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Dear Hollywood, from Science

We need to talk

Dean Burnett 13 April 2010

Fluffy: the movies could use better science

World leaders in the field of physics are never in their twenties. And they don’t look like Denise Richards

Dear Hollywood,

Hello. How are you doing these days? Well I hope, but to be honest I’m getting the impression that you’re having a few issues. Nothing major, but the signs are all there. The vivid 3D hallucinations, constantly repeating things other people have said but in a more garbled form, constantly repeating yourself with remakes, rebooting the Spiderman movie franchise less than ten years after it started, etc. The list goes on, so I thought I’d write to you.

Just to clarify, it’s me, the anthropomorphic personification of Science. Remember me? No, not the L. Ron Hubbard cult, that’s Scientology. I know they claim to be a religion, but that’s not helping matters as far as I’m concerned, as I’m Science (pretty sure I mentioned that, but I do have a habit of reconfirming my claims). That Scientoligism abomination and I have nothing in common, apart from the vaguely similar spelling. Did Scientopathy tell you it was me? That might explain why you seem to be obeying its every command. If it’s trading on my name, then I seriously need to get the law involved. Admittedly, I’m not sure if the law really applies to human-suit-wearing aliens with psychic powers. That’s what Sciatholcisism believes, isn’t it? There’s always a loophole!

But I’m Science, the real one. You should recognise me; you actually end up using a lot of the work I do with Fiction. Fiction and I do collaborate a lot, and you do seem to like turning our output into big-budget movies that gross millions (speaking of which, I’m still waiting for my share of the proceeds, any news on that? It’s been a while now, baby needs a new pair of mass spectrometers, and all that).

In honesty, that’s what I’m writing to you about. I’ve tried calling but I keep getting brushed off by agents and/or Tom Cruise, who keeps screaming about the residents of Pangathor who will devour my entrails for disrespecting his powers (I think, I can only really make out one word in four what with all the hysterical yelling and the high-pitched voice. I didn’t realise he was an actual gremlin, who knew?)

Anyway, I was thinking, is there any chance you and I could get together soon? Partly to sort out the royalties thing, but I think we could help each other too. I could use some more publicity, and you clearly need some help as you appear to have, in no uncertain terms, lost it. I could help you regain some focus, maybe a bit of realism and credibility. It can’t hurt. Or maybe it can actually, can’t rule that out.

I’ve noticed that lately you only seem to make movies based on comics or TV series. Or bizarrely popular pop-culture books, which are themselves ridiculous. (Sparkly vampires? When you get the details so ‘wrong’ on a fictional species, something is amiss.) And speaking of which, you know those people who work for you and want to be part of you? You are aware that that isn’t how humans are meant to look, right? You don’t seem to be aware of the general appearance of the species Homo sapiens sapiens, I have some pictures if that helps.

My opinion? You clearly need some new inspiration, and a firm hand in presenting it. I can help. Forget about Fiction: we still work together but that guy is notoriously unreliable, and a bit of a nightmare. When we collaborate on projects, I have to do all the organising. I ask him for a schedule for his contribution and he just makes it up! It’s a complete work of...well, you get the idea.

You and Fiction are good friends, I understand that, but I’m afraid he’s misled you with regards to the impression he’s given you about how I work. If I’m going to help you out, I need you to issue corrections for the following mistakes you’ve made recently:

  • In order to keep people alive, you need to put more energy into them than you’d get out. Laws of physics and biology say so, so you couldn’t use them as a power ‘source’. Anyone with a vague understanding of science would know that, so horrifically powerful super-intelligent machines would have no trouble figuring it out. [The Matrix]
  • A planet wouldn’t have a stronger gravitational pull after it explodes, especially if a spaceship had passed through the core unscathed just minutes beforehand. And bubbles don’t get heavier after you pop them. [Lost in Space]
  • World leaders in the field of physics are never in their twenties. And they don’t look like Denise Richards, for numerous reasons. A lot of the other (largely male) physicists wish they did, no doubt, but I have to go by the evidence presented. [The World Is Not Enough]
  • The Gulf stream goes in the other direction, amongst many, many other things. Also, it’s not really necessary to burn books in a room full of superfluous wood. [The Day After Tomorrow]
  • I’m pretty sure a trained vet couldn’t perform a successful human heart transplant in a tent in a post-apocalyptic desert. Admittedly, ‘sand in the aorta’ is not something that surgeons ever had to worry about, but I can’t see it being any good for the patient. [Terminator Salvation]
  • A small rocket that pushes you ‘down’ wouldn’t exactly simulate gravity. It would feel more like ‘there’s a small rocket pushing me into the ground’. This would probably be quite awkward in zero-gee, tilt forward slightly and you’d fly backwards. Not useful for a people who have no duties other than ‘drilling’, which mainly takes place in the direction of ‘down’. [Armageddon]
  • Despite the impression given by their effective marketing, an Apple laptop is unlikely to be able to overpower the entire mainframe of an advanced intergalactic civilisation (An iPhone might, if it has the right app). [Independence Day]
  • If I did know how to produce several pounds of antimatter, I can think of millions of better things to do with it than ‘hide it under the Vatican’, however tempting that might be. [Angels and Demons]
  • There were never any ‘steam powered cyborgs’, not even in the wiki-wiki Wild Wild West. Especially not, in fact, considering their limited understanding of the nervous system and bio-electric mechanical compatibility. [Wild Wild West].
  • No! Just… just… no! [The Core]

You see where I’m coming from? I think I happen to be exciting enough without all the fictional aspects. In the past few months I’ve been accused of deliberately giving children autism, inventing climate change and trying to swallow the whole planet in a black hole (all without even trying).

Let me know if you fancy working together, yeah? I think films about real science would be a winner. They’d be a lot more accurate than most science-fiction movies. Admittedly, they’d be about eleven months longer, but think of all the popcorn and DVDs you could sell!

Love and kisses,

Science (BA hons)

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