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Awake In The Dark
What you're watching these days on the Big Screen and the Small Screen.


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Old August 2nd, 2006, 12:24 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Jones
I referenced Escape from LA in the first post....as a sort of inspiration to start this whole thread in the first place. Something about the surfing scene that was so disastrously comical made it look like Kurt and Peter were inches away from breaking out into some type of Frankie and Annette duet. It was just too freakin' funny.
-Jon
I think that was the point. It was self-parody.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 05:33 AM   #32
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JAWS!!!!! The shark looks so FAKE. Thatís probably why it isnít seen until the last 30 minutes.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 07:19 AM   #33
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with jaws they were lucky, the shark did look really bad. But it was breaking down so often that they couldn't use it alot acttually, speilburgo claimed he didn't use it duee to his maser film skills (yeah right). But by not useing the shark so much, the movie holds up 9the cheap shark robot would date the movie big time)
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Old September 15th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #34
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Star Wars epidodes 1-3.
Geoge Lucas ruined everything.
God I hate that stupid man
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Old September 15th, 2006, 07:54 PM   #35
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honesty, thats what this web board is all about.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 01:13 PM   #36
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Old September 17th, 2006, 05:45 PM   #37
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On physics in space movies...

Star Wars physics, Star Trek physics, Serenitiy physics, Mission to Mars physics, The Red Planet physics, Lost In Space physics, Armageddon physics... the list goes on and on, are all completely ridiculous.

The only movies that stand out in my mind as having some accurate astrophysics are 2001 and Apollo 13.

It's pointless to nitpick about a single phaser from the old Star Treck or the mechanics in the new Star Wars' when the physics are absolutely absurd on a much more fundamental level.

Basically, any film in which a spacecraft's engines are running to keep it moving (as though it were a car), are as unrealistic as dropping an apple and having it fall up.

You can't push a spaceships stick left, and have the ship bank and actually fly in that direction as though it were a plane.

Gahh.

Thing like this, I believe, are one reason popular culture has so little concept of science. It's amazing how few people even have a basic concept of scale (duh... which is bigger, the sun or the moon? Hmm... they both take up the same portion of the sky, so they must be the same size! duuhhh...)

On a slightly different note, did anyone see in the new Poseidon Adventure the diesel fuel spilling through the theatre, or whatever it was? The camera tilted to follow it down as it fell through the room which made the liquid not move relative to the camera... so it looked like a drawing of a blob of water which was just stretched in photoshop. It absolutely looked like a cartoon... I was embarrased for the people who made the movie.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 11:45 PM   #38
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Its an endemic problem in scifi TV and film.

I saw an episode of a show called John Doh!, OK, it wasn't called that but it should have been.

It starts with the abduction of people by a classic bad guy with chloroform. In a full size welding tank on wheels with the word 'chloroform' stenciled on the side. Good old John, who is tracking down the missing people, happens to know everything, except who he is and where he came from and with the aid of his vast knowledge tracks them down to an abandoned warehouse. Apparently this psycho bad guy lost his entire family in an accident and is abducting the perfect members to replace them, where he plans to keep them all locked up and live like a family happily ever after. The inner door where the psycho is keeping the people is locked and on discovery, fearing that his new family is going to be taken away from him, he decides to kill everyone by opening the valve on the welding tank full of 'chloroform'. Fortunately for them, John knows everything, and uses his lighter on the sprinkler above his head which sets off all the sprinklers in the building including the ones in the locked room. John explains that since chloroform is soluble in water, that this will remove it from the air. Our bad guy apparently knows this too and takes hold of the mask on the end of hose, straps it to his face and begins breathing heavily, our guy John and sidekick break into the room just after our psycho expires. He has fallen on his sword so to speak and left no loose ends or anything that might creep over into the next episode, like a trial.

Where can you even begin?

