Monday, May 16, 2005

Weekend Movie Roundup

Not too much this weekend. Mostly just clearing space off the TiVo.

Richard III: Very nice. Ian McKellen is predictably wonderful in the role. The "updated setting" works, for the most part. It's not as far out as, say, Titus, but the vaguely fascist trappings of Richard's reign do sort of underline some of the things Shakespeare has to say about him. This would also make a good double-bill with Looking for Richard.

The Core: Ranks right up there with Supernova among Movies To Avoid, with laughably bad science, formulaic and predictable plot, flat characters, etc. While watching this, I came up with a phrase to describe this kind of movie: It has an ablative cast of characters - most of them exist solely to die in one way or another, so that the one or two main characters can live happily ever after, while still allowing the movie to have a decent body count. My particular favorite bit in this movie, though, is the notion that they are going to start the liquid outer core of the Earth spinning again by detonating five 200-megaton bombs. Do you know what a 200-megaton bomb would do to the Earth's core? Well, you know what it feels like when a gnat lands on your arm? (That "bad physics" page estimates the normal rotational energy of the outer core as the equivalent of about 32,000 200-megaton bombs...) Though a close second has to be the EVA they do: Emerging in their shiny-cloth spacesuits into the tens-of-thousands-of-pounds-per-square-inch pressure, one announces, "It's a good thing the suits can withstand the pressure." Yeah, you'd almost think it would take some sort of rigid suit design to stand up under all that. Oh, and then there's the bit where they increase the explosive yield of their 200-megaton bomb by setting some plutonium next to it... and.... I'd better just stop now.


Joseph said...

"The Core" has long held a low place among our group as the archetypical "bad science" movie, to the point where whenever anyone tries to explain anything of a scientific nature, someone invariably intones "say this peach is the earth" while pantomiming holding a fruit aloft.

3XHAR said...

I’d like to add “Armageddon” and “The Day After” as examples of bad science and ablative movies. When watching “Armageddon” on one of our bad movie nights we all marveled when the explosions stopped, the camera panned to a dead astronaut… and nobody in our crew could tell how the guy died or who he was. Just some throw away character to illustrate the danger the primary actors were in. Also in “Armageddon”: Steve Buscemi exhibits symptoms of ‘space madness’ when he begins randomly firing the gattling gun the space men brought with them to destroy the asteroid. The gattling gun. What better use of payload space could there be to stop the space rock than a machine gun?

And “The Day After”… where do you even begin on that one? Just awful.

Thaa Reverend said...

An ablative cast...excellent description.

The EVA suits were obviously made of indestructibidium, DUH.

You wouldn't believe what us Madison folk had to go through to get DJ to sit and watch The Core. He bitched all the way through, and I don't think he'll ever forgive us for ambushing him like we did.

My favorite bit from the movie is exclaiming "How could that happen!?" in my best stupid military leader voice.

Oh, a peach, right. I forgot. Thank you, Dr. Egghead. It's all very clear now.