Armageddon Review: SPOILED

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Louann Miller

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Jun 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/25/98
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Armageddon: On Second Thought, Global Extinction's Okay

As a general rule, Hollywood tells two different kinds of
stories about space. There's the science fiction story, such
as "Star Wars," where space travel is simply an excuse to
put some nifty effects on an action-movie plot. Then there's
the science fact story, like "The Right Stuff" or "Apollo
13" or HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon," where the physics
is taken seriously and the scientific method is as useful
(and noble) a problem solving tool as high explosives. Only
the rarest Hollywood movie combines the two techniques and
gives us both good science and good fiction as seen in the
best of written SF. You can cite "Destination Moon" from the
1950's, "2001 A Space Odyssey," and possibly "Contact."
Unless you're heavily medicated, or unless you were
fortunate enough to see an entirely different movie,
"Armageddon" is never going to make this select list.

They led us on; they deliberately lied to us. Serious
science fiction fans saw Gale Anne Hurd's name in the list
of producers, and remembering her sterling work on "The
Abyss" and "Alien Nation" we thought we really had a chance.
We should have looked at all the other names: TEN separate
writers, seven producers. The results can never be good when
that many people are peeing in the pool. No group that size
can decide where to go for lunch, let alone how to tell a
coherent story.

So, on to business. The good news is that New York City
(including a street vendor selling Godzilla souvenirs) gets
bombarded with meteors early on. The bad news is that an
asteroid 'the size of Texas' is coming on the same
trajectory in only 18 days. NASA is helpless. They try a
little creative problem-solving a la "Apollo 13" -- like all
the ideas stolen from the real Apollo documentaries, one of
their better scenes. All they can come up with is sending
Bruce Willis, cranky oil-rig driller, and some of his
cronies up in two conveniently advanced shuttles to dig a
nuke into the surface of the big rock and break it in half.

There's a necessary compromise between science and sci-fi at
this point. On the one hand, action movie law dictates that
only the renegade character -- the outsider, the cop in
trouble with his superiors, the spy who breaks all the rules
-- can get anything done. Rules are for idiots, right? On
the other hand the target audience is a little too smart to
buy ol' Bruce learning shuttle piloting in a couple of
weeks. Also a production company that wants a good
relationship with NASA (much shooting was done at real
locations) can't scorn real astronauts too badly. So each
shuttle has a crew of two actual trained pilots, who
occasionally behave like astronauts. Some of them even have
lines. The best developed are Col. Sharp, who has some real
lines of dialog, and Watts, a blond female pilot who has
long hair and breasts.

The bizarre-but-lovable oil riggers go through a very
compressed form of astronaut training in another good set of
scenes, this time stolen from "The Right Stuff." Liv Tyler,
Bruce's beautiful daughter, hangs around being in love with
the youngest oil rigger and reacting to things. A.J. (Ben
Affleck) is a good-looking fellow who makes Bruce look
mature and sensible by being even more childish than Bruce
is. Most of the other riggers are stereotypes -- youngish
blond nerd, chubby mama's boy, big muscular black guy. Steve
Buscemi is also hanging around. I'm told he's quite a good
actor, but you can't prove it here. He uses the same acting
tools he used in "Con Air" -- basically, being a pale
snaggle-toothed guy who looks like a child molester -- but
this time he gets to say longer words. Rather than having to
be scarier than John Malkovich, he simply has to be funnier
than Bruce Willis, a task easily accomplished by many small
children.

After the two shuttles take off, the screaming begins. Not
from meteor-stricken cities, although we get some of that
too. These screams are coming from audience members who
thought there might be some real science and/or interesting
storytelling taking place. There's a crappy Russian
satellite (never called Mir) with a crazed Russian on board.
There are people not only out-running but out ladder-
climbing explosions. There's asteroid-dodging like in
"Empire Strikes Back." There are evil military men who want
the problem solved their way, even if it means the
extinction of the human race. There's fun with nuclear
weapons. There's magic asteroid debris -- no matter how many
bits of rock are in motion, the only people whose helmets
get shattered are minor characters you didn't care about.

There are sealed secret orders, complete with handguns for
taking over the ship with. There are drilling rig buggies,
two of them, which look exactly like Starbug from "Red
Dwarf." Why each buggy had a Gatling gun mounted on top, I
still haven't figured out. There are evil Air Force guys who
take over Mission Control. There's an Evel Knievel scene.
There's bomb activation, there's endless whining while the
bomb timer runs, there's bomb defusing. They even sneak in
the notorious "cut the red wire -- no, the blue one"
routine. There's the guy who knocks out the other guy and
takes his place. There's the hero who stays behind and dies
that others may live, beating the deadline with two seconds
to spare.

