Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Suspension of Disbelief

July 21, 2018

Dh2fQdlWAAA3J6X

Image credit: @ToniMacAttack on Twitter

So, I believe I have talked on here about the concept of “Suspension of Disbelief”. I know that if I have, it has been a while and either way, I felt like revisiting it because it is such an interesting concept. Now, I believe my greatest strengths as a consumer of fiction are my memory and my suspension of disbelief. Suspension of disbelief is a term for submerging yourself in the story and not surfacing until the story is over. That means that you are not picking at details, you are not wondering where you have seen that actor before, and you are completely buying the story. Some people are better at that than others. That is not a knock on people who cannot seem to accomplish it. Lately, I have begun to wonder about the people who are not as good at suspension of disbelief. I honestly do not know if it is a burden or not. I feel like I enjoy movies and television a lot more than some people but without being in their head, maybe I am missing something that they are getting.

Fake Baby

I am not completely immune. It was not my choice when I went and saw American Sniper. While I do try to challenge myself now and then, I almost never choose nationalist movies about the glory of our US military. As much as they try to paint them as heroes, the story is almost always our guys in another country, bullying and killing people. This is basically what American Sniper was to me. And yet, I was still in the story of this guy who kept going to Iraq to shoot people in the name of freedom. I might not have gotten the same jingoist pride out of the whole thing, but I was still invested. Right about until halfway through, Bradley Cooper and his wife had a baby. Except, they apparently ran out of casting money because they used a baby doll instead of a live child. Look at the gif. I do not know how you experience it but I see embarrassment in the eyes of Bradley Cooper. He realizes that we can all tell that this is a fake baby. Instead of using the power of movie magic and acting to make the baby live, they leave Cooper on his own in this shot. He tries to salvage it by using sleight of hand to make the baby move but it only tricks you for a split second. It took me out of the movie but after that, I shook my head and dove back in.

Recently, I went with my friends to watch Antman and the Wasp in theaters. As I already wrote, I was excited to see the sequel because I loved the first movie so much. I also have loved whatever Disney has done with the Marvel properties. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and, as with most of their franchise, I did not notice a single flaw. As we walked toward our cars, my friend said something that triggered the writing of this post. She said something along the lines of “That was a great movie even though it didn’t make any sense.” We all looked confused and asked for clarification. She explained that the science used in the movie did not make any sense to her. My brain made a record scratch noise and then I said goodnight and got into my car and drove home. I did not want to get into it right there because that statement revealed how fundamentally differently I experience fiction. The way she thinks is not wrong but it is very different. If you thought something similar after or during a movie, do not take this post as offensive. I honestly am trying to understand it.

Science in movies is generally not like science in the real world. Science in the real world is fascinating and something we absolutely need to know and trust because it makes our lives and our decisions easier. However, science in the real world is rarely very exciting to the average person. Science in the real world is more subtle and works much slower and experiments do not always work as expected. So, science in the movies is often flashier, more effective, and fast-working. The rule cool and the narrative often force writers to skip a few scientific principals. If I am watching a movie and they explain that gravity suddenly makes people fall into the sky, then I roll with it. I do not get bogged down in the details and I do not try and compare movie science to real-life science. In fact, if you look back at science in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is mostly treated as magic. In Captain America: The First Avenger, we only get a few buzzwords as Steve Rogers is transformed into the good Captain. In Thor, practically nothing is explained aside from a few buzzwords in Thor 2 when they are scanning Jane Foster. In the Antman franchise, they use a lot more science buzzwords because Hank Pym is much more of a pure scientist than Banner or Stark or any of the other scientists in the franchise. So a lot of what Pym says sounds like science but it probably does not have much that is consistent with real-life science. However, nothing in that world has ever been very accurate in the first place.

But what I am saying is that it does not matter to me. If I am told that if you were able to shrink yourself to a small enough size that you would basically enter another universe, I will accept it. If I am told that growing to a larger size makes you expend more physical energy and tires you out more then I will believe it. What grabs me is the action and the characters and the clever dialogue. However, I also realize that I am more of a poet than a scientist. A lot of my friends are scientists. They went to college for science and they work in scientific fields or science-adjacent fields. It may be similar to when I see legal things in shows and I make a mental note about how they are wrong. However, I have rarely let that take me out of the story. I guess I just have a difficult time understanding how it is difficult to suspend your disbelief.

