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October 16, 2013
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Thanks to all who responded to my latest poll on science in science fiction. As some of you may have guessed the poll was driven by the (minor) controversy around "Gravity" which arose when a few science and SF notables publicly shared their nitpicks on the film's facts.

I'm usually the first one to nitpick an SF film, but after seeing "Gravity" that was not my first instinct. I think that may be due to the fact that those controversial shortcomings are in the details of specific of technologies (orbital altitudes of given objects, cycle rates of airlocks,  space suit structural details, NASA standard procedures) and not so much with the actual physics or character motivations. So maybe this film taught me something about myself and how I measure SF cinema. I feel that "Gravity" is a great film, both in terms of entertainment and technical achievement.

Argosy-UBS-Shroud-Jettison by Drell-7

I don't get to see my buddy Tom (Drell-7 drell-7.deviantart.com/ ) very often as he's half a continent away, but as luck would have it he had to make a road trip to the East Coast so we got to see it together. Before seeing the film I went into near total blackout mode in terms of detailed reviews and feedback. Tom – not so much, it seems… so he went in with things like deGrasse-Tyson's nitpicks www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24… in mind. Perhaps he'd have picked up on them anyway, but he came out of the movie primed to nitpick and reluctant to give it his stamp of approval without detailing his caveats. I just came out amazed at what I saw and blown away by the new standard of space realism the film set. So when Tom unloaded the nitpicks, it really kinda rained on my parade (sorry, bud...).

Far Side of the Sky by Drell-7

Now in all fairness I had my own set of nits…. but I was more inclined to overlook those in the face of a really great SF experience that had more solid science than almost anything since "2001". For me the film proved wrong the old adage that "accurate science in SF would just make it boring", and that's worthy of celebration! So yeah… some real world details were fudged, but in this case I just don't seem to care. Maybe it makes me a hypocrite? But I'm with Steve Burg (Steve-Burg steve-burg.deviantart.com/ ) in regarding this film as a new high bar for scientific accuracy and aerospace realism. Plus it's a delight to see a film like this pop up in the age of Hollywood over-caution and sequelmania.

=======================================

On another subject – and more on the space operatic side of things – we're a little over a week out before Space Battleship Yamato 2199's final four episodes hit the Web. Can't wait. As I've said before the series has illustrated just how a series reboot of a classic should be done, respecting and tuning up the source material instead of just vomiting one's creative ego all over an established background. Yeah, "Galactica" did a pretty good job, but "Yamato 2199" gets to the same place without such a dramatic face lift. "2199" is an anime masterpiece, in my mind. Fun, exciting, neat tech, good (for space opera) science, and solidly entertaining. It just gets better with every episode.

Combat Stations by Odyanii

If you missed it last time, these are the sites where you should be able to stream the series:

Gogoanime: www.gogoanime.com/category/uch…
Pinoy Anime: www.pinoyanime.tv/space-battle…
Anime Flavor: animeflavor.com/index.php?q=no…

  • Mood: Angsty
  • Listening to: CliqHop (SOMA-FM)
  • Reading: "The Starless World" by Eklund
  • Watching: Agents of SHIELD
  • Playing: Star Wars Angry Birds 2
  • Eating: In
  • Drinking: ...yeah...
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:icondana-redde:
dana-redde Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Also, they could have EASILY solved the hair thing by just cropping her hair short. But then a bunch of execs/audiences would have complained because she wasn't ~pretty~ enough (which is insane because you could tip a dumpster over that woman's head and she'd still be radiant). But seriously, bam, cut down on a big inaccuracy and save a big chunk of CGI budget.

Hire me, Hollywood, I solve problems.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
Sadly I don't think that they really WANT their problems solved... (sigh)
Reply
:icondana-redde:
dana-redde Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Gravity inspired one of the stupidest thoughts I've had in a long time:

As Sandra Bullock climbed onto the various space stations and opened the hatches to climb in: "Wait, why aren't the doors locked?"
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
LOL! Yeah... that's one you kind of kick yourself even for entertaining for a few seconds ;)
Reply
:icondeepblu742:
Deepblu742 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2013
I saw it in IMAX 3D and although definitely pricier I can't recommend it enough, the visual feel of flying debris and first person & revolving external perspective felt much more intense than on a normal 2d screen.

I didn't view Gravity as a magnus opus like treatment of a hyper-realistic NASA docudrama, as it has some purely fictional ideas of the nature of a satellite debris cascade, the presence of a large Chinese space station, among others. More of a gripping space drama set amongst current astronautic tech, decisions where made that weren't necessarily realistic to continue the suspense and narrative intensity. Intense it certainly was, which hopefully will set a bar to encourage film-making to incorporate more realistic space based storytelling than the Michael Bay-like spectacles we get mostly today.

Battelship Yamato...crickey, haven't seen anything of that since the ancient days of Star Blazers.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yamato went on with many movies and series, but 2199 goes back to the first story and updates it... with exceptional results, I feel.
Reply
:iconghostbirdofprey:
GhostBirdofPrey Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2013

Why is it that the more accurate a film tries to be the most people nitpick the MINOR things?  Nobody cares that X-Wings fly like there's an atmosphere but everyone is up in arms because an actress' hair isn't floating in free-fall because it would blow the special effects budget.  I'm actually a bit surprised Drell-7 went into it already against the film considering he does a lot of Star Trek related stuff


If we want to nitpick though, remember they stood up and leaned on a table while in free-fall in 2001 and Bowman inhaled before taking a spacewalk sans helmet.  No film is perfect, but that shouldn't interfere with enjoying it.


Personally, for me while I do like more hard SF just because the real life technologies that they extrapolate to come up with it intrigue me (and it's a nice break from your standard space opera), I am less concerned with perfect accuracy as I am consistency, if your made up future technology has a reasonable explanation, and more importantly functions exactly the same way every time it is brought up, that's plenty fine for me.  The only thing that really bugs me is when they make huge mistakes in ignorance like the space will instantly freeze you or make your head asplode kind of crap (I am willing to ignore the fact most movies have sound in space and battles take place at ranges under several dozen-hundred kilometers since that's fairly difficult to portray in an entertaining manner.)

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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well I guess the more a product says "good science", the more we expect it? But yeah... it's good to give them credit for trying and for what they get right, rather than following on a few shortcomings. In Gravity's case I felt that the good so outweighed the bad (science-wise) that the bad didn't deserve much attention.
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:iconienkoron:
Ienkoron Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2013

One week till last 2199 cannot wait *squeeeeee*

Ok fan moment over...

 

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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2013  Professional General Artist
It ain't over 'til it's over ;)

:squee:
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