You have the absurdity of someone lugging round a welding tank in order to abduct people, which in the real world would weigh more than a person, to contain an anaesthetic that isn't actually a gas. Chloroform is a liquid, you put it on a cloth and hold it over someones mouth and nose, they breath vapours through it and lose consciousness - at a very significant risk of brain damage which is why it is no longer used. The Simpsons gets this right, Buffy the vampire slayer gets this right, apparently this is too much to double check in google for an author who's major character is an infallible expert on everything. What we do get are quips about the number of dimples on a golf ball that could have come from '1001 amazing facts'. We have the sprinklers, apparently left fully working and the water to them switched on in an abandoned factory and the usual bad cliche that if one goes off they all do. Its not like you'd only want the water to fall on the fire itself, or that water damage could cost more than the actual fire damage now is it? And then we have the whole chloroform being soluable in water thing, which it isn't, and nitrous oxide, the anaesthetic gas that does come in large tanks and is still used isn't soluable in water either.

There is amazingly poor level of science here, and from an author with the audacity to write in a character that 'knows everything' but it goes beyond science. This is some of the worst plot design of anything I've ever seen. The bad guy trying to kill his 'family' with something that has only put them to sleep before, and then conveniently killing himself with a short dose of the same. Throughout the series, which I have seen a few episodes, John Doh! meets a series of experts, policemen, detectives, forensics and ends up showing them how to do their job. At one point John, who is colourblind, has to stand in front of a line of strippers and work out what colour underwear they are wearing, with dialog like (as close as I can remember) 'and the lace are only in blue or pink, but pink is only available in a size 9 and 12 which means this must be blue', if he gets the answer wrong a psycho bad guy (a different psycho bad guy, they come in six packs), who set this up to test him, will set off a bomb by remote control. The whole program is rotten to the core, and viewers lap it up.

What most 'scifi' viewers actually want isn't scifi, its just 'scifi cult', almost like a religious cult, a safe, morally unambiguous environment for them to lose themselves in and become part of by memorizing trivial details. Almost all trek is as badly written in terms of story as it is with science. The outline is, Humans get space travel, explore the universe meet aliens who by implication have been exploring space for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years before us and some of whom have godlike power, and morally lecture them into being better beings. Always a thinly disguised lesson by the author directly to the audience on how simple moral choices can be if you always 'do the right thing' and it will always turn out right in the end.

Serenity is a badly cliched western in space. One episode of the series I saw started off introducing us to Melinda Clarke. Now Melinda has a bit of a history with scifi/fantasy appearances. She was in the movie Spawn as a baddie and was killed off early on. She was in 'Return of the living dead III' as a good Zombie and ends up killed off. She was in the series Enterprise as a goodie and was killed off, in Tremors she was a baddie and was killed off. She was in Charmed as a baddie and was killed off. So when she turns up as a tough but honest prostitute in Firefly protecting her land and a child from the bad guys, its pretty obvious that she's going to be killed off and that this is the event that's going to provide the justification to blast the leader of the bad guys into tiny pieces. I haven't seen Firefly the movie, the trailer indicated that chief baddie is a token ethnic type with an upper class English accent who murders children. With writing this unsubtle and obvious I don't think its really worth picking out science flaws.

I saw a movie fairly recently about a spaceship that loses its oxygen tanks and communication dishes, whereupon the captain leaves in the only escape pod, but still has everything else working, water, power, propulsion and the crew spend the rest of film killing each other so they can be the one that survives with what oxygen remains in the ship. The fact that water can be split into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity does not occur to anyone and by the end of the film I would have been willing to go back in time to when the writer was a baby and shake him to death. The thing is, the entire film was badly written, not just the science, with the captain having advanced notice of the meteorite but being unable to turn the ship, he calls his lawyer to make sure he will not be personally liable and then leaves in the pod. He gets his deserts because the call to his lawyer was recorded. The acting was more than fair, the make up and special fx were decent, directing, sound. It did not scream 'low budget'. Its just written very badly, and pointing this out as just a science flaw would be overlooking so much else.

