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hollywood's laws of physics (and gender)

Last night I was watching Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (on TV, I'm glad I didn't pay for theater tickets or rent it) and I ended up spending the second half of the movie waiting for Wile E. Coyote to show up as a character in the plot (the first half of the movie was spent waiting for the plot itself, which didn't appear). I did come to a few conclusions in the meantime, among them:

  • It is possible to jump off the roof of a four-story building and land on concrete, then proceeding to continue your pursuit
  • If after making a karate jump on the roof of a two-story floor you are shot in the chest, and then you fall to the ground below the worst you can expect is getting wet with the sprinklers that will activate just as you regain consciousness (your kevlar vest saves you from the bullet)
  • If you are flung from a Dodge Viper GT racing at high speed and crash into a window you'll be able not only to continue the chase, but also to catch up to the Dodge Viper GT in only a few seconds, on foot, and silently.
  • If you make Karate moves while you're being shot at, the flow of time will slow down so you can see the bullets fly past you.
  • If you crash a Dodge Viper GT against a concrete wall, you can expect the concrete wall to be destroyed and yourself to be uninjured and ready to continue a fight. If you are a good guy, however, you will have a shard of glass stuck in your abdomen. Removing it will not impede your movement, though.
  • and on and on and on and on...
I guess what I'm wondering is: when did breaking the laws of physics became fun? The Matrix is one of the earliest of its kind, accounting for the little detail that, you know, it happened in a simulated reality (and they are responsible for bullet-time, at least in live-action, Anime is really were it comes from). Mission: Impossible pushed things a bit, but hey, it's Mission: Impossible. M:I2, though, was way over the top, and then things started to come off their tracks. Why is it that blockbusters seem to be resort to CG when the script ain't working, even if they aren't dealing with aliens or twisters or whatever?

Why is it that they have to be just so over the top? The actresses, all of them beautiful, and talented, seem to be having fun, and this is made obvious throughout. Ah-ha. Was that the point of the movie? That the'd enjoy their residuals?

Sigh. One of my favorite movies of all time is Heat. You know why? because it was zero-bullshit. It didn't require me to suspend disbelief from here to Canarsie to buy the plot (Note: movies like MIB, Armaggeddon and ID:4 require suspension of disbelief for entering the theater, so it's okay that they are over the top :)). One of my favorite scenes in Heat is the shootout outside the bank. Cars don't explode (it's pretty difficult to make gas tanks explode, maybe because they've been designed to avoid that). People actually run for cover in the face of M-16 fire. On the opposite end, another favorite is the typical Simpsons scene with a leave falling off a tree, hitting a truck, and making it explode.)

So, comment to Hollywood: read Newton's Principia. You know, 17th-century physics. Einstein not required. If you can't get through it, just remember:

  • A body remains at rest, or moves in a straight line (at a constant velocity), unless acted upon by a net outside force.
  • The acceleration of an object of constant mass is proportional to the resultant force acting upon it.
  • Whenever one body exerts force upon a second body, the second body exerts an equal and opposite force upon the first body.
"Body" here, btw, refers to an object, either animate or inanimate, not to the body of your co-star, be that Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, or Drew Barrymore.

This sounds snobbish, doesn't it. Well, it may sound like that. MI:2 was over the top as well.

How about making women real protagonists, without having to behave as if they were in a casting call for Baywatch? Uh? Is this too revolutionary?

Yes, it may be that what really pissed me off was the beer-commercial aesthetics of the movie. I generally ignore the misanthropic inclinations of Bond movies, although they do piss me off as well. Why is it that they seem to be more of an issue with Charlie's Angels? Not sure. Maybe it's just that with Bond they are more of a sideshow, and Bond himself isn't a prize either (and Bond women are generally players in their own right, rather than directed by the all-knowing all-seeing Charlie), or maybe it's that at least the beer-commercial thing is not a big item.

However, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle isn't something I'd recommend.

Unless you want to see a two-hour long beer commercial.

PS: I also watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 which is a wacky, wacky B-movie that made me laugh out loud in spite of myself. Crazy characters, no plot, and no pretense of one either. Highly recommended.

Posted by diego on December 27 2004 at 7:31 AM

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