« Stratfor’s Friedman on the Government Shutdown | Main | Can Kicked, Crisis Calmed (updated) »

15 October 2013



I met up with a friend of mine, a retired physics professor, at a bar in NC last week. I asked him if he'd seen "Gravity" and he just rolled his eyes. That told me what I needed to know. I went to see for myself and came away with the same conclusion that you did, George.
Never mind that Bullock, a mission specialist with no previous space experience, is able to hop into the driver's seat of the Soyuz and figure out how to operate it in a matter of minutes. (I guess those manuals she found were conveniently printed in english.) In the second capsule, she just starts pushing buttons, hoping for the best. Right.
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the visuals. It's just too bad that they didn't take a little more care with the script. Would've made it a much better film.

Michael Anderson

Not sure if I'll go see it, but I can surely report that the four 12-yr.-old boys I dropped off at the Del Oro on Saturday afternoon definitely had a rollicking non-Newtonian good time. Perhaps this demographic was the target for which this movie was designed?

George, I printed out your review and gave it to my 12-yr.old, with instructions to understand the scientific points being made. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on "Gravity."

George Rebane

MichaelA 834am - That's a great idea. If more parents took the time to have their kids be a bit critical about what they see in the movies, TV, etc - not only about science stuff, but also about other twisted logics or implausibilities - then each such experience would become a learning time, and the young person can develop the attitude of being 'in charge' of what he sees and not just merely lapping it up. Would love to hear your son's discoveries about the movie.


I had glowing reviews Saturday from three bright adults, 30 to 50 somethings, whose imagination was unfettered by any real awareness of physics.

Account Deleted

C,mon folks - it's Hollywood. When has Hollywood cared much about what really goes on? Cowboys and indians, gun fights, fist fights, car chases - it's all fantasy and eye candy, pure and simple. All sorts of historic figures done up as gods. I can remember going to see 'Jason And The Argonauts' with my father at the Tower. All the way home he just couldn't help being a civil engineer and explained to me all of the baloney. He was correct, of course - as is George. But if the movies were really all like real life, I'm afraid the box office receipts would suffer pretty badly. It just has to have enough of the real and familiar to pull us in for the ride. From there it's all just fun. I really liked 'Life Of Pi' even though it was clearly nonsense from the get go. It just had such great visuals and an audacious story line.


Scott, "2001" comes to mind but it helps that it was adapted from a book written by the physicist who, among other things, first proposed the geosynchronous orbit that is apparently so featured in Gravity.

George, regarding parents giving their children guidance as to science and logic in popular entertainment, my favorite Will Rogers' quote, 'You can't teach what you don't know any more than you can come back from where you ain't been' applies. Science in K-12 is weak, logic nearly non existent.

If I could wave a magic wand, the standard college prep high school sequence would include a two semester class on probability and logic, about half and half. Maybe integrate in Algebra II topics, or get rid of AP Statistics, or allow as a general math and liberal study topic. The formal logic class I took as an undergrad could be taken for philosophy credit and had no math prerequisites besides enough to get admitted into any one of the local colleges. The probability class was a wobbler upper division math/graduate math class at a CSU but much of it was no more difficult than an Algebra I/II lesson with an algebra much like that of formal logic.

George Rebane

Gregory 427pm - Agreed, Didn't mean that parents should attempt to teach what they didn't know. Yes, teaching probability and logic earllier would stop a lot of stupid notions being uncritically accepted later.


George, the only reason I took probability and logic was that I wanted to. A problem with the high school curriculum is that probability and logic are entirely missing in action, so we're left with the common knowledge of public school teachers, who also never took formal probability or logic courses.


Michael Anderson

Scott wrote: "All the way home he just couldn't help being a civil engineer and explained to me all of the baloney."

He did you a great favor. Same favor I hope to have done with my 12-yr.old.

George, he read your review and totally got it. But then we got into a weird conversation, much like what Scott cites above, regarding the marketability of the product. In about the middle of the conversation my son claimed that without the non-scientifically probable post-satellite-breakup, the movie would have come to a screeching halt. This is where we got into a discussion about screen-writing, fiction, plausibility, and a whole variety of sidebars and cul-de-sacs.

We ended up discussing the Surrealism Movement, juxtaposing Dali and Magritte. So, nice work George, and thanks for the catalyst.

George Rebane

Administrivia - During the 6pm news segment today 16oct13, KVMR is broadcasting Paul Emery's interview with Sheriff Mack who will be speaking this Friday in the GV Vets Hall.

Aaron Klein

You clearly must quit politics and science and become a full time film reviewer. Hilarious!

The comments to this entry are closed.