The entire last third of the movie is a mishmash of tired
old action cliches. They spare us nothing except "Let's
sneak through the ventilation ducts" and "Let's knock them
out and steal their uniforms." I can't think how we got so
lucky. The best thing that can be said about the last part
of the movie is that the constant noise level keeps you
awake. This is also the worst thing.

A special vote of sympathy goes out to Billy Bob Thornton,
who plays a Deke Slayton-like head of Mission Control with
much more grace and style than the movie deserves. He had to
be there for this movie, but there's no reason for the rest
of us to suffer.

--
Our ISP is cyberramp.net -- you know the routine...

For media based fan fiction check out
http://www.cyberramp.net/~millers/

Doug Tricarico

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Jun 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/25/98
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In <MPG.ffc3bc0a...@newshost.cyberramp.net>

I'm genuinely puzzled by this review. Gale Anne Hurd's "name" has
little value vis a vis "hard science fiction." The only decent SF film
she's been involved with outside of Cameron is TREMORS, and with crap
like ALIEN NATION, THE RELIC and NO ESCAPE to her credit, TREMORS looks
more and more like a fluke every year.

On the other hand, ARMAGEDDON is directed by Michael Bay, who helmed
the over-the-top, "just that side of believability" action flicks BAD
BOYS and THE ROCK. Combine this knowledge with the few trailers
circulating and I'm astounded that _anyone_ would go into ARMAGEDDON
thinking it would be anything other than CON AIR in space.

ARMAGEDDON is pretty obviously just a Summer Popcorn Movie and should
be taken with a shaker's worth of salt grains, as well as copious
artificial butter-flavored yellow goo.

Whether or not the movie is any good is beside the point: it's supposed
to be a live-action cartoon, with the same attention paid to physics as
a Foghorn Leghorn short. Expecting anything more than cliched
boilerplate is just silly.

Doug


Kristopher/EOS

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Jun 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/25/98
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<snipped tons of debate about what should be expected of Armageddon,
and what was wrong with the movie>

As I keep telling people who have seen the two "shit from space"
movies out this summer, there is no good science and almost nothing
having anythig to do with reality in EITHER of these awful movies.

Kristopher/EOS

Plain and Simple Cronan

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Jun 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/25/98
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Doug Tricarico wrote

>I'm genuinely puzzled by this review. Gale Anne Hurd's "name" has
>little value vis a vis "hard science fiction." The only decent SF film
>she's been involved with outside of Cameron is TREMORS, and with crap
>like ALIEN NATION, THE RELIC and NO ESCAPE to her credit, TREMORS looks
>more and more like a fluke every year.

Alien Nation wasn't that bad and it certainly paved the way for one of the
best scifi series in a very long while....

phenom

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Jun 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/25/98
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Doug Tricarico wrote:
>
> In <MPG.ffc3bc0a...@newshost.cyberramp.net>
> mil...@spamoff.net (Louann Miller) writes:
> >
> I'm genuinely puzzled by this review. Gale Anne Hurd's "name" has
> little value vis a vis "hard science fiction." The only decent SF film
> she's been involved with outside of Cameron is TREMORS, and with crap
> like ALIEN NATION, THE RELIC and NO ESCAPE to her credit, TREMORS looks
> more and more like a fluke every year.
>
> On the other hand, ARMAGEDDON is directed by Michael Bay, who helmed
> the over-the-top, "just that side of believability" action flicks BAD
> BOYS and THE ROCK. Combine this knowledge with the few trailers
> circulating and I'm astounded that _anyone_ would go into ARMAGEDDON
> thinking it would be anything other than CON AIR in space.
>
> ARMAGEDDON is pretty obviously just a Summer Popcorn Movie and should
> be taken with a shaker's worth of salt grains, as well as copious
> artificial butter-flavored yellow goo.
>
> Whether or not the movie is any good is beside the point: it's supposed
> to be a live-action cartoon, with the same attention paid to physics as
> a Foghorn Leghorn short. Expecting anything more than cliched
> boilerplate is just silly.
>
> Doug

Micheal Bay has beautifull visuals, but he looks like he's trying to
direct an expensive music video rather then a full length motion
picture. I would love to see him quit the action adventure gig and try
something a little more serious with some decent writing, then see how
he fares with the audience.

- Can't Spell

Phil Fraering

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Jun 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/25/98
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Kristopher/EOS <eosl...@net-link.net> writes:

Well, all the magazine articles I keep reading about them go *on and on*
about how they made all the changes the Science Advisors wanted changed.

--
Phil Fraering "You will cooperate with Microsoft, for the
p...@globalreach.net good of Microsoft and for your own survival."
/Will work for *tape*/ - Navindra Umanee

Phil Fraering

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Jun 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/25/98
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Anyone know where I could rent a pair of bots to watch this sucker with?

