", which should make calculating its mass pretty much impossible. I vote that the 1/4 mass of the moon was just a calculation mistake even in the context of the movie. :)




My favorite bad science bit in that movie was the dog that evaded a fireball/blast wave by jumping through a door. The blast wave was kind enough not to follow. I actually liked that movie, partly because it was so bad it was amusing.
Yes, and because the dog survived I had *such* a warm fuzzy feeling, which overrode the horror and despair of watching an entire city dissolve in a fireball. :)

My other pet peeve about ID4... how stupid are humans anyway? Alien ships are hovering over the White House, Empire State Building, and other landmarks--obvious signs that they know a lot about our culture (ie why target the White House, or even Washington DC at all? It does not exactly stand out from orbit). Despite that, we're attaching silly light boards to helicopters.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-01, 07:06 PM
When I stop to think about it, how would any human be able to calculate the mass of the alien ship?

By seeing how much the orbit of the eath moon system was whacked out of kilter. Measuring how much lighter things were underneath it. Measuring how much higher that wall of water coming towards you is than a normal tide, and so on.

DataCable
2008-Feb-01, 07:14 PM
the aliens had to use our satellites to coordinate their attacks. Not only that, but they had to send a continuous countdown signal through them... WHY? Are beings capable of building massive interstellar (if not intergalactic) space vessels also incapable of building accurate clocks?. Synchronize before dispersing, then send one message through our satellite system, virtually impossible to decypher without previous knowledge of the language (unlike a cyclic binary countdown), something like "Attack at 0400." Or, even better, something which gives us no time to decypher it: "Now!"

:doh:

Maybe this one can be chalked up to arrogant villains who give Our Hero™ clues on the premise that he will be too stupid to figure it out.

NEOWatcher
2008-Feb-01, 08:06 PM
Well; I'd rather live with SOME idiocracy than have the real, true to life, alien invasion movie... which would probably last about 5 minutes anyway.

[Opening credits with music and odd images]
[5 minutes of character building dialog]
Hey, What Tha...
BOOOM.

And maybe some variations like pow, bam, zing, or any other one used on the original batman.

KaiYeves
2008-Feb-01, 08:31 PM
And they blew up monuments instead of, say, missile silos and military bases.
That reminds me of a comedy routine I did with my brother once.
My brother: "Ahhhh, the aliens are destroying the pyramids! Ahhh, the aliens are destroying the Eiffel Tower! Ahhh, the aliens are destroying the Empire State Building! Wait, that's where I am! Ahhhh! I've got to call Kai and warn her!"
Me: "Ah, Tierra Del Fuego. Where there are no famous monuments. Oh, that's my cell..."

Romanus
2008-Feb-01, 09:36 PM
^
;)

They really out to throw us a curve sometime...you know, have aliens attacking Cheyenne or Sevastopol or Dar es-Salaam or any other city that no one hears about. Of course, ID4's offense in this area is shared by almost every disaster flick, SF or not.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-01, 10:32 PM
Actually, they didn't say anything about the biosuits being thought-controlled or the land under the saucers not being crushed when the saucers crashed.

They showed it not being crushed. In every shot after the Mothership blew up, saucers are shown slipping sideways and crashing next to the cities they'd hovered over.

As for the biosuits, I'm pretty sure they did say something about that in the underground lab. The fact that one of the aliens actually took over Brent Spiner's body to talk through him shows they had the ability to control complex elecrical systems without joysticks.

Jason
2008-Feb-01, 11:49 PM
The Brent Spiner hand puppet trick was a use of telepathy, not controlling mechanical or electronic devices.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-02, 12:40 AM
The Brent Spiner hand puppet trick was a use of telepathy, not controlling mechanical or electronic devices.

Irrelevant. Electrical impulses are electrical impulses. Calling it "telepathy" does not identify the mechanism, just the result.

Jason
2008-Feb-02, 05:21 AM
Calling it telepathy implies that the "device" to be controlled must be extraordinarily complex - on the order of a human being. Mere machinery would then still require joysticks.

CodeSlinger
2008-Feb-02, 05:37 AM
Electrical impulses? Telepathy? I thought the alien was forcing air through poor Brent's throat and manually manipulating his vocal cords.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-02, 08:39 AM
Calling it telepathy implies that the "device" to be controlled must be extraordinarily complex - on the order of a human being. Mere machinery would then still require joysticks.

Er, no. Telepathy implies interaction with a brain. It does not imply that a brain is the only thing it can effect. As I said, impulses are impulses. The fact that it can interface so easily with a totally alien brain structure of high complexity makes it more likely that the creature is used to interfacing in such a way with patterns other than that of its own kind.

Tobin Dax
2008-Feb-02, 12:07 PM
I have one complaint about the article: Galaxy Quest doesn't count. Complaining about scientific inaccuracies in Galaxy Quest is like complaining about scientific inaccuracies in Space Balls.

Romanus
2008-Feb-02, 02:59 PM
^
Ditto.

