Earlier this week, we told you about how scientists are trying to ruin our science fiction fun by denying us the possibility of safe, speedy intergalactic travel. It turns out that was only the beginning of what appears to be an ongoing attack on the film-going audience, a vicious assault that plans to deprive us of fantasy and replace it with textbook fact. The scientists are here for your movies. And if one movie falls, others will fall and soon enough, all of us will be victim to cold hard realism. Films will obey the rules of physics. All science will be plausible. Things will make sense.
Cats and dogs, living together! Mass hysteria!
Removing tongue from cheek. The Guardian has an interesting piece about Sidney Perkowitz, a physics professor who has compiled a list of "guidelines" that he believes Hollywood should follow when making science fiction films. Perkowitz is a member of the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a group that advises films and TV shows on their scientific accuracy and he apparently takes it very personally when a film disgraces science, saying that Starship Troopers' giant bugs would "collapse under their own weight" and that audiences hated The Core because of its preposterous science.
A few quick notes for Mr. Perkowitz:
1. Giant bugs are awesome. Giant bugs trump science.
2. I think audiences hated The Core for a lot more than wonky science.
Seriously, though, I have to admire what Perkowitz is up to here. Anyone with any sort of education (or anyone who has experienced a little thing we like to call "gravity") knows how often movies defy the way the world works. Wouldn't realism be a nice change of pace, actually?
He is not alone on his quest, with Dustin Hoffman and screenwriter Larence Kasdan backing his cause. I wish the full guidelines were available to read, but from what I can gather, Perkowitz is fine with a film having one or two scientific inaccuracies, he just wants to see things more grounded than they already are.
Which brings up the final little debate we can have on the subject. Should Hollywood strive to be more accurate in its science fiction? Should we embrace "hard" sci-fi? Will you miss the fantastical elements of films like Star Wars, where technology existed to further a plot and didn't have to be realistic? How were the heavy elements from iron to uranium made? Where do ultrahigh-energy particles come from? Is a new theory of light and matter needed to explain what happens at very high energies and temperatures?
Someone should make a movie and let us know.
(Some science stolen from Discover Magazine)