Doug Tricarico

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
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In <6mup9f$m34$1...@samsara0.mindspring.com> "Plain and Simple Cronan"
<cro...@DeathsDoor.com> writes:
>
>
>Doug Tricarico wrote

>
>>I'm genuinely puzzled by this review. Gale Anne Hurd's "name"
>>has little value vis a vis "hard science fiction." The only
>>decent SF film she's been involved with outside of Cameron is
>>TREMORS, and with crap like ALIEN NATION, THE RELIC and NO ESCAPE
>>to her credit, TREMORS looks more and more like a fluke every year.
>
>Alien Nation wasn't that bad and it certainly paved the way for
>one of the best scifi series in a very long while....

Opinions differ. <shrug>

Doug


Keith Morrison

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
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Phil Fraering wrote:

> > As I keep telling people who have seen the two "shit from space"
> > movies out this summer, there is no good science and almost nothing
> > having anythig to do with reality in EITHER of these awful movies.
>
> Well, all the magazine articles I keep reading about them go *on and on*
> about how they made all the changes the Science Advisors wanted changed.

Yeah, well "Volcano" (the world's first geological comedy) supposedly
had an advisor as well.

I understand the USGS has put out a bounty on him.

--
Keith Morrison
kei...@polarnet.ca

Pentti J Lajunen

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
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phenom <phe...@concentric.net> writes:

> Micheal Bay has beautifull visuals


Maybe, if he let them be on the screen more than 2 seconds at a time
and fixed his camera stand. In fact I haven't seen enough stable
images from him to judge whether his visuals are beautiful or not.


John Harkness

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
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phenom wrote:

> Micheal Bay has beautifull visuals, but he looks like he's trying to
> direct an expensive music video rather then a full length motion
> picture. I would love to see him quit the action adventure gig and try
> something a little more serious with some decent writing, then see how
> he fares with the audience.

You want to see that brain dead moron direct something that requires
regular human emotions, some intelligence and a feeling for human
behaviour?

I'm just thinking of the tender love scene in that picture, which would
no doubt be interrupted by sweaty guys yelling "GO GO GO, we're on the
clock here!"

The mind wobbles.

John
President
The Michael Bay Must Die Slowly Society

ckirste2

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
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Kristopher/EOS wrote:
>
> <snipped tons of debate about what should be expected of Armageddon,
> and what was wrong with the movie>
>
> As I keep telling people who have seen the two "shit from space"
> movies out this summer, there is no good science and almost nothing
> having anythig to do with reality in EITHER of these awful movies.
>
> Kristopher/EOS


Guys, guys , guys...it is a MOVIE!!! Lighten up! If you worry about all
the scientific details then you would NEVER enjoy any movie at all. That
is why movies were invented(in my humble opinion) to escape reality and
enjoy the entertainment for a few hours or so. Calm down and have
another ju-ju fruit!!

chris

John Harkness

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
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ckirste2 wrote:

> Kristopher/EOS wrote:

> > Kristopher/EOS

> chris

Yes. embrace the inner stupidity of the filmmakers.

John
President
The Michael Bay Must Die Slowly Association

Louann Miller

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
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In article <35938B...@ford.com>, ckir...@ford.com
says...


> Guys, guys , guys...it is a MOVIE!!! Lighten up! If you worry about all
> the scientific details then you would NEVER enjoy any movie at all. That
> is why movies were invented(in my humble opinion) to escape reality and
> enjoy the entertainment for a few hours or so. Calm down and have
> another ju-ju fruit!!
>
> chris

Movies should not be so badly made that you have to make
yourself stupid to enjoy them. Note the cross-post to
rec.arts.sf.written. In the subset known as 'hard' science
fiction, we demand not only plot and characterization but a
certain degree of plausibility in physics. Sometimes we even
get it. Are movie makers stupider than science fiction
writers, and if so is this a desirable thing?

Armageddon would have made a good farce along the lines of
"Red Dwarf," and it rode the line a couple of times. It's
the combination of pretended seriousness and incompetence
that really bites.

Andrew Plotkin

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
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ckirste2 (ckir...@ford.com) wrote:

> Guys, guys , guys...it is a MOVIE!!! Lighten up! If you worry about all
> the scientific details then you would NEVER enjoy any movie at all.

I hate this point of view passionately.

Some people say "lighten up" about bad writing, bad acting, inept
camerawork, or the film melting just before the climactic scene. If I
ignore all of my standards of enjoyment, I *really* won't ever enjoy
anything. Phooey on that.

I enjoy what I enjoy. Science is part of that.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

phenom

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
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The way I figure it, if the producers took out all diolog and replaced
it with music by Aerosmith then it would be far more entertaining and to
the expectations of the director (in my opinion) then what will open on
july 1.