Moose
2008-Feb-02, 03:24 PM
Suntrack2, I am curious if you are outside of the United States? The reason I ask is your comments sugest you may be getting the "Best" of the Hollywood movies. I assure you the Sturgeon's Law (90% of anything is crud) applies to Hollywood as well.

Suntrack2, if I remember correctly, is from India. He may well be comparing Hollywood with Bollywood, in which case...

tdvance
2008-Feb-02, 05:15 PM
Any creature who can establish telepathic contact with an *alien* brain can certainly build ships that don't require joysticks for them to control. The latter is by many orders of magnitude the easier of the two. The reason we don't have mind-reading machines today is that reading a human mind would be like listening to trillions of simultaneous conversations and putting it all together to interpret it as a thought--by comparison, visual perception is many orders of magnitude easier and we are just making (not even) baby steps toward software/hardware to do that. Controlling a spacecraft would be like falling off a narrow log 100 feet in the air.

HenrikOlsen
2008-Feb-04, 11:01 AM
^
;)

They really out to throw us a curve sometime...you know, have aliens attacking Cheyenne or Sevastopol or Dar es-Salaam or any other city that no one hears about. Of course, ID4's offense in this area is shared by almost every disaster flick, SF or not.
How about Grovers Mill, New Jersey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover%27s_Mill%2C_New_Jersey)?

NEOWatcher
2008-Feb-04, 03:31 PM
I have one complaint about the article: Galaxy Quest doesn't count. Complaining about scientific inaccuracies in Galaxy Quest is like complaining about scientific inaccuracies in Space Balls.
So, why didn't they include Space Balls?
:whistle::shifty:

Romanus
2008-Feb-04, 10:04 PM
Re HenrikOlsen:
ROFL!

I stand corrected. ;)

Neverfly
2008-Feb-04, 10:55 PM
How about Grovers Mill, New Jersey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover%27s_Mill%2C_New_Jersey)?

You can't help but think that this object (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Landingsite_statue.JPG)is going to throw Far Distant humans for a loop.

Future woo woo 's will claim it is evidence of E.T. UFO's landing on Earth in ancient times.

KaiYeves
2008-Feb-05, 12:28 AM
Future woo woo 's will claim it is evidence of E.T. UFO's landing on Earth in ancient times.
Golly, I hope we are beyond things like that in the future.

Neverfly
2008-Feb-05, 12:51 AM
Golly, I hope we are beyond things like that in the future.

Grob probably said that to Droof a million years ago.

suntrack2
2008-Feb-08, 05:09 PM
Suntrack2, if I remember correctly, is from India. He may well be comparing Hollywood with Bollywood, in which case...

I assume only when they(hollywood movies) are getting huge number of oscars, hence their movies are quite best, and this is understood. I have seen couple of hollywood movies, through which I made one analysis that their script writing, acting, performing, presentation, actors, views, total scinario, concepts, touch, photography, size of the movie, direction, choreography, mimicry, analogue and epilouge, dolby music background with a high resolution and impressive sounds, all are pretty cool.

Hollywood is a western style tool for the pure entertainment of the rest world. Even they can make a movie on "baut members too", since we have great actors here. So it will be hurry to take under the microscope. :)

(I don't want to do the comparison, because for everything there are choices of the spectetors, what they prefers to see, hence the mutual comparison is not at all necessary. There are specific systems adopted by the each Industry, so I will never say that this is only the best and that is not, or both are not best, or only one is quite best and other is not adequate best. so each has some values).

Sunil

Gillianren
2008-Feb-08, 05:34 PM
I assume only when they(hollywood movies) are getting huge number of oscars, hence their movies are quite best, and this is understood.

That's not necessarily true, actually. The bigger issue is that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the full name of the group that hands out Oscars, better known here as just the Academy) is an American organization. The "Best Foreign Film" award, aside from designating that anything not from the US is foreign (okay, it's now the Best Foreign Language film, but it still assumes that anything not English is a foreign language), is a relatively recent (1960s?) development. I would argue, for example, that the films of Kurosawa and Bergman are far better than a lot of American films, and they're Japanese and Swedish, respectively. Further, one of the films that did very, very well in last year's Oscars was, I believe, Mexican--El Laberinto del Fauno, known in English as Pan's Labyrinth.

Actually, I've been watching a lot of foreign-language films msyelf lately--yesterday, for example, I watched one in Bengali!--and I'm here to tell you that most of the ones I've been watching lately are far better than two of the current Oscar nominees, which I also watched recently. (That's Transformers and Surf's Up, both of which I thought were pretty bad.)

Halcyon Dayz
2008-Feb-09, 12:48 AM
Money and market-share.

A Hollywood blockbuster costs tens of millions to make, and about the same to advertise.
But it can be sold all over the world.

So a small number of movies for a very large market share.

