2.6.06

insultingly stupid movie physics

If you’ve ever had your doubts about the viability of technical feats and contentions in Hollywood films, this site will come as a huge and long overdue relief. It has reviewed a dozen or so blockbusters, with a bias towards physical credibility.

This may sound quite tedious, but it is surprisingly entertaining, and quite refreshing thanks its critical point of entry.

The Core is, not surprisingly, their pick as the worst physics movie ever. If you’ve had the misfortune of watching this classic, you’ll know it’s about a group of “terronauts” who drill through to the core of the earth in a heroic attempt to get it to spin again. I shit you not.


Keyes proceeds to demonstrate the effects of losing the magnetic field by lighting the aerosol from a can of hair spray and flaming a peach representing Earth. He makes his explanation simplistic since he's talking to military brass who can't grasp complexity, even though they lead one of the most complex and high tech organizations in the world.

The Matrix also takes a pounding, in the course of which the following interesting titbit is disclosed:

It's no great surprise that The Matrix has not just become a popular movie but also a somewhat popular insanity defence. According to Stephen Kiehl of SunSpot.net "the 1999 film has been used, with some success, in at least ... three ... murder cases in which young defendants attempted to justify their crimes with allusions to the movie's philosophy that the world people live in is only a dream sequence controlled by a computer. Violence is condoned as a way to get out of the fake, oppressive world of The Matrix." This argument is now being used in yet a fourth case, that of sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo.

There's a generic bad movie physics section which deals with recurring mistakes in Hollywood films. Some of these things I have always assumed are realistic. Imagine my shock when I learnt that laserbeams on sniperguns are actually completely unnecessary:

When a sniper looks through the telescopic sight on his rifle, he knows where the bullet is going to go relative to the crosshairs. Adding a laserbeam would do nothing except tip off the victim that he's about to be shot and give him time to duck before the bullet arrived.

2 comments:

hein said...

I recently sat through "What the bleep do we know". Now that was a piece of shit. Walk away. It was like watching pornography

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