Friday, February 26, 2010

What? Wait!

Ever have this sort of thing happen to you: Your flipping through the channels and come across some meh movie you have never seen before and decide to just take the path of least resistance and watch it. It's sci-fi, and therefore full of bad science, but this is okay because you love sci-fi and suspend disbelief...right up until someone starts writing equations on the board.

I had this problem when watching the Fantastic Four (quickie review: watch only if you really have nothing better to do.) I love the Marvel Comics characters and hence the movies, but I skipped out on F4 because it looked like crap- a judgment that turned out to be sound. I'm not one of those people who has a mental block when it comes to movies being inaccurate, but some things do make me chuckle. Before you ask: No the movie wasn't bad because it had some stray hairs scientifically. It was bad because it was bad.

There comes a part where the scientist is working in his immaculate and of course large lab. It is alluded to early on that money is a problem for this man, yet somehow this does nothing to diminish the lab's capacity and capabilities. I'm sure there are underfunded physicists out there who would orgasm at the thought of having that kind of office space. Then again- how much money could he possibly be burning through, looking around it appears that like any good movie scientist, he probably spends most of his time messing around with bright copper sulfate solutions and food coloring in big crystalline flasks.

What he is trying to do is somehow ("somehow" is a magical word in sci-fi) reverse the radiation they experienced and therefore reverse their mutations (cure cancer). Fine, sure thing. He walks over to a board and starts writing... an equilibrium equation. This snapped me out of the storyline instantly. As I once read somewhere, "Math is the ultimate bullshit barrier". For those of you who don't know what an equilibrium constant equation is, it defines the relationship in terms of concentration (and amount) between substances in equilibrium in a system. Now I don't know why this might be necessary, obviously I can't follow an imaginary thought process, but what I find hilarious is the stern look of concentration on his face. Not only is the equation not a particularly mind bending one, but it's utterly trivial. This guy is really chipping away at the problem on step at a time. Geez! If you're going to pull a prop equation out of a physics or chemistry book- at least be in the right section. He should be writing an equation pertaining to radiation or a nuclear reaction up there.

1 comment:

  1. Nice spotting of the lame science. There might even be a job in Hollywood for the brave soul who wants it. Science liason to script writers.


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