Indian cinema works the other way around. Ca 900 features per year, almost exclusively for the domestic market. Which is humongous.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-09, 02:42 AM
I enjoy movies that either make me think, or render me incapable of coherent thought. Hollywood is good at the latter sort.

ravens_cry
2008-Feb-09, 07:56 AM
I would argue, for example, that the films of Kurosawa and Bergman are far better than a lot of American films, and they're Japanese and Swedish, respectively. )
The Sturgeon's Law applies to the rest of the world as well. I had a talk on another board saying how I like british humour, but then I am not british. The mainly british fellow board member agreed saying that most british humour is crap, we non-brits get the cream of the crop. Same issue.

Maha Vailo
2008-Feb-09, 12:34 PM
Well, this is certainly interesting:


The film slams this theory in overdrive as it leads to an “instant ice age”. Probably the most dramatic phenomenon in The Day after Tomorrow is the famous masses of air descending, at -100C, to the surface from the upper layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, causing everything to freeze instantly. But these temperatures in the upper part of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere, only range from around -45C to -75C. And even if the air magically got that chilly at the top of the troposphere, its descent would warm it up. It seems that there might be a moment of physics clarity when Ian Holm, as meteorologist Terry Rapson, asks, “Shouldn’t the air warm up as it descends?” Yes, it should! On its way down, the cold air has to be compressed, and that means it heats up.

OK, suppose I took a square mile of the upper part of the troposphere and suddenly slammed it down to the earth below. How much would the air heat up in the vicinity? Assume the surface temperature of the land below is 25C and the air is being forced down at 30 m/second.

- Maha Vailo

Noclevername
2008-Feb-09, 06:18 PM
Well, this is certainly interesting:



OK, suppose I took a square mile of the upper part of the troposphere and suddenly slammed it down to the earth below. How much would the air heat up in the vicinity? Assume the surface temperature of the land below is 25C and the air is being forced down at 30 m/second.

- Maha Vailo

1. It wouldn't descend that fast without an outside application of energy, which would heat it up no matter where it moved to.

2. It wouldn't be a square mile any more.

2a. How thick was it to start? You didn't say.

3. if it moved that fast it would also compress the air underneath it, raising the temp further.

Gillianren
2008-Feb-09, 06:56 PM
The Sturgeon's Law applies to the rest of the world as well. I had a talk on another board saying how I like british humour, but then I am not british. The mainly british fellow board member agreed saying that most british humour is crap, we non-brits get the cream of the crop. Same issue.

Oh, yes; I watch enough anime to be very aware of how bad a lot of it is, for example. However, the issue is that neither Kurosawa nor Bergman ever won a competitive Oscar, though each received an honorary award of some sort.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-09, 09:07 PM
The Oscars are not really a "measurement" of the best films, just the Academy members' opinions of the best films at the time they vote.

ravens_cry
2008-Feb-09, 09:18 PM
It's almost funny to look back at what films won, and how many have been mostly forgotten.

Gillianren
2008-Feb-09, 11:03 PM
It's almost funny to look back at what films won, and how many have been mostly forgotten.

I recently reviewed The Apartment, with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, which was voted Best Picture in 1960. Over Inherit the Wind, Spartacus, and Psycho, none of which were even nominated. An Oscar is assuredly not a guarantee of quality. They often indicate quality, but there are quite a few examples to the contrary.

Maha Vailo
2008-Feb-09, 11:31 PM
1. It wouldn't descend that fast without an outside application of energy, which would heat it up no matter where it moved to.

Let's assume the energy needed to push down this upper tropospheric air was negligible, for the purposes of simplicity.


2. It wouldn't be a square mile any more.

How so? If it wouldn't be a square mile, then how big would it be?


2a. How thick was it to start? You didn't say.

OK, make this pushed-down layer of air one mile deep initially.


3. if it moved that fast it would also compress the air underneath it, raising the temp further.

How many more degrees Celsius would be added to the final temperature by this compression of air?

Can you calculate the temperature increase with the additional info I mentioned?

- Maha Vailo

Noclevername
2008-Feb-10, 12:29 AM
Can you calculate the temperature increase with the additional info I mentioned?


I can't even calculate a square mile. ;) Let's ask one of the experts for help. Hey, experts! Help!

Maha Vailo
2008-Feb-10, 01:26 AM
^ Are you sure you can't do the math, or are you just pulling my leg?

- Maha Vailo

Noclevername
2008-Feb-10, 03:11 AM
^ Are you sure you can't do the math, or are you just pulling my leg?

- Maha Vailo

Math is my Kroptonite. :doh:

Tobin Dax
2008-Feb-10, 04:55 AM
Math is my Kroptonite. :doh:
Let me help: A square mile is: (1 mile) x (1 mile) = 1 mile2
You're welcome. :D

Noclevername
2008-Feb-10, 04:59 AM
Let me help: A square mile is: (1 mile) x (1 mile) = 1 mile2
You're welcome. :D

:razz:

Ara Pacis
2008-Feb-10, 08:44 AM
What's wrong with alien ships slipping sideways when they get fatally damaged? Most of our aircraft don't fall straight down when damaged. :-)

suntrack2
2008-Feb-10, 05:06 PM
What's wrong with alien ships slipping sideways when they get fatally damaged? Most of our aircraft don't fall straight down when damaged. :-)


Aha, its a nice question Ara Pacis, I think all the aircrafts falling on the earth goes speedily to get damaged because speed is the problem for them, secondly the gravity also concerns for them. and I think the aliens aircraft first tests the earth gravity pools before they are colapsing on the earth, may be they have that technology, and in any movie like the same story is greatly highlight the "movie shots".

