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Which Sci Fi Movies get the science right?
Posted: 22 May 2008 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]
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[ Discussion of best science fiction movies which get the science right—podcast #19 5/11/2008 from SGU 5x5]
The folks at Skeptics Guide the Universe discuss a recent article in New Scientist on the science fiction movies getting science right. Do you have any to add?

1. First choice was 2001 a Space Odyssey—noted for the insight that “space” is quiet. (Skeptics note the rotating space station is harder to simulate than movie shows)

5. Last choice was Solaris for its insight into alien intelligence.  Germane to CFI since a sufficiently greater intelligence could indeed seem “god-like”, magical, or miraculous.

One which wasn’t on list that I would mention is Contact based on Carl Sagan’s novel.

Here is New Scientist article:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13864-five-science-fiction-movies-that-get-the-science-right.html

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Posted: 24 May 2008 12:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I would say Contact would be closer to getting the science right.  The problem with 2001, is that we are more than half a decade past 2001 and we don’t have technology as advanced as HAL… yet.  i have seen some new video on a robot that can mimic facial expression, and interpret mood, and has a personality of it’s own, but not to the point of it being completely free thinking.  Contact explores a more philosophical view of science, and the idea that our mind is more powerful than we give it credit for.

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Posted: 24 May 2008 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The problem with 2001, is that we are more than half a decade past 2001 and we don’t have technology as advanced as HAL… yet

I think getting the science right and the chronology of the science are separate issues.

I would put The Abyss *Special Edition* on the list.  It’s better than 2001.  The people are far more interesting.

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Posted: 27 May 2008 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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and don’t forget Barbarella grin

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Posted: 09 July 2008 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Gattaca

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Posted: 10 July 2008 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I like that Battlestar Galactica is at least attempting to get the physics of spaceflight right, although they persist in putting sound in.  I don’t know why they don’t simply use radio chatter as “background noise.”

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Posted: 10 July 2008 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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fmiddel - 10 July 2008 09:59 AM

I like that Battlestar Galactica is at least attempting to get the physics of spaceflight right, although they persist in putting sound in.  I don’t know why they don’t simply use radio chatter as “background noise.”

We love SciFi’s Battlestar Galactica. We would get the popcorn out every Friday for it. (I think my husband has a thing for Number Six. His eyes brighten when she’s on screen in the red dress.)

I love how they used traditional ballistics instead of some kind of laser guns. The ballistics give the fights a feel and sound that we can really relate to.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Posted: 12 July 2008 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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As a science teacher, I have an incredibly hard time watching any movie that breaks laws of physics, but I get more annoyed at the future language these guys come up with - I mean, really, “younglings”???  ARGH - we should beat George Lucas senseless for that one.

I do think 2001 was the best in terms of realistic technology, especially the space travel/station.  HAL is a bit far-fetched, but with advances in robotics and computers I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like that soon enough. 

Seaquest actually had some interesting extrapolations of deep ocean technology.  Sadly, it ended up being more of a soap opera.  Firefly got it right occasionally, especially in the language, although the whole “terraforming” concept and presence of constant gravity while Serenity was in space was annoying.

I wish someone would make a movie of “Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula LeGuin.  It’s one of scifi’s greatest books.

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Posted: 12 July 2008 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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ChemTeacher - 12 July 2008 07:25 PM

... I wish someone would make a movie of “Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula LeGuin.  It’s one of scifi’s greatest books.

Too internal to make a good movie. “Rendezvous with Rama” would be much better but all attempts have failed.

BTW, “Blake’s 7” was very good - their space ships never made banking turns while going ‘Whoosh’.

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Posted: 12 July 2008 08:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Yes, I suppose “Left Hand of Darkness” is internal.  I wish I knew more about film media and screenwriting…

Rendevous with Rama was good as well, but somehow didn’t impact me as much as LHOD.

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Posted: 12 July 2008 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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ChemTeacher - 12 July 2008 08:37 PM

Yes, I suppose “Left Hand of Darkness” is internal.  I wish I knew more about film media and screenwriting…

Rendevous with Rama was good as well, but somehow didn’t impact me as much as LHOD.

Dune was another one. They’ve made it twice, but when you have to stop the movie and narrate big portions it’s a sign that it wasn’t a good idea. When I read Rama, I could see it in my head as a movie. A good movie works with almost no dialogue.

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Posted: 12 July 2008 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Well, yes, but Sylvester Stallone also thought movies should have no dialogue, and look what he cooks up!  tongue rolleye

There are some books that are so visual, you can’t help but see them as a movie.  Usually the author has some screenwriting experience.  Dune, however, should not have been made into a movie - there was no way to cut it to an acceptable length, so you wound up with hours of garbage and voice overs for what was really an vieled reference to middle east oil.

Scifi literature is so tricky to film.  Sometimes it works best just as a movie, not an adaptation.  The reviews for Wall-E look good - maybe that’s a good example.  Have you seen it?

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“HUMAN BEINGS MAKE LIFE SO INTERESTING.  DO YOU KNOW IN A UNIVERSE SO FULL OF WONDERS, THEY HAVE MANAGED TO INVENT BOREDOM?  QUITE ASTONISHING.”  - DEATH

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Posted: 13 July 2008 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Plan 9 from Outer Space

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Posted: 13 July 2008 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Pragmatic Naturalist - 13 July 2008 08:28 PM

Plan 9 from Outer Space

LOL

Or if any of you have seen Mystery Science Theater 3000 ... Manos, the Hands of Fate

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Posted: 14 July 2008 01:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Not a movie but Babylon 5 went some way towards getting the physics right what with a station with a rotating section, Earth Force ships with the same, fighters that turned on their axis whilst continuing their trajectory and firing backwards, lack of energy shields and alien races that had gravity field tech.

Damn ... I loved that series!

Kyu

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