by guest blogger Ray
Welcome to the inaugural Basic Science column, where I’ll be dissecting movies and TV shows with an eye toward how well they deal with basic scientific concepts.
Now, don’t get me wrong. When I say basic, I really do mean that. I’m all for suspension of disbelief when it comes to entertainment, and I love my vacuum-of-space ‘splosions as much as the next guy – not everything can be Firefly in that regard, nor would we want it to be. For the Fail Editions, I’ll mostly be calling out movies that wouldn’t get past your basic fifth-grade science class audit. And you’d be surprised how much of this there is out there . That isn’t to say that I won’t take the occasional cheap shot at a script that uses super-technical language without understanding what it means, but I’ll try to keep this as gentlemanly as possible. And, I hope, at least a little instructive in the process.
So, without further ado, we’ll get to our first offender: 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. After the hot mess of Transformers, and the racist fever dream that was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I was really hoping that the next live action, millennial adaptation of a favorite 80’s cartoon might get it right. And most of the reviews I read about G.I. Joe summed it up as “at least it’s better than Transformers,” so I went into the thing cautiously optimistic… and came out resoundingly “meh.” I enjoyed seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt chew scenery as the (spoiler alert) soon-to-be Cobra Commander, but other than that, the movie was woefully miscast (Figure 1) and over-the-top bombastic. But silly script and other flaws aside, the film’s science was laugh-out-loud bad.
Figure 1: Real American Hero (l); Real American dudebro (r)