Tobin Dax
2008-Feb-10, 06:22 PM
What's wrong with alien ships slipping sideways when they get fatally damaged? Most of our aircraft don't fall straight down when damaged. :-)
Seriously. Those ships have to be moving thousands of miles per hour to stay above the cities as Earth rotates. When their engines stop, they'll fall the other way! :liar:

HenrikOlsen
2008-Feb-11, 02:57 AM
For troposphere temperature and what would happen with air brought down here, see here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troposphere#Temperature).
Summary:
In stable weather, the temperature change with height is fairly close to the temperature resulting from an adiabatic pressure change, which means that if you take the air from the troposphere and brings it down here, the change in pressure would result in the air being about the same temperature as the air was down here already.

For back of the envelope calculations, raise the temperature by 6.5 °C for every 1 km you lower the air.

ToSeek
2008-Apr-05, 11:58 PM
Physics in the realm of Hollywoodland! (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23943370)


Catch cinema's most mind-boggling moments in scientific inaccuracy

10 examples are given, some from unexpected (to me, at least) sources.

Moose
2008-Apr-06, 02:07 AM
Three of them were cited as being "right". Cop-out. There are lots of movies with bad movie physics, and they missed the whopper: the only thing The Core got right was that the Earth has one.

SkepticJ
2008-Apr-06, 03:47 AM
Three of them were cited as being "right".

What's the third one? Faraday cage in Enemy of the State and artificial gravity in 2001.

KaiYeves
2008-Apr-06, 06:01 PM
As the BA said, the only thing Armegedon got right was that there are asteroids in space.

Moose
2008-Apr-06, 06:59 PM
What's the third one? Faraday cage in Enemy of the State and artificial gravity in 2001.

My mistake. I'd over-thought and concluded I'd counted three. I hadn't. I should have double-checked before posting. I think I'd been thinking that "sounds in space" deserved a pass. Yeah, it's bad physics, but soundless space is difficult for filmmakers to pull off convincingly. It doesn't "feel" natural to audiences.

To the best of my knowledge, only two films ever pulled it off (2001 and Serenity). And the neat thing is that the first post-title shot of Serenity had it silent in space and making engine noise of a sort upon hitting atmo.

Heck, even From the Earth to the Moon (Episodes 1 and 4 off the top of my head, possibly others) had noise emitting from the capsules on orbital camera-passes.

Daffy
2008-Apr-06, 07:19 PM
And yet most people on this board love Star Wars and Star Trek.

Why single out ID4 for its bad physics? It was an entertaining--albeit silly---story. OK...and that was different from the others, how?

Delvo
2008-Apr-06, 09:02 PM
I wonder why there are so many of these things about the physics of science fiction shows and none about the bad science of the present in shows set in the present...

Moose
2008-Apr-06, 09:10 PM
It depends mainly on how big the plot holes are.

Introducing a successful 0-day escalation of privilege attack on an unfamiliar alien wi-fi network using a mac laptop is not a forgivable plot hole.

Now, had there been a scene where Goldblum's character got a hold of protocol specs that had been reverse-engineered from the crashed alien scout, where it turns out many of our current networking techniques were derived from this data, and that the NSA (or something) actually managed to recover or reproduce a working Alien-C emulator/interpretor, and that the Area-51 research had uncovered a subtle but major broken-by-design unsolved flaw such that Goldblum was able to implement a quick-and-dirty Hail-Mary exploit that actually worked because the Aliens were too cheap to get a competent network security admin, even though the exploit was covered in security bulletin 992-BC4348-H...

I can buy fantasy science if they don't try to explain it too closely. I can't buy unnecessarily thick IT hand-waving. I suspect other BAUT professionals feel similarly about their own areas of study.

And the dog. Oh, my, the dog.

Actually, while I pick on the bad-science rather mercilessly, ID4 wasn't all that terrible a movie. It was only lame when it got unnecessarily jingoistic.

Chip
2008-Apr-06, 10:14 PM
...I think I'd been thinking that "sounds in space" deserved a pass. Yeah, it's bad physics, but soundless space is difficult for filmmakers to pull off convincingly. It doesn't "feel" natural to audiences....

Also, there is an accepted aesthetic about sound in films that can sometimes be overlooked when critiquing sound in space. In a non-science fiction movie set on Earth, it is perfectly acceptable to let the audience know what sounds are taking place divorced from the scene. Example: Two people get in a car while talking and the conversation inside the car is clearly heard close up, while on the screen we visually see only an exterior long-shot of the car driving away.

