Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why I Hate Hollywood

I don't hate all of it, of course. You get some good movies every once in a while. This isn't going to be about bland, generic action flicks, cookie-cutter CGI cartoons, craptacular remakes of classics, or any of that in this post. This is about the sorts of ridiculous things people end up believing because they saw it in a movie.

Nothing terribly new in this rant. Fair warning: Lot of TV Tropes links below the fold.

First up: Hollywood Evolution. I even complained about this when it showed up in Star Trek series I watched and enjoyed as a kid. I know there's no such thing as 'evolutionary levels' or any particular direction evolution should go. I wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood is feeding into a lot of Creationists out there who think there are platonic eidolons of 'smart humanoids' that everything's 'supposed' to evolve to. Sooooo...


Thank you, Morbo.

Next: Space. This is a collection of relatively minor complaints, since it's not quite relevant to our everyday lives, yet. The cumulative ignorance annoys me, though. Space is silent. Space flight is not like aerial flight. Firefly got big bonus points with me for depicting space silently. Of course, you end up with a lot of this sort of stuff afflicting Moon Hoaxers. If you haven't read classic Bad Astronomy, I highly recommend it. He's gone over plenty of other stuff that miffed me.

Elements & General Chemistry: 1. We've got a lot of elements on the periodic chart. You've going to have to get creative if you're going to add another. 2. I don't know any green acids. The big ones, hydrochloric and sulfuric are clear. They look just like straight water. Of course, they have to be mixed in water to be acidic.

Nuclear Physics: Blowing up this sort of stuff takes effort.

Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Energy subcategory. I think this is one contributor to all the doomsayers about the LHC. The collisions there involve very little energy or mass. Of course, Hollywood loves to have MacGuffins and such that could blow up planets despite being suitcase-sized, or phlebotinum that can readily defy thermodynamics.

I'm sure you've got more complaints.


King of Ferrets said...

Also, apparently Hollywood has a lack of any history books. Maybe they burned them.

Anonymous said...

Another one on the Space / Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale issues: space is really, really big. You're not going to accidentally encounter other ships on a regular basis. Even if you're trying to meet them, other ships are very hard to find (without some kind of applied phlebotinum) because space is really, really big. Firefly doesn't get a pass on this one.

Unknown said...

Firefly has another problem: Detection ranges.

If you are using any kind of drive that will get you to another planet in less than, say, a year: You can be seen from anywhere in the solar system.[1] Even 'running silent' it is trivial to spot someone a couple of light minutes away.

In a STL setting, you are not going to accidentally encounter other ships _ever_, you can see them so far away that you know about the encounter well in advance.

As the line goes: There ain't no stealth in space.

[1] OK, you can probably be seen from the next star system over.

Valhar2000 said...

Rick, how do you figure that? A ship would have to be enormous, or telescopes phlebotinically good, for it yo be seen across a solar system.

Do you mena to say that any sort of drive capable of the sort of fast space travel we see on TV would relase enough ebergyto be detected from far away? If so, you would need a lot of asbestos to keep the crew from being fried...

Bronze Dog said...

Remember, it's dark in deep space.

Anonymous said...

Orbital mechanics. My wife absolutely hates watching space-type movies with me because I always complain about this. Classic Star Trek always got it wrong (lose the engines and start to drop out of orbit? I don't think so) but other shows also get it wrong. Plane (inclination) changes, rendezvous with another spacecraft, and so on. They always get it wrong.