Probably the only film I've seen with a poor level of science but a really good plot was the Matrix. If you want good scifi you have to read it, pretty much how its always been. It would be nice to change this but the market simply does not care.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 10:04 AM   #39
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I still remember the horrible greenscreen of the surfing in Beach Blanket Bingo. THAT was absolutely the worst effect ;)
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Old September 18th, 2006, 01:10 PM   #40
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I haven't seen Firefly the movie, the trailer indicated that chief baddie is a token ethnic type with an upper class English accent who murders children. With writing this unsubtle and obvious I don't think its really worth picking out science flaws.
Thumbs down from the guy who reviews the movie based upon seeing the trailer.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 01:49 PM   #41
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Nice post, Marvin! BUT, I do have to say that I am a Firefly fan. I thought the "western in space" concept was an excellent/new/quirky idea, and well excecuted. The movie was a perfect end to the series... and I also liked the FX... it's just the physics that stand out.

To enjoy sci-fi I really just have to go into the theatre with a low expectation of the science, and just enjoy the fiction. I've actually found there are two kinds of physicists (my major by the way)... the ones who like Star Trek and the ones who don't. The ones who do basically just take the attitude I just described above, and the ones who don't just cant get over what they know to be true.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 07:54 PM   #42
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Keith,

"Thumbs down from the guy who reviews the movie based upon seeing the trailer."

I gave a one sentence opinion of the material in the trailer based on the material in the trailer. The reference to not having seen the film is indicative that the opinion, which was not even a recommendation of any sort, cannot be generalised to the full movie. If you are under the impression the opinion was meant to cover the movie I said I had not seen, then I suggest the mistake is yours.


Thanks Justin,

I don't have a problem with Firefly in the same way I do with John Doh, or Trek, but what I've seen of Whedons work suggests to me his writing is not suited to the space western genre. Its all very well setting up a battle in terms of good and evil between a slayer and vampires coming up from hell, but the same good vs evil stances fall flat for me for cattle rustlers. He seems to have a George W Bush understanding of right and wrong.

Western in space does not strike me as new and original. My recollection is this was the original premise for Star Wars, and off the top of my head I can think of WestWorld, the Oblivion films and a highly cliched western using only robots called Omega Doom. I liked the Oblivion films, Full moon productions so I barely need to say more, enough to buy a copy and they get away with rather cliched campy fun for me because they simply don't try and explain any science. Most of my objections to bad science is when it is described in great detail to explain away a part of the plot that makes no sense.

Firefly's captain seems to me to be a carbon copy of the character setup for Han Solo. The ship, small fast, designed to zip into trouble and then run away, favored by smugglers, seems to be a cosmetic overhaul of the millennium falcon. I'm pretty much ambivalent to the premise of firefly and the episodes of the series I've seen have failed to set anything on fire for me. Maybe its just because I'm a Brit and I don't 'get' westerns.

Something to try on your Trek physicist friends, hand them a photomultiplier and see if they know what it is or what it does. Physically hand them one don't just ask them. One of the basic building blocks for experimental physics for the past 50 years or more and of the 9 physics graduates I knew only 1 recognised one when handed it. The best from the other eight was one who said 'some sort of valve'. I'm thinking speculations by a trekkie might be worth a listen :) It's also been a major part of movie projectors (the sound pickup) and TV tube camera technology for 70 years or so.

I feel bound to say something relevant to the thread, so since I apparently haven't said it yet, my worst effect is from 'Catwoman', the director is a former CGI supervisor, and the CGI through the whole movie is dire and used constantly, particularly the sequences climbing up walls and buildings. Pitoful.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 09:58 PM   #43
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I love Firefly I would consider myself a Browncoat for sure (fans will know what I'm talking about and If you're not a fan rent the DVD's and watch them in order) but I found the movie a little too "epic" compared to the show more about a grand quest then about the characters.....but anyway some bad FX I have to mention is on my favourite show 24 in Season 4 when Jack finally has the big bad terrorist cornered and hanging from a building the terrorist falls........oh boy it may as well have been a photoshop image of him that they moved down the frame at a way too slow speed.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 03:11 AM   #44
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"We've done the impossible, and that makes us" .... liars.

Sorry, couldn't resist :)
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Old September 20th, 2006, 11:31 PM   #45
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"Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal." ;)
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