Media Update 3/9/2017

March 9, 2017


Hidden Figures

I told you on Monday that I would speak about this movie today. As soon as I learned that this movie was being made, I really wanted to watch it. I love it when tales of history that are either covered up or left to gather dust are unearthed and told. This story was obviously left behind (and never really told in the first place) because of prejudice against black people in the United States. This movie is about the black, female mathematicians (known as Human Computers) who were the backbone of NASA’s space program. Because this is Hollywood, the racism is almost assuredly toned down for the movie to keep it more lighthearted. Nobody ever stood up for these women and their story is inspiring. The movie follows three women who work hard to contribute and better their way of life through applied mathematics. Taraji Henson is the clear main character as famous mathematician Katherine Johnson. Although she is constantly belittled, she rises to the occasion and makes a difference. Janelle Monae is Mary Jackson, a sharp-tongued woman who becomes the first black female NASA engineer. Finally, we have Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughn, who became the first black female supervisor at NASA. I really loved this movie and I wholeheartedly recommend it.


The Imitation Game

Alan Turing was a hero. What his own government did to him afterward is a great injustice similar but not equivalent to the injustices detailed in Hidden Figures. Alan Turing was one of the people who helped along the invention of the computer. He saw a problem and worked smarter rather than working harder. He invented the machine to do the codebreaking that would have taken the Allies millions of years to complete. He was also a human being who did not really fit in with human society of his time. Alan Turing was a very literal human being who did not understand how social interaction was supposed to work. I really identified with his social awkwardness. He was also gay at a time when it was illegal in England. The revelation and subsequent criminal charges ruined his career and his life. It was an absolute tragedy. Benedict Cumberbatch is so good as Alan Turing and Turing’s surviving relatives have all praised him for his accuracy. The movie is also good at depicting England during World War II and the inner workings of the military and MI6. The Turing Test (or titular The Imitation Game) is absolutely something created by a man who spent his life trying to be a normal human. I definitely recommend this one too.


The Theory of Everything

Dr. Stephen Hawking has been famous since I can remember. Next to Albert Einstein, he was always the go to name when you wanted a reference to a smart person. His intellect is obviously enormous. He has provided huge advancements in the field of cosmology and quantum physics. He helped us understand how our universe works and he continues to help science in general. This film is based on a book by Jane Hawking who was married to Stephen for a very long time. Dr. Hawking was tragically cut down by Lou Gehrig’s disease which has cut off his motor functions. His brain has remained not only intact but sharp as ever. Of course, this and Hawking’s personality made it hard for Jane to be married to Stephen. This is a story of a very smart couple. Stephen is incredibly intelligent and Jane is right there beside him the whole way. Besides the disease, there is some friction between science and Jane’s religion but they manage to make it work. Clearly, what they went through was hard and I will not lie, it was also hard to watch. It is an important story. Eddie Redmayne plays Dr. Hawking and he is impossible not to like even when he’s being an ass. His physicality is amazing. Mrs. Hawking is played by Felicity Jones and, even though I do not agree with her often, she is an inspiring woman. I recommend it as it is good but it was a hard watch.

Weekly Music:
Fifth Harmony ft. Kid Ink – Worth It

Chance The Rapper ft. Saba – Angels

Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On

The Stranglers – Blue Sister

Darius Rucker – Wagon Wheel

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Applied Maths”
– I am now watching Haven Season 5
– I kept watching The Librarians
– I started Season 2 of The Magicians
– I started Season 3 of Blue Bloods
– I finished Season One of The Seven Deadly Sins


Adventures of a MathBrat

Random Things I Find Energy To Blog About

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

Wolfenoot

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

Art, Poetry, Spirituality & Whimsy

The Bloggess

Bizarre thoughts from author Jenny Lawson - Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Damyanti Biswas

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

An Empire of Stories

Where fiction comes to life

DMing With Charisma

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

%d bloggers like this: