Before I get into the less boring stuff I’d just like to say I’ve finished my first month of work 😀 Now it’s back to university for me for a well deserved break 😛
I had the privilege to watch Rock of Ages this week, and I had such a blast. I can’t comment on its scientific accuracy because it’s, well, a musical, but let me just say if you like 70’s and 80’s rock music this will keep you entertained for its two hours. I’ve read some reviews on the’net that rate it quite average, but I found it enjoyable so that’s what counts right?
Alright, let’s get down to business. I’m a massive (like second Death Star massive) fan of science fiction. I love it; in fact my first career choice is still to be a Space Marine. So it was with great anticipation I went to watch the movie Lockout. It’s prison in space right? How can you not make an awesome movie from that? Well, it turns out you can. I’m not saying Lockout is bad, it’s still entertaining, but nor is it going to win any awards. It’s average especially looking at what it could have been; I was hoping for Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay the movie. All that being said, I find science fiction movies are reasonably scientifically accurate if you take into account their technologies that don’t openly break the laws of physics. Lockout is no exception, with only two noticeable inaccuracies:
- Space travel: this is a problem I see in almost every science fiction movie; objects can only travel in straight lines in space. There’s no gravity to affect travel, so once an object is underway it’s underway forever. To change direction in Earth’s atmosphere a plane banks, which means it experiences resistance from the air and it pushes off it, which in turn allows for the majestic sweeping and turning maneuvers you see fixed-wing aircraft perform (just flying normally). So in the vacuum of space the craft has no air to bank against, meaning when it wants to change direction it does instantly and in straight lines.
- Human exposure to a vacuum: another favourite of films with space travel. In the movie a man is sucked out an airlock and freezes to death instantaneously when he hits the vacuum. This is just not true. Smart scientist types reckon the human body can survive up to 30 seconds in a vacuum and suffer no permanent side effects. As long as you exhale (to stop your lungs from expanding unbearably) you’ll be ok for a bit. Check here for a more in depth article.
Fast & Furious 5
Coming from the impressively accurate Lockout I get to one of my favourite (not on my classic list, but my decent high octane action movies list): Fast & Furious 5. It brings back a lot of the previous characters into one big super-movie of shear awesomeness without actually needing you to have watched the first four (I confess I only watched the after this one). Heck, even The Rock graces the movie with his presence. If you like cars, gunfights, fistfights, or all of the above combined then this will be right up your cup of tea. The best bit? The Rock fights Vin Diesel, can I say anymore?
However, the movie would make Sir Isaac cringe:
- Crashing a bus: this is in the opening scene so if you haven’t seen it it this isn’t really a spoiler. The crew needs to crash a prison bus to bust someone out. In order to do this they essentially put a car in front of the bus, hit the breaks and watch as the bus driver attempts to swerve out the way, fails, hits the car and then the entire bus starts to barrel roll, leaving the car unharmed. It is so unlikely that a 15 ton (15 000 kg with passengers) object will hit the back of a car and flip. In almost any conceivable reality it would feel but a slight discomfort, as an elephant might be annoyed slightly by the bite of a fly, and carry on it’s way.
- Falling into water from height: water tension is b*tch. When you’re travelling at speed (not even terminal velocity) and you hit the surface of water it’s very similar to hitting ground. Two of the crew in the movie jump off a rather high cliff (looks higher than is safe), and hit the water resulting in no injury. I’d bet half my life savings (which isn’t much, don’t get your hopes up) that they’d at least break multiple bones.
- The final sequence: ok, spoiler alert here. The crew eventually steals the bad guy’s safe with loads of dosh and drive through the streets of Rio pulling it behind two cars. This scene breaks so many rules I’ll break it down:
- Friction: it’s also a b*tch. I reckon the safe with the money in it comes close to 8 tons. This amount of weight being dragged along a tarmac road with no lubrication or wheels at those speeds would generate so much heat the entire safe would melt and all the money go up in smoke before it covers 5 blocks. Secondly, there is no way those teeny tiny cars, even if they’re suped up could drag that safe at those speeds and change direction so quickly so rapidly with all that friction.
- Momentum: yet again, it’s a b*tch. Those cars drag an 8 ton safe behind them through downtown streets of a city, meaning there’s lot’s of turning and maneuvering. The momentum of the safe travelling at those speeds would be so great that it would whip the cars behind it and hardly slow down every time they tried to take a corner; no way those cars could resist it.
- Cable strength: the safe is attached by two cables, one to each car. And they are not big, thick heavy cables. Cables are really tough things I’ll grant you that, but you still do not want to try and jerk them; they are not bungie chord. The cables in the movie would snap from all the jerking around the safe does.
- Slicing reinforced concrete pillars: at one stage the cars turn down a street sending the safe careening into a bank. They then proceed to drag the safe through the bank foyer, slicing the pillars with cable while doing so. Now, reinforced concrete pillars are not invincible, but they pretty touch. Those cars could not generate nearly enough power to cut through the columns like that.
All that being said I sat through F&F5 feeling like an 8 year old boy in short pants with my mouth hanging open I enjoyed it that much. I apologise for the long post, I haven’t done this in a while so I’ve got to give my fan something to keep him/her going 🙂