- Can't spell

phenom

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
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> John
> President
> The Michael Bay Must Die Slowly Society

It was just a thought, what? does the guy owe you money or something?

phenom

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
to

ckirste2 wrote:
>
> Kristopher/EOS wrote:
> >
> > <snipped tons of debate about what should be expected of Armageddon,
> > and what was wrong with the movie>
> >
> > As I keep telling people who have seen the two "shit from space"
> > movies out this summer, there is no good science and almost nothing
> > having anythig to do with reality in EITHER of these awful movies.
> >
> > Kristopher/EOS
>
> Guys, guys , guys...it is a MOVIE!!! Lighten up! If you worry about all
> the scientific details then you would NEVER enjoy any movie at all. That
> is why movies were invented(in my humble opinion) to escape reality and
> enjoy the entertainment for a few hours or so. Calm down and have
> another ju-ju fruit!!
>
> chris

But there has to be something said about a film insulting your
intelligence. I mean I wouldn't go see the Barney Movie just to escape
reality, but I would complain like an old fart. Oh-well.

- Can't spell

Kristopher/EOS

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Jun 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/26/98
to

ckirste2 wrote:
>
> Kristopher/EOS wrote:
> >
> > <snipped tons of debate about what should be expected of Armageddon,
> > and what was wrong with the movie>
> >
> > As I keep telling people who have seen the two "shit from space"
> > movies out this summer, there is no good science and almost nothing
> > having anythig to do with reality in EITHER of these awful movies.
> >
> > Kristopher/EOS
>
> Guys, guys , guys...it is a MOVIE!!! Lighten up! If you worry about all
> the scientific details then you would NEVER enjoy any movie at all. That
> is why movies were invented(in my humble opinion) to escape reality and
> enjoy the entertainment for a few hours or so. Calm down and have
> another ju-ju fruit!!
>
> chris

I hate ju-ju-fruit.

Kristopher/EOS

Matthew R Blackwell

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Jun 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/27/98
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On 25 Jun 1998 21:13:46 -0500, Phil Fraering <p...@globalreach.net>
wrote:

>Anyone know where I could rent a pair of bots to watch this sucker with?

Try e-mailing cr...@biteme.com. They might be able to help you.

deering

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Jun 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/27/98
to

John Harkness (j...@netcom.ca) wrote:
: phenom wrote:

: > Micheal Bay has beautifull visuals, but he looks like he's trying to
: > direct an expensive music video rather then a full length motion
: > picture. I would love to see him quit the action adventure gig and try
: > something a little more serious with some decent writing, then see how
: > he fares with the audience.

: You want to see that brain dead moron direct something that requires
: regular human emotions, some intelligence and a feeling for human
: behaviour?


God forbid--g! Just when I had hoped that type of rock video "visual
powee uber allies"
style of moviemaking had taken a fatal hit from Russel Mulcahy and Julien
Temple's commercial failures, here comes Michael Bay--:PPPPPPPPPP

: I'm just thinking of the tender love scene in that picture, which would


: no doubt be interrupted by sweaty guys yelling "GO GO GO, we're on the
: clock here!"

: The mind wobbles.

I swear, if anyone had the misfortune to watch THE ROCK and BATMAN AND
ROBIN back to back, they would suffer permanent damage to their ability to
discern spatial relationships...g! I have no beef against a crisp pace,
but when you can't tell where anyone is in relation to everyone else, it
has a bad effect on creating suspense. . .


C.
**

Louann Miller

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Jun 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/27/98
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In article <6n2274$e5q$1...@earth.superlink.net>,
dee...@saturn.superlink.net says...

> I swear, if anyone had the misfortune to watch THE ROCK and BATMAN AND
> ROBIN back to back, they would suffer permanent damage to their ability to
> discern spatial relationships...g! I have no beef against a crisp pace,
> but when you can't tell where anyone is in relation to everyone else, it
> has a bad effect on creating suspense. . .

"The Rock" wasn't too bad, but then it had a script.
"Armageddon" didn't distort space so much as causality
itself.

Major gripe I unaccountably left out of my review: the
drillers absolutely MUST dig a hole 800 feet deep into the
asteroid, before an unbreakable deadline, or Earth will be
destroyed. This is the best drilling team in the entire
world.