A clever SciFi film maker can start with the sounds of the "phasers" firing as heard within the ship and cut to the outside, allowing sounds to flow over the exterior space scene. Psychologically we're seeing outside while hearing inside. (Though it might also be very dramatic to cut to dead silence.) In "2001" Stanley Kubrick lets us hear breathing inside the spacesuits while seeing the crew members from the outside.

But its also true that a lot of SciFi movies simply proceed as if sound occurred in space, especially if explosions go off.

In one episode of STNG they show a Starship being destroyed with its outer skin blowing off and the ship fragmenting as seen from the Enterprise view screen and the whole sequence is covered by music rather than sound effects. Babylon 5 occasionally did it that way too.

Krel
2008-Apr-06, 11:30 PM
M
To the best of my knowledge, only two films ever pulled it off (2001 and Serenity). And the neat thing is that the first post-title shot of Serenity had it silent in space and making engine noise of a sort upon hitting atmo.

Heck, even From the Earth to the Moon (Episodes 1 and 4 off the top of my head, possibly others) had noise emitting from the capsules on orbital camera-passes.

There was a Hammer, Warner Bros. film named "Moon Zero Two" from 69, or 70. It was advertised as the first space western, but it follow the scientific laws pretty closely. There were only one, or two scenes with sound in the vacuum, and those could be forgiven. Instead of sound, they used music cues, and it was pretty effective. I keep waiting for a dvd release, but so far no joy.

David.

Daffy
2008-Apr-07, 02:15 PM
It depends mainly on how big the plot holes are.

Introducing a successful 0-day escalation of privilege attack on an unfamiliar alien wi-fi network using a mac laptop is not a forgivable plot hole.

And a "Death Star" the size of a "small moon" is forgivable? Not to mention blowing up a planet so thoroughly all the pieces escape the gravity well?

And don't get me talking about Obi-Wan---a supposedly enlightened, highly moral guy---leaving Anakin to die slowly and horribly, lying next to lava with several limbs missing, and on fire. No wonder the guy was ****ed off! :)

Again, my only point is why single out ID4?

NEOWatcher
2008-Apr-07, 02:16 PM
And yet most people on this board love Star Wars and Star Trek.
Why single out ID4 for its bad physics? It was an entertaining--albeit silly---story. OK...and that was different from the others, how?
Yes; I enjoyed ID4 immensely, but (to me) the movie was more about the conflict than it was about the science. In the spirit of this thread though, we are talking scientific realism. ID4 has some biggies.

SW? Science fantasy... It's not a movie you go into expecting realism because it's not about our future, it's about imagination. That gives it a lot more leeway.

ST? They get enough right to offset the wrong, although we love to pick on it anyway.

I gauge it on a few factors. When I say "Oh, come now", there is a period of time my mind takes to get back in the story.

If the story is good, it takes a shorter amount of time to get back into it.
If the acting is good, the story is improved, therefore easier to get absorbed.
If the science is good, there's more story time in between.
Good is the amount of story time I get.

Daffy
2008-Apr-07, 03:06 PM
Yes; I enjoyed ID4 immensely, but (to me) the movie was more about the conflict than it was about the science. In the spirit of this thread though, we are talking scientific realism. ID4 has some biggies.

SW? Science fantasy... It's not a movie you go into expecting realism because it's not about our future, it's about imagination. That gives it a lot more leeway.

ST? They get enough right to offset the wrong, although we love to pick on it anyway.

I gauge it on a few factors. When I say "Oh, come now", there is a period of time my mind takes to get back in the story.

If the story is good, it takes a shorter amount of time to get back into it.
If the acting is good, the story is improved, therefore easier to get absorbed.
If the science is good, there's more story time in between.
Good is the amount of story time I get.

Don't get me wrong...I like Star Trek and (some of) Star Wars. It is interesting, though: the one Star Trek that made an attempt to be real science fiction (even bringing in Isaac Asimov as an adviser) was STMP. And that is the only most universally slammed, including on this board.

The science in ID4 was worse than in Star Trek III?

Moose
2008-Apr-07, 04:40 PM
And a "Death Star" the size of a "small moon" is forgivable? Not to mention blowing up a planet so thoroughly all the pieces escape the gravity well?

Star Wars is science fantasy ("space opera"), not science fiction. Different rules apply. FTL, light sabers and The Force, the death star, AI droids; science fantasy, like steampunk, use technology as magic.

The harder the science fiction, the less speculation and handwaving is permitted. ID4 isn't science fantasy, so a different, higher, standard applies. So does Armageddon, Deep Impact, The Core, 2001, Enemy of the State, Blade Runner, etc.

In any case, while I don't buy a superlaser, no matter how powerful, breaking it down into a loose cloud of debris like the result of a massive planetary collision would, the debris in that cloud wouldn't necessarily need escape velocity from itself to form what we saw. Gravity would eventually collapse that cloud back into enough of a planet to sweep out the ring that would probably form first.


