Saturday, November 02, 2013

Coming back from the theater...

...the discussion in the car was about the genre of the movie Gravity.

We both liked it. Bobbi pronounced it the best science fiction movie she'd seen in a long time.

I disagreed, on the grounds that it's no more science fiction than The Hunt For Red October. She pointed out there wasn't any such thing as a silent "caterpillar drive" missile sub, either.

Still, it's easy to forget that there's a tiny village, population six, passing 250-some-odd miles overhead every hour and a half or so.

38 comments:

Bob said...

A crowded Airstream.

Hafnhaf said...

hell of a view from their porch though...

Overload in Colorado said...

Hmmm. I would have expected you two to have seen Ender's Game.

Old NFO said...

Crowded Airstream is right, but the view makes up for it!

LCB said...

Just got back from seeing Ender's Game. I was shocked...it was an intelligent Science Fiction movie...finally!!!!!! Finally, I mean, they've made an intelligent movie from one of the books that I really like. Highly recommended.

LCB said...

Oh...guess I should also say it was good!!!! Intelligent without good wouldn't be worth the time. :-)

Anonymous said...

Not gonna see it. I can live with a man dying to save a chick, but not Sandra Bullock. She's just annoying. Also more masculine than Clooney. Sounds like a good premise for a flick otherwise though.

Tam said...

You have a point, but if you part your hair right, you could cover it nicely.

Scott J said...

I've been on the bubble about seeing that one because of who stars in it.

I know I should suspend my real-life distaste and just be entertained but I find it harder to to do with each passing year.

Anonymous said...

"there wasn't any such thing as a silent "caterpillar drive" missile sub"

Are you sure about that?

Which clearances did you say you hold?

Tam said...

Anonymouse 10:59,

Reading is FUN-damental!

Go back and read the post again and see if you can figure out why your comment makes you sound like an ignorant fuckwit. :)

Jon said...

I would definitely call it science fiction - To keep the spoilers low - Clooney's EVA Jetpack (they do have a specific word for the thing at NASA, I don't remember it) hasn't been in use in a long time - and definitely didn't have the fuel reserves to go jetting around like he does. But the biggest thing is that the Air Force Space command tracks all sorts of debris *much* smaller then the stuff the went smashing through the Shuttle and the ISS in Gravity - and they make sure if they're going to be close, NASA has more then enough time to move out of the way.

Definitely would lack a plot without that. So big nasty debris are necessary. Definitely Science-Fiction though :D

Professor James Moriarty said...

I don't know...I was disappointed with Gravity. Most likely because it was talked up so much first.

Story? Meh

Script? Awful

SFX? Excellent. But that just doesn't carry a movie for me.

I was just expecting so much more. In the end, I fell asleep twice.

Tam said...

Jon,

That's like saying that The A-Team was science fiction because Mini-14s don't really make cars blow up when you shoot them from the hip. ;)

Tam said...

Professor James Moriarty,

I'm not sure we can be friends anymore. :p

Robin said...

I liked Gravity quite a lot too. My only quibble was that they speeded up the EVA motion too much. I am willing to forgive them the orbital mechanics errors (if you want to catch up to something in another orbit, you don't point at it and accelerate for example).

Turns out that there is a hypothesis of an orbital debris problem - Kessler Cascade if memory serves - similar to the film's mcguffin.

As for it being SF, in the film the US has a space program.

Tam said...

Robin,

"As for it being SF, in the film the US has a space program."

sofullofwin.gif :D

Sendarius said...

My daughter informs me that my favourite Canadian singing astronaut - Cmdr Chris Hadfield - was ejected from a showing of Gravity for heckling.

Sendarius said...

I found the link:

http://www.thebeaverton.com/chris-hadfield-ejected-from-movie-theatre-
for-loudly-heckling-gravity.htm

I am not sure I believe it, but it has a picture and everything! ;)

Tam said...

How sad to learn one of my real-life heroes needs the services of the Please Please Please Get A Life Foundation. ;)

Paul from Canada said...

Funny, I heard that he said in an interview that he liked it, despite the technical improbabilities and technical errors.

Paul from Canada said...

I thought it sounded wrong. I just realized that the link to the Chris Hadfield story is the Beaverton!

Try reading some of the links' contents and all will become clear....

The Jack said...

"That's like saying that The A-Team was science fiction because Mini-14s don't really make cars blow up when you shoot them from the hip. ;)"

Oooh, that acutally makes sense!

Especially if you go by the A-Team and Mr. T comics which had a lot more gadgetry and evil robots.

Huh maybe I need to see the Foundation.

Roberta X said...

Anent the Beaverton: Yum, Canadian Onion!

Scott J said...

"That's like saying that The A-Team was science fiction because Mini-14s don't really make cars blow up when you shoot them from the hip"

Don't reference those! There's a stainless factory folder for sale on my local Armslist. It tempts me badly but I'd have to forego the M1-A National Match to get it :(

Matt said...