They dig at a 45 degree angle. Says it all, really.

phenom

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Jun 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/27/98
to

deering wrote:
>
> John Harkness (j...@netcom.ca) wrote:
> : phenom wrote:
>
> : > Micheal Bay has beautifull visuals, but he looks like he's trying to
> : > direct an expensive music video rather then a full length motion
> : > picture. I would love to see him quit the action adventure gig and try
> : > something a little more serious with some decent writing, then see how
> : > he fares with the audience.
>
> : You want to see that brain dead moron direct something that requires
> : regular human emotions, some intelligence and a feeling for human
> : behaviour?
>
> God forbid--g! Just when I had hoped that type of rock video "visual
> powee uber allies"
> style of moviemaking had taken a fatal hit from Russel Mulcahy and Julien
> Temple's commercial failures, here comes Michael Bay--:PPPPPPPPPP
>
> : I'm just thinking of the tender love scene in that picture, which would
> : no doubt be interrupted by sweaty guys yelling "GO GO GO, we're on the
> : clock here!"
>
> : The mind wobbles.
>
> I swear, if anyone had the misfortune to watch THE ROCK and BATMAN AND
> ROBIN back to back, they would suffer permanent damage to their ability to
> discern spatial relationships...g! I have no beef against a crisp pace,
> but when you can't tell where anyone is in relation to everyone else, it
> has a bad effect on creating suspense. . .
>
> C.
> **

Opinions are fun? aren't they?

J

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Jun 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/27/98
to

_Armageddon_ is starting to sound more and more like it was conceived in one
of those Reese's peanut butter cup-moments: Michael Bay was watching his
_The Rock_ and _ConAir_ on a VCR one day, made a connection between a
"floating" rock and a flying vessel full of criminal misfits, threw the
tapes up in the air in "Kubrickean glee" and voila! - _Armageddon_!

Sadly, Michael forgot what happens when mortals dabble in such black art.
Like when Corman (sp?) wanted to make a _Mad Max_ on water.

phenom wrote in message <3593B4...@concentric.net>...


>John Harkness wrote:
>>
>> phenom wrote:
>>
>> > Micheal Bay has beautifull visuals, but he looks like he's
trying to
>> > direct an expensive music video rather then a full length motion
>> > picture. I would love to see him quit the action adventure gig and try
>> > something a little more serious with some decent writing, then see how
>> > he fares with the audience.
>>
>> You want to see that brain dead moron direct something that requires
>> regular human emotions, some intelligence and a feeling for human
>> behaviour?
>>

>> I'm just thinking of the tender love scene in that picture, which would
>> no doubt be interrupted by sweaty guys yelling "GO GO GO, we're on the
>> clock here!"
>>
>> The mind wobbles.
>>

>> John
>> President
>> The Michael Bay Must Die Slowly Society
>
> It was just a thought, what? does the guy owe you money or something?


Judging by the vocal quorum of the NG, Michael owes John between $6 to $10,
not to mention two and a half hours' of time.

J
sali...@no-spam.primary.net
(for sending E-mail - which one of these is not like the other?)


J

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Jun 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/27/98
to

Louann Miller wrote in message ...


>In article <6n2274$e5q$1...@earth.superlink.net>,
>dee...@saturn.superlink.net says...
>

>> I swear, if anyone had the misfortune to watch THE ROCK and BATMAN AND
>> ROBIN back to back, they would suffer permanent damage to their ability
to
>> discern spatial relationships...g! I have no beef against a crisp pace,
>> but when you can't tell where anyone is in relation to everyone else, it
>> has a bad effect on creating suspense. . .


There's a report about it in "Omni" this month. . .

>
>"The Rock" wasn't too bad, but then it had a script.
>"Armageddon" didn't distort space so much as causality
>itself.
>
>Major gripe I unaccountably left out of my review: the
>drillers absolutely MUST dig a hole 800 feet deep into the
>asteroid, before an unbreakable deadline, or Earth will be
>destroyed. This is the best drilling team in the entire
>world.
>
>They dig at a 45 degree angle. Says it all, really.
>

Cripes. Do they run into Vulcan, Venus, and Baron Munchausen on the way?

What's the explosive device - a uranium P-38 space modulator?

>--
>Our ISP is cyberramp.net -- you know the routine...
>
>For media based fan fiction check out
>http://www.cyberramp.net/~millers/

J

J

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Jun 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/27/98
to

J, without checking his references beforehand, wrote in message
<3595b...@news.primary.net>...


>_Armageddon_ is starting to sound more and more like it was conceived in
one
>of those Reese's peanut butter cup-moments: Michael Bay was watching his

>_The Rock_ and _Con Air_ on a VCR one day, made a connection between a


>"floating" rock and a flying vessel full of criminal misfits, threw the
>tapes up in the air in "Kubrickean glee" and voila! - _Armageddon_!
>

>Sadly, Michael forgot what happens when mortals dabble in such black art;
>like when Corman wanted to make a _Mad Max_ on water.
>

In the above, please replace "Michael Bay" with "Jerry Bruckheimer."

I'm off to lash myself with a wet noodle.

Norman Wilner

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Jun 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/28/98
to

J wrote in message <3595b...@news.primary.net>...

