Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Turn On Your Love Lava, Turn On Your Lava Light

While I'm in a techie mood: If you also enjoy having new fun by taking the regular fun out of things, I recommend the Intuitor Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics website. Includes reviews of movies based on their physical accuracy, detailed information about why you shouldn't jump or drive through plate glass, and one very telling photograph of cigarettes that were extinguished by soaking them in gasoline.

Definitely make time for the loving, paragraphs-and-paragraphs-long review of their #1 Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics Classic. That would be 2003's The Core, in which a cadre of brave "terranauts" prevent the destruction of mankind by travelling to the center of the earth. A representative sample (though merely a fraction of the whole):
The Virgil [the terranauts' ship] began its journey when it was dropped in the middle of the ocean over the Marianas Trench. This is the deepest part of the ocean and traveling through water is easier than traveling through rock. However, the trench is only about 6.8 miles deep so the distance through water is negligible compared to the total distance of the trip. The Earth's crust is also rather thick in this region since the trench is caused by an oceanic layer sliding under a continental layer of the Earth's crust. If the Virgil could really bore through solid rock with ease then why go to all the trouble of setting it up on a platform in the middle of the ocean for such a questionable advantage?
One of my coworkers mentioned this site at lunch today when I said that the one disbelief I can never, ever suspend when watching movies involves people doing things in or near lava. ("Even if there were a such thing as hobbits, they couldn't stand that close to molten rock.") Given that, it boggles the mind to ponder on a crack team of scientists gamboling in an environment at ludicrously high pressure and at temperatures somewhat warmer than the area directly under the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Anyway, read; learn; "keep in mind that the primary difference in destructive potential between corrosion and an explosion is the reaction rate".


Anonymous danblim said...

I'm curious to see their review of The Prestige.

Suspended belief is a fascinating subject. I couldn't take Forrest Gump largely for that, while Love Actually managed to win me over in the end despite not buying a second of it.

2/22/2007 1:49 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Get with the program, Dan, Forrest Gump actually happened. Didn't you see all the documentary footage they used in that movie?

The movie tic that bothers me a lot is emergency CPR that gets people breathing & alive again within about 15 seconds. One, you're doing it wrong, and two, that's not how it works anyway.

I think character-motive suspension-of-disbelief problems don't give me "This is Not Believable" so much as "This is Written Badly," so I can't think of any examples there.

I would like to see someone take suspension-of-disbelief refusal too far. "You know, everyone loved this movie, but I for one cannot believe that a series of still film images can be shown in rapid enough succession to realistically simulate movement."

"I also refuse to accept that this buttered snack product was originally corn."

2/25/2007 10:54 PM  

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