I would definitely call it science fiction - To keep the spoilers low - Clooney's EVA Jetpack (they do have a specific word for the thing at NASA, I don't remember it) hasn't been in use in a long time - and definitely didn't have the fuel reserves to go jetting around like he does. But the biggest thing is that the Air Force Space command tracks all sorts of debris *much* smaller then the stuff the went smashing through the Shuttle and the ISS in Gravity - and they make sure if they're going to be close, NASA has more then enough time to move out of the way.

Definitely would lack a plot without that. So big nasty debris are necessary. Definitely Science-Fiction though :D


Jon, you are referring to the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). It was flown once in space by Bruce McCandless in 1984 making him the only human in history to fly in space untethered.

NASA decided the MMU was too risky to deploy due to the risk of that untethered nature.

The movie was science fiction on several levels. One and most obvious, they were orbiting in the wrong direction! LEO missions orbit west-to-east, not east-to-west.

Second, the Hubble and the ISS orbit in different planes and different altitudes. Hubble is the highest the shuttle could reach because it had to get above the bulk of the atmosphere. Mainly to avoid the atmospheric drag the ISS experiences at its lower altitude.

Third, the ISS and other space stations would never be that close. Good for drama but simple differences in launch sites and injection energy will place them in very different orbits.

Fact in many other ways. The visuals and representations of the various spacecraft is a space geek's wet dream. Very well done.

Anonymous said...

ISS IS cool. Go here:

http://www.heavens-above.com

change location and time

then select ISS 10 day predictions

go outside first clear nite at correct time....enjoy! it's not an airplane!

jake

Ron Merrell said...

Saw both Gravity and Ender's Game this week. As Neal Tyson pointed out, the scientific flaws in Gravity don't keep it from being an excellent movie-but Tam is right, it's not SF. I would class it as suspense.

As for Ender's Game: If you haven't read the book, then see the movie. It stands on it's own as a fine movie technically, albeit with a predictable ending. If you have read the book, Do NOT See it-because it takes the book and alters and twists the plot and timeline to take what was a story about a war of self-defense with a regrettable outcome, and making it into a blatant anti-war and anti-American movie. (Despite the presence of a number of non-American actors, with a sole exception every *important* post is filled with someone who certainly appears to be from the US. So despite the excellent technical chops of the movie, it is essentially a movie about how horrible we are. Yeah, I'm a little annoyed.

Anonymous said...

You gave us a bunch of reasons NOT to watch it, so why the recommendation?

jf

Ron Merrell said...

Honestly, because if you haven't read the book, you won't recognize what they did to the message. And it's still better than 80% of what they're calling SF these days.

Robert said...

I just discovered and devoured (in audio format)both "Ender's Game" and "Ender's Shadow". The author talked about the impossibility of making "Ender's Game" into a movie- combining both stories made it possible. Perhaps that accounts for some of the distortion noted by Ron Merrell.

LCB said...

Ron,
Sorry Ron, I disagree. I re-read Ender's Game this year and I loved the movie. I thought it was hammered home pretty well that the Formics killed 10's of millions...and that's why Graff and all the other old soldiers were so hell bent on there NOT BEING ANOTHER CHANCE! And actually, reading the book, the queen collective agreed that this is what would happen...that given their "attack" on the humans, it's was to be expected. The Formics kicked the nest...and the humans swarmed. That's why the reached out to Ender. Not to stop the final attack, because they understood why it was coming. But to help ensure the survival of their species.

Anti-American??? I didn't get that out of it at all. Respectfully, I think you have to be reaching to see "un-American" in the movie.

And yes, of course they twisted the time line, etc. etc. That's always done with movies.

But they kept the main story. And what's more, they honored Card's vision. This is the first movie I've seen based on a book that I didn't walk out thinking, "Oh my lord...WHY did they do that."

(FYI...don't ever get me going on LOTR...not enough space one the webs...bwahahahahaha)

Aesop said...

Genre: suspense/thriller, a la "Jaws".

Space is the shark.

Given the cast, I was rooting for the shark this time.

But it looked pretty, and they sold the zero-G aspect well enough.

Anonymous said...

LOTR's got nothing on Battlefield Earth.

jf

Bram said...

I liked Gravity but was taken out of the movie by the scene where she had to let George Clooney fall - in space, after he stopped. Just could not get past it.

mikee said...

Did not go to see it because I could not determine if Bullock lived through her ordeal or not.

Later determined online that she makes it home safely.

I was right not to go.

Space is not a speeding bus or a cruise ship or an amazingly porous Las Vegas casino vault. Space is much more unforgiving than most terrestrial environments, and this movie ignored that detail again and again and again.

After Challenger and Columbia and Apollo 13, that ellipsis of reality is not something on which I am prepared to suspend disbelief.

Had she died after all her multiple orbital changes from a piece of debris in the gasket during re-entry, it would have been a better movie.

Windy Wilson said...

I'm going to have to see Gravity now, after all this discussion, I thought it was another star vehicle with loud noises and surprising lights, with space spliced on it. If it's going to be more like Bradbury's Kalidescope it's worth the trip and all.

Geodkyt said...

jf@12:46 -- You mean the movie version of Battlefield Earth was actually entertaining and didn't dislocate your suspension of disbelief? ;)

Maybe I ought to go see it, then. . . :P