>
>Louann Miller wrote in message ...
>>
>>They dig at a 45 degree angle. Says it all, really.
>
>Cripes. Do they run into Vulcan, Venus, and Baron Munchausen on the way?
>
>What's the explosive device - a uranium P-38 space modulator?

Ooh!

Norm Wilner
Starweek Magazine

Helios7

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Jun 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/28/98
to

Armagededdon = Olestra

Olestra = Armageddon


...Arkadin

Phil Fraering

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Jun 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/28/98
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"J" <sali...@no-spam.primary.net> writes:

> What's the explosive device - a uranium P-38 space modulator?

Eludium Q-38 Explosive Space Modulator. I think.

Possibly it's been referred to as uranium, but I think that
model is barely capable of blowing up the moon.

J. Clarke

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Jul 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/1/98
to

If the science is so far off base that a reasonably informed layman has to
make a concerted effort to hold disbelief in suspension, then the filmmakers
have screwed up. In the case of Armageddon that is the situation. And the
worst offenses served no purpose I can see with regard to advancing the
plot.

--

--John

Reply to jclarke at eye bee em dot net.


ckirste2 wrote in message <35938B...@ford.com>...

John VanSickle

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Jul 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/2/98
to

J. Clarke wrote:
>
> If the science is so far off base that a reasonably informed layman has to
> make a concerted effort to hold disbelief in suspension, then the filmmakers
> have screwed up.

As far as I can tell, Hollywood movie producers' knowledge of science
was mostly obtained from Roadrunner cartoons.

Regards,
John

John Adcox

unread,
Jul 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/2/98
to

Kinda makes me wonder if it's even POSSIBLE to make a completely accurate
science fiction space movie. Has anything other than 2001 even come close?
Opinions?

John

--
John Adcox

Visit My Web Site!
http://jadcox.home.mindspring.com

King Arthur, Mythology and Folklore,
Books and literature, resources for writers,
Entertainment, the Arts, Music,
Religion, Philosophy, fantasy and more!

SKUMM

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Jul 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/2/98
to

John Adcox wrote:
>
> Kinda makes me wonder if it's even POSSIBLE to make a completely accurate
> science fiction space movie. Has anything other than 2001 even come close?
> Opinions?

The original alien was very nice. Didn't involve much scientific
accuracy but it didn't matter since it was so far into the future that
alot of that jargon wasn't too offensive. In actuality almost
believable. Same with aliens in fact.

John Harkness

unread,
Jul 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/2/98
to

John Adcox wrote:
>
> Kinda makes me wonder if it's even POSSIBLE to make a completely accurate
> science fiction space movie. Has anything other than 2001 even come close?
> Opinions?
>
> John
>
> --
> John Adcox

Silent Running?

and that weird double bill of Terminator and Back to The Future, which
managed the loop logic of time travel quite nicely, I thought.

John

Porpoise Razor

unread,
Jul 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/3/98
to

Apollo 13. I'm not trying to start a debate as to whether that's a sci fi
film, either... But you know.
--
Porpoise Razor - Film Student, jackass of all trades
http://www.lifs.org.uk The London International Film School
[All opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the LIFS]

John Adcox <jad...@mindspring.com> wrote in article
<jadcox-ya02408000...@news.mindspring.com>...

Doug

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Jul 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/3/98
to

On Thu, 02 Jul 1998 20:27:54 -0400, John Harkness <j...@netcom.ca>
wrote:

>John Adcox wrote:
>>
>> Kinda makes me wonder if it's even POSSIBLE to make a completely accurate
>> science fiction space movie. Has anything other than 2001 even come close?
>> Opinions?
>>

>> John
>>
>> --
>> John Adcox
>
>Silent Running?
>

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the main character's
brilliant flash of insight that all the plants were dying because
sunlight's a lot weaker around the orbit of Saturn? Keep in mind, no
one on Earth managed to figure this out...

Doug

John Harkness

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Jul 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/3/98
to

Doug wrote:

> On Thu, 02 Jul 1998 20:27:54 -0400, John Harkness <j...@netcom.ca>
> wrote:

> >John Adcox wrote:

> >> Kinda makes me wonder if it's even POSSIBLE to make a completely accurate
> >> science fiction space movie. Has anything other than 2001 even come close?
> >> Opinions?

> >> John


> >> John Adcox

> >Silent Running?


> Please correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the main character's
> brilliant flash of insight that all the plants were dying because
> sunlight's a lot weaker around the orbit of Saturn? Keep in mind, no
> one on Earth managed to figure this out...

> Doug

Beats me. I haven't seen it in ten or twelve years.

At least Jerry Bruckheimer didn't produce it.

