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A Movie Epiphany
by TheEtruscan at 12:25 December 20, 2014

You would think that movie reviewers are on to this (but you would be wrong):

My first aha moment about the movies came watching the first Star Wars episode in 1977. It was an epiphany or a sudden insight in realizing that in spite of all the sophistication, technological breakthroughs, advanced civilizations or how far into the future the action takes place, what is portrayed can still be very low tech, almost farcical.

I mean in the opening scene there is lots of shooting by the stormtroopers yet none of the bullets fired hit their targets. Come on now you would think that in the future there would be smart bullets. Miniaturization would provide guidance and target acquisition features. Yet the same old bullets were fired as in the 1800's. But that Star Wars episode has to have been way, way in the future to have galactic space travel and spaceships that can go as fast as the speed of light.

Obviously, I am not the only one to have noticed this: the stormtrooper effect, a common cliché in action movies, was named after these soldiers and their poor sharpshooter skills when encountering major protagonists. But that misses the point entirely. It is not the Imperial Stormtroopers' marksmanship that should be in question, it is the projectiles!

Star Wars then opened my eyes to such oversights or blind spots with all movies especially action movies. I may look at movies now with a more critical eye and this diminishes for me their impact or strong point.

Take another well received trilogy: The Hunger Games. In at least the two episodes that I have watched, The Hunger Games (2012) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) before entering the arena where the game is played, participants must be subjected to having a tracking device implanted under their skin. Fine, that is part of the story but what I cannot accept is knowing how the tracking device is being used by the gamemasters why keep it on? If it were me I would remove it, keep it somehow about me but use and deploy it according to what the situation I am in calls for. Near me for helpful situations, far from me (on a string so not to lose it) on punishing or dangerous situations.

There you go Hunger Games.

I have watched another installment of a dystopian trilogy: Divergent, a 2014 movie but I found it rather boring and I don't recall anything particularly nonsensical. There is the jumping on and off a moving train and diving into an abyss that is not an abyss. OK, in this post-cataclysmic world, its inhabitants must chose what classification or group they want to join but wouldn't some test be a better predictor of natural talent?

Another installment of a dystopian trilogy that I have watched has been added to my list of nonsensical oversights. The Maze Runners, a 2014 movie portrays a bunch of adolescent boys trapped in a huge rectangular area called the Glade surrounded by huge walls behind which there is a maze or labyrinth. The brave boys that adventure past the daily opening in the walls are called the runners as they try to find the way out of their entrapment. Strangely it never occurred to any of them to climb to the top of the walls and survey the landscape from that vantage point of view. What is even more galling is once when two of the runners were trapped on the other side of the imposing walls the walls are actually climbed to escape the Grievers, the fierce beasts that patrol the maze (a nod to Theseus, the minotaur and the Cnossian labyrinth?). I am anxiously awaiting what other nonsensical situation is in store in the other episodes of this dystopian trilogy.

Comment by TheEtruscan at 11:01 January 8, 2015
Sound in space

Overlooked: In many sci-fi movies including Star Wars when space ships go KaBOOM! very loud explosions are heard.

The problem here is that sound doesn't carry well in space.

Although sound is a wave just like light or heat unlike them it travels by making the surrounding matter vibrate. Think of the concentric circles in a pond where a pebble has been dropped and doing the same on a patch of dry land where no visible signs can be detected. In the vast emptiness or vacuum of deep space there isn't sufficient matter or a suitable medium to propagate sound waves effectively therefore no sound is there.