Friday, July 20, 2007

Eternal Sunshine of Thoughtless Science

I recently saw the previews for Sunshine,, and was incredibly annoyed that what looks like such an otherwise interesting movie is based upon such stupid science. They seemed so serious about doing such a hard sci-fi flick that I had to double-check to see if there was some new discovery their thinking was based on, but it only took a few clicks find several experts have confirmed what I'm sure I first learned in 8th grade science, at latest.

Did it occur to the marketing department of Fox Searchlight that the same kind of people who would like to see a movie like this would be well acquainted with the fact that:

1) The sun has another 5 billion years of fuel,
2) When the sun does run low on fuel, it will not cool off but simultaneously get much hotter and expand its radius to near the orbit of Mars, and
3) Compared to the strength of the sun an atomic bomb, even the one "the size of Manhattan," is like a Black Cat that goes off in the radius of the Hiroshima device?

I know, I know, I'm the one that's always saying that what's important is telling an interesting story about people, not picky scientific details. And I'm really not too obsessed about scientific accuracy, especially if it's something you'd need at least a Masters in Physics to understand. But if you're going do something in a genre, you have to stick to the conventions, which in this case of science fiction means at the very least not using science that is obviously wrong even to a person who has a Discover Magazine subscription or stayed awake through Science 101 for the Humanities. This plot is like having a spaceship captain press a button and accelerate his ship to ten times light speed without even bothering to put a fake-science fig-leaf over it like "his ship turned into tachyons" or something like that.

So will I go see it? Probably. But you might not want to sit next to me, because I'll bitch the whole time.

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