John

Maestro

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Jul 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/3/98
to


SKUMM wrote:

> John Adcox wrote:
> >
> > Kinda makes me wonder if it's even POSSIBLE to make a completely accurate
> > science fiction space movie. Has anything other than 2001 even come close?
> > Opinions?
>

> The original alien was very nice. Didn't involve much scientific
> accuracy but it didn't matter since it was so far into the future that
> alot of that jargon wasn't too offensive. In actuality almost
> believable. Same with aliens in fact.

One thing to judge whether a sci-fi movie is good or insightful (instead of
"accurate") is to see how well it holds up against time. 2001 Space Odessey is
a good example. I watched Alien on tape again recently and was amazed how well
the technology still looked realistic.


Keith Morrison

unread,
Jul 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/3/98
to

Maestro wrote:

> > The original alien was very nice. Didn't involve much scientific
> > accuracy but it didn't matter since it was so far into the future that
> > alot of that jargon wasn't too offensive. In actuality almost
> > believable. Same with aliens in fact.
>
> One thing to judge whether a sci-fi movie is good or insightful (instead of
> "accurate") is to see how well it holds up against time. 2001 Space Odessey is
> a good example. I watched Alien on tape again recently and was amazed how well
> the technology still looked realistic.

The only thing that it might flop on was the computer interface
technology. Big ol' CRTs with EGA graphics. But computer tech
is inherently almost impossible to predict, so you have to forgive
them that one.

--
Keith Morrison
kei...@polarnet.ca

SKUMM

unread,
Jul 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/3/98
to

Maestro wrote:
>
> SKUMM wrote:
>
> > John Adcox wrote:
> > >
> > > Kinda makes me wonder if it's even POSSIBLE to make a completely accurate
> > > science fiction space movie. Has anything other than 2001 even come close?
> > > Opinions?
> >
> > The original alien was very nice. Didn't involve much scientific
> > accuracy but it didn't matter since it was so far into the future that
> > alot of that jargon wasn't too offensive. In actuality almost
> > believable. Same with aliens in fact.
>
> One thing to judge whether a sci-fi movie is good or insightful (instead of
> "accurate") is to see how well it holds up against time. 2001 Space Odessey is
> a good example. I watched Alien on tape again recently and was amazed how well
> the technology still looked realistic.

Yeah, I liked the monolithic/nuts and bolts feel of the machinery in
that first alien film. It mirrors how our modern space technology looks
now, and I think It's where the technology would go in the next century
not to mention how it would look.

Syd Mead put it well when he said all they did on the technology for
blade runner was 'retro-fit' what we had now.

John VanSickle

unread,
Jul 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/3/98
to

John Adcox wrote:
>
> Kinda makes me wonder if it's even POSSIBLE to make a completely accurate
> science fiction space movie. Has anything other than 2001 even come close?
> Opinions?

It would be most difficult to do in any movie house where the higher-
ups have the attitude that they can freely meddle in an ongoing project
without ruining it. Toss in a few producers who got their job based
on who they know, rather than their ability to produce a film worth
paying matinee prices to see, and you get the current situation in
Hollywood.

Every once in a while Hollywood puts out a decent flick, and the
organizational structure is generally the same: A benevolent
dictatorship. One person is in charge of the whole operation, and
either knows exactly what they're doing, or is faithfully following the
advice of someone who does. To make a good SF flick, it will take
a producer who had total control of production, and who either knows
the science behind the tale, or who actually listens to the people
who do. I don't know the working relationship Kubrick had with
Clarke, but I would venture to say that when Clarke said something,
Kubrick at least heard him out.

Regards,
John

John VanSickle

unread,
Jul 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/3/98
to

Porpoise Razor wrote:
>
> Apollo 13. I'm not trying to start a debate as to whether that's a
> sci fi film, either... But you know.

It isn't science fiction. It's science fact.

And a darn good film, to boot.

Regards,
John

Louann Miller

unread,
Jul 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/4/98
to

In article <359D60BB...@erols.com>, vans...@erols.com
says...

> Every once in a while Hollywood puts out a decent flick, and the
> organizational structure is generally the same: A benevolent
> dictatorship. One person is in charge of the whole operation, and
> either knows exactly what they're doing, or is faithfully following the
> advice of someone who does. To make a good SF flick, it will take
> a producer who had total control of production, and who either knows
> the science behind the tale, or who actually listens to the people
> who do. I don't know the working relationship Kubrick had with
> Clarke, but I would venture to say that when Clarke said something,
> Kubrick at least heard him out.

Two words. Babylon. Five.

Robert Sneddon

unread,
Jul 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/5/98
to

In article <6nn1vl$sur$2...@cnn.Princeton.EDU>, one side of moebius
<shelton@princeton&spambane.edu> writes

>On the other hand, at least in the eps I've seen, they actually have
>Newton's laws working correctly. Which is a step above Star Trek. (:

How many G's are being pulled in the rotating section of the B5
station? Given it's supposed size, I think the angular rotation I
observe during the title sequences is too high, but I don't have exact
figures.