And don't get me talking about Obi-Wan---a supposedly enlightened, highly moral guy---leaving Anakin to die slowly and horribly, lying next to lava with several limbs missing, and on fire. No wonder the guy was ****ed off! :)

Obi-Wan is a popular character, but he doesn't get a free ride here. All these things have been discussed at length in the past.

For what it's worth, while I genuinely like (Sir) Alec Guinness's Obi-Wan, I see him (and especially Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan) as an example of what not to do when training Jedi.


Again, my only point is why single out ID4?

That's a bit of a strawman. Who's singling out or ignoring anything?

SMaL has hundreds of threads discussing movies with bad science. The Core and Armageddon both get ripped on way more than ID4 ever did. Not wanting to cover old ground in every single thread does not constitute either the singling out of a movie or the ignoring of another.

Gillianren
2008-Apr-07, 05:44 PM
Don't get me wrong...I like Star Trek and (some of) Star Wars. It is interesting, though: the one Star Trek that made an attempt to be real science fiction (even bringing in Isaac Asimov as an adviser) was STMP. And that is the only most universally slammed, including on this board.

I don't know about the science, but the reason I'll cheerfully slam on STMP is that it was bad. Acting . . . well, Leonard Nimoy is quite a talented guy, when he's got a decent script under him; I believe some of the others are, as well, though I've not really seen most of them in anything else, or at least not in anything else good. (Night of the Lepus, anyone?) The writing, however, does not exactly inspire quality acting out of those who can provide it. And then, there's William Shatner.

I haven't seen a single movie with any major level of science in it get mentioned here without having that science picked on, and frankly, that's great. It proves that we're thinking, and it proves that there are some people for whom the extra effort is worth it. We like Firefly/Serenity, for example, but it doesn't get a free pass, either. Nothing does here. And maybe if enough of us talk about this sort of thing, they'll think before making movies with such gaping (if you know what you're talking about) plot holes, and what's wrong with that?

NEOWatcher
2008-Apr-07, 06:24 PM
I'll cheerfully slam on STMP is that it was bad. Acting . . . well, Leonard Nimoy is quite a talented guy, when he's got a decent script under him;
It was very slow. It wasn't really a bad story, but there wasn't enough there to fill a feature film.

And Spock in the movie was way too robotic. I don't know why they did that, but they completely stripped the character's personality from him.


As far as 2001. A few things made me get and watch it: I have a better understanding of movie physics. I have a new Widescreen to appreciate it with. I finally bought the DVD. And, primarily, I don't remember most of it.

As presenting a story... It was horrible.
As special effects, and realistic science...Incredible.

But the OP story says "Historically"... It's true, they were wrong (or at least way too highly optimistic)

Jason
2008-Apr-07, 06:54 PM
And Spock in the movie was way too robotic. I don't know why they did that, but they completely stripped the character's personality from him.That was actually a a pretty major character arc in the movie - Spock had apparently decided, after the conclusion of the five year mission, to completely suppress his emotions with the Vulcan discipline of Kolinahr. When he mind-melded with V'ger, he realized that V'ger had exactly what he had been trying to acheive, and that V'ger itself needed more. He realized that logic by itself was insufficient, and that emotionlessness was "sterile". He became more accepting of his human half after that.

Daffy
2008-Apr-07, 07:28 PM
I don't know about the science, but the reason I'll cheerfully slam on STMP is that it was bad. Acting . . . well, Leonard Nimoy is quite a talented guy, when he's got a decent script under him; I believe some of the others are, as well, though I've not really seen most of them in anything else, or at least not in anything else good. (Night of the Lepus, anyone?) The writing, however, does not exactly inspire quality acting out of those who can provide it. And then, there's William Shatner.

I haven't seen a single movie with any major level of science in it get mentioned here without having that science picked on, and frankly, that's great. It proves that we're thinking, and it proves that there are some people for whom the extra effort is worth it. We like Firefly/Serenity, for example, but it doesn't get a free pass, either. Nothing does here. And maybe if enough of us talk about this sort of thing, they'll think before making movies with such gaping (if you know what you're talking about) plot holes, and what's wrong with that?

I urge you to see the director's cut of STMP. If you still hate, well, that's that. I quite like that version, though.

Who said ID4 is not science fantasy?

NEOWatcher
2008-Apr-07, 07:48 PM
That was actually a a pretty major character arc in the movie - ...
Yes; I understand that, but they could have done it with some inflection in his voice. He can do a very good stern logical character without sounding like a robot.

HenrikOlsen
2008-Apr-08, 11:57 AM
As far as 2001. A few things made me get and watch it: I have a better understanding of movie physics. I have a new Widescreen to appreciate it with. I finally bought the DVD. And, primarily, I don't remember most of it.

As presenting a story... It was horrible.
As special effects, and realistic science...Incredible.
They're showing 2001 in a cinema nearby, 70mm film on a 51'x24' screen, with a THX certified sound system.

