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The Heisenberg Compensator School of Science Fiction

Hilariously, NASA has named Roland Emmerich's 2012 the most absurd science-fiction film ever. The Guardian posits that in part, NASA's annoyance with 2012 comes from the massive volume of mail they have received from people convinced neutrinos are going to flood the earth and kill us all next December.

I don't think NASA can blame all the 2012 hysteria on Emmerich - there were plenty of people freaking out about the Mayan calendar before it came out, and they still would have had to deal with the mail if he had never made the movie. But Emmerich's blame of neutrino particles was particularly stupid. Frankly, the scientific stupidity of 2012 wasn't nearly as annoying as the fact that the plot was paint-by-numbers, the characters were annoying, the suspense was... not, and rich obnoxious white people inherit the earth. Yay?

Still, I think his The Day After Tomorrow was even more scientifically flawed - that insta-freeze is fairly unlikely - but it also made their list. They were unhappy with the insta-clones of The Sixth Day, The Core's dissolution of the earth's magnetic field and the Los Angeles Volcano (Dante's Peak, which came out the same year, is a much smarter film and far more scientifically accurate. Bonus: Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton!).

The Guardian professes to be surprised that NASA also dissed Armageddon, one of the many asteroid disaster flicks, but one that NASA itself initially praised. I wasn't all that surprised, because it (and its sister flick, Deep Impact) cast astronauts as the ultimate heroes. Once, we really considered them heroes, in my father's day when the world was glued to the screen every time the rockets went up. Now we bitch about how much they cost us to go out in space, as if there is nothing more to be learned there. A few more astronaut-as-heroes movies would do us well, and maybe a few less unlikely-astronaut pictures: retirees who know more than these PhD jumpsuit-jockeys seem to go into space a lot in Hollywoodland.

Frankly, I was more annoyed with Star Trek 2.1 on the science than any of the above - black holes don't do that, and WTF is red matter? Trek, at least, has a history of winking at real science. Until JJ Abrams came along, at least. That's all I ask, a wink and a nod.

I personally belong to the Heisenberg Compensator School of Science Fiction. If you're a Trekkie, you know that the Heisenberg uncertainty principle basically makes the transporter impossible under our current knowledge of physics. So at a few points in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, we hear a mention of the Heisenberg Compensator.

When asked by TIME Magazine how the Heisenberg Compensators work, famed Trek gadgetmaster Mike Okuda replied, "They work just fine, thank you."

That's all I ask. Apparently all NASA asks as well.


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