I'm definitely thinking hard about going.

They're doing Lawrence of Arabia as well.

Gillianren
2008-Apr-08, 04:58 PM
They're showing 2001 in a cinema nearby, 70mm film on a 51'x24' screen, with a THX certified sound system.

I'm definitely thinking hard about going.

They're doing Lawrence of Arabia as well.

I'd go. If it weren't, you know, a bit too far away for me.

Jason
2008-Apr-08, 05:39 PM
I would love to see those two on a really big screen.

Ilya
2008-Apr-08, 06:43 PM
And don't get me talking about Obi-Wan---a supposedly enlightened, highly moral guy---leaving Anakin to die slowly and horribly, lying next to lava with several limbs missing, and on fire. No wonder the guy was ****ed off! :)


Both he and Yoda also lied like weasels to Luke about his history. And the entire Jedi Council pursued short-sighted and self-serving policies. By the time "Revenge of the Sith" came out, it was pretty obvious to me that Jedi are moral mainly by their own definitions.

Jason
2008-Apr-08, 07:25 PM
Kind of like the Klingons, then.
I'm not sure if Yoda ever lied about Luke's background - Obi-Wan had already done his dirty work for him. He might have evaded it a bit.

Daffy
2008-Apr-08, 10:39 PM
Kind of like the Klingons, then.
I'm not sure if Yoda ever lied about Luke's background - Obi-Wan had already done his dirty work for him. He might have evaded it a bit.

A lie by omission...not sure that's any better, karma-wise. ;)

XweAponX
2008-Apr-09, 12:38 AM
Of course the "New" alien invasions are not being done on the Brobdingnagian scale of ID-4 but on the microscopic scale of films like "I am Legend" (Not really an invasion but results similar) and "The Invasion" retelling of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Between I am Legend and The Invasion I found Will Smiths acting, mostly swallowable, but the bad CGI ruined the film for me... The Invasion however, not only had Jeffery Wright in a great part, but also, a believable premise: An intelligent organism with a biological "width" of just a couple of cells being able to rewrite the Genome. Invasion wise a great premise, but the story was too easily "won by humans" - Those bas____ds would have been a lot harder to deal with.

Noclevername
2008-Apr-11, 05:38 AM
Both he and Yoda also lied like weasels to Luke about his history. And the entire Jedi Council pursued short-sighted and self-serving policies. By the time "Revenge of the Sith" came out, it was pretty obvious to me that Jedi are moral mainly by their own definitions.

Yeah, but those were all retcons (except OBW's big lie about Vader). When the first trilogy came out, all the things Yoda said were true. They only became false when Lucas tacked such a crappy, convoluted history onto it.

ADDED: For that matter, Obi-Wan told the truth in the first film, until the second film made him a liar.

Jason
2008-Apr-11, 03:01 PM
Yoda was being evasive. When Yoda is introduced in Empire Strikes Back he calls Vader "Obi-Wan's apprentice" to Luke knowing full well that he is Luke's father.

Daffy
2008-Apr-11, 04:41 PM
Yeah, but those were all retcons (except OBW's big lie about Vader). When the first trilogy came out, all the things Yoda said were true. They only became false when Lucas tacked such a crappy, convoluted history onto it.

ADDED: For that matter, Obi-Wan told the truth in the first film, until the second film made him a liar.

George Lucas' claim that he had the whole story laid out from the beginning is one of the greatest whoppers I have ever heard.

Jason
2008-Apr-11, 05:08 PM
There are a few signs in Star Wars that Vader was Luke's father. Owen's statement that he's afraid Luke is too much like his father is probably the best example.
I very much doubt that Leia was always intended to be his sister, however.

Daffy
2008-Apr-11, 07:19 PM
There are a few signs in Star Wars that Vader was Luke's father. Owen's statement that he's afraid Luke is too much like his father is probably the best example.
I very much doubt that Leia was always intended to be his sister, however.

I question the father thing, too. When I first heard that, it sounded to me more like Owen was referring to a daredevil rather than ultimate evil. Still does.

Jason
2008-Apr-11, 07:51 PM
Which raises the question, did Owen know that Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader? Or did Obi-Wan lie to he and Beru too?

Moose
2008-Apr-11, 07:57 PM
Obi-Wan very likely glossed it over. Owen and Beru might not have agreed to take Luke had they known Vader might find out. What they didn't know likely wouldn't be remarked upon.

Daffy
2008-Apr-11, 08:08 PM
Which raises the question, did Owen know that Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader? Or did Obi-Wan lie to he and Beru too?

Well, as I said, that whole bit sounded to me like Luke's father was a daredevil who came to a tragic end. Not a daredevil who became Satan incarnate. If that were the case, I really can't imagine Owen being so blase about the whole thing. Or Obi Wan neglecting to mention it in passing to Owen and Beru.

"Yeah, yeah, Luke, your real father is Darth Vader who murders millions of people when he feels cranky. Shut up and lube the vaporators, boy; he'd never bother us here."

KaiYeves
2008-Apr-13, 07:31 PM
According to one of the sourcebooks, Obi-Wan just told them something like "This is Anakin's son, both his parents are dead, he needs your protection."

Noclevername
2008-Apr-13, 11:54 PM
Or Obi Wan neglecting to mention it in passing to Owen and Beru.

After blatantly lying about it to Luke and then passing it off as a "certain point of view"? Yeah, a phony one!

Moose
2008-Apr-14, 12:00 PM
Sometimes a person isn't ready for the whole truth. It would not have been to Luke's benefit to have heard cold, in Ben's home, that his father is a Sith Lord, the Emperor's right hand, and responsible for war crimes and acts of genocide including being the direct cause of the death of his wife, Luke's mother.

Not without a great deal of preparation in any case.

What Ben said was true enough, and the basis for Luke's future belief that Vader was redeemable. Had Luke not been able to hold his image of "the greatest starpilot in the galaxy", he would never have been able to see the humanity in Vader.

Think about it: there are few who would argue today that a certain Herr of the Hitler family might have been turned from his path or redeemed afterwards. That's mainly because we can't imagine him ever having been any different. Someone who knew him as a "starving artist" might be able to say in perfect (unpopular) sincerity that Young Adolph hadn't always been like that, that as a lad, he used to help his elderly neighbors bring in the groceries, or some such, and that he'd had such promise had he only been granted the opportunity to improve his art, etc...

Ben's "certain point of view" was also for our benefit. Vader not only had to be redeemable in Luke's eyes, but in our eyes too. And for that to happen, we had to be able to imagine Vader as once having been a dashing, heroic character who fell to the dark side. There was no such possibility of redemption in the Emperor, who was cast as a villain through-and-through.

SeanF
2008-Apr-14, 02:10 PM
I have my doubts that Lucas intended for Vader to be Luke's father all along - although it is interesting that "Vader" is the Dutch word for "father" - but I do believe that he had more story already in mind than what was told in the first movie.

I mean, it just doesn't make sense from a story-telling point of view to establish that your hero's father was killed by your villain, and then not have the hero and villain ever even meet each other.

Jason
2008-Apr-14, 03:44 PM
Ben's "certain point of view" was also for our benefit. Vader not only had to be redeemable in Luke's eyes, but in our eyes too. And for that to happen, we had to be able to imagine Vader as once having been a dashing, heroic character who fell to the dark side. There was no such possibility of redemption in the Emperor, who was cast as a villain through-and-through.
I agree that Luke probably wasn't ready to hear the whole story, but Ben outright lied. He could have left it at something like "he was betrayed by Darth Vader. I will tell you the whole story sometime," and left out the "murdered" lie.
And Ben didn't lie to Luke because he thought Vader could be redeemed - redeeming Vader was Luke's idea. Ben and Yoda both seemed to think that Vader needed to be destroyed.

Moose
2008-Apr-14, 04:53 PM
Here's the problem with discussing these things: the story continuity flows in one direction, but the writing was essentially one long retcon. For the purposes of this discussion, assume (unless I explicitly say otherwise) that I'm arguing from the overall story canon, not the retcon.

Yoda never said a thing about "destroyed". The word he used was "confronted".

Ben's training said that anybody can be redeemed, and Ben believed it right up to the moment Vader lashed out at Padme. I'm not so sure he believed it afterwards.

Still, Yoda believed it. (And there was nobody else to send. Yoda was on his deathbed afer all. It was time for the Hail Mary.) Why else would he send someone who was barely an apprentice, not really qualified to be taken on as a Padawan to face Vader (and presumably the Emperor), two very nasty, very experienced Sith Lords? Especially since the entire Jedi Order was utterly unable to take down either Palpatine or Skywalker.

Luke was a sacrificial lamb, and Leia was next on the spit. Anakin's children were a wedge issue to either provoke the relatively harmless Vader into killing the Emperor, force the Emperor to destroy Vader (or cause Vader to self-destruct) and be forced to do his own dirty work, where he'd be easier to get at in transit.

Jason
2008-Apr-14, 06:54 PM
Yoda might have had something different in mind, but Ben definitely thought Vader should be destroyed:
Ben: "He's more machine now than man. Twisted and evil."
Luke: "I can't do it, Ben. I can't kill my own father."
Ben: "Then the Emperor has already won. You were our only hope."

Moose
2008-Apr-14, 10:54 PM
Yep, that's true. As I said, I don't think Ben believed in Vader's redemption, not after Anakin assaulted Padme.

Yoda, on the other hand, had had plenty of time in exile to understand what the prophesy really meant. Anakin would bring balance to the force by wiping out both sides. And if Yoda believed in redemption, and felt he'd come to understand the prophesy, it seems reasonable to conclude he'd have figured out how to provoke Vader, by prodding Anakin's earlier failure. I don't think he expected Luke to survive.