--
To reply by email, send to nojay (at) public (period) antipope (dot) org

Robert Sneddon

John Schilling

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Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to

Robert Sneddon <no...@nospam.demon.co.uk> writes:

>In article <6nn1vl$sur$2...@cnn.Princeton.EDU>, one side of moebius
><shelton@princeton&spambane.edu> writes

>>On the other hand, at least in the eps I've seen, they actually have
>>Newton's laws working correctly. Which is a step above Star Trek. (:

> How many G's are being pulled in the rotating section of the B5
>station? Given it's supposed size, I think the angular rotation I
>observe during the title sequences is too high, but I don't have exact
>figures.


Approximately 1 G at the rim, for a radius of 1 km and a rotation rate of
1 rpm. Those numbers all fit with each other, and with what is observed
in most of the exterior shots, reasonably well. That was one of the first
problems the video freeze-frame junkies looked at.


Bottom line is, for about the first three seasons Babylon 5's depictions
of space travel, newtonian mechanics, and so forth, were surprisingly
good. They switched effects houses for the fourth and fifth seasons,
and there was some inconsistency as the new guys had to learn on the
fly.


--
*John Schilling * "You can have Peace, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * or you can have Freedom. *
*University of Southern California * Don't ever count on having both *
*Aerospace Engineering Department * at the same time." *
*schi...@spock.usc.edu * - Robert A. Heinlein *
*(213)-740-5311 or 747-2527 * Finger for PGP public key *


Ross TenEyck

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Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to

schi...@spock.usc.edu (John Schilling) writes:
>Robert Sneddon <no...@nospam.demon.co.uk> writes:
>>In article <6nn1vl$sur$2...@cnn.Princeton.EDU>, one side of moebius
>><shelton@princeton&spambane.edu> writes

>>>On the other hand, at least in the eps I've seen, they actually have
>>>Newton's laws working correctly. Which is a step above Star Trek. (:

>> How many G's are being pulled in the rotating section of the B5
>>station? Given it's supposed size, I think the angular rotation I
>>observe during the title sequences is too high, but I don't have exact
>>figures.

>Approximately 1 G at the rim, for a radius of 1 km and a rotation rate of
>1 rpm. Those numbers all fit with each other, and with what is observed
>in most of the exterior shots, reasonably well. That was one of the first
>problems the video freeze-frame junkies looked at.

Yeah... I did those calculations too. *sigh* I'm a geek, I can't
help it.

>Bottom line is, for about the first three seasons Babylon 5's depictions
>of space travel, newtonian mechanics, and so forth, were surprisingly
>good. They switched effects houses for the fourth and fifth seasons,
>and there was some inconsistency as the new guys had to learn on the
>fly.

They were mostly pretty good. A lot of the alien tech fell into
the "sufficiently advanced technology" category, so it did act like
magic, but that was OK.

There were a couple of bobbles based on JMS's misunderstanding of basic
physics, but nothing all that major. Example: in one episode, Marcus
and the doctor are sitting in a cargo freighter heading for Mars. The
freighter is thrusting, but the cargo is in free fall. JMS defended
this by comparing it to the space shuttle in orbit, where it's moving
at some orbital velocity but is still in free fall. Obviously, this
is wrong; but it was a relatively minor point.

The only other cringe-worthy mistake I remember was someone referring
to atmospheric pressure in units of gravities.

--
================= http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~teneyck/ =================
Ross TenEyck Seattle WA \ <Note: the web server that my page is
ten...@alumni.caltech.edu \ on is down for an indefinite period;
Are wa yume? Soretomo maboroshi? \ so, the URL above is temporarily dead>

Robert Sneddon

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Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to

In article <6nr8c7$fp6$1...@animal.blarg.net>, Ross TenEyck
<ten...@animal.blarg.net> writes
>
But somebody else said, of the Babylon 5 station:

>>Approximately 1 G at the rim, for a radius of 1 km and a rotation rate of
>>1 rpm. Those numbers all fit with each other, and with what is observed
>>in most of the exterior shots, reasonably well. That was one of the first
>>problems the video freeze-frame junkies looked at.
>
>Yeah... I did those calculations too. *sigh* I'm a geek, I can't
>help it.

So how do they get 1G in the command bridge, which is almost directly
under the main ship dock, along the non-rotating axis? Magnets and
spinach?

one side of moebius

unread,
Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to

Gary Weiner wrote:
>
> one side of moebius wrote:
>
> Umm. Yea. I guess you could say that the space battle scenes
> do occasionally use newtonian mechanics, especially as concerns
> smaller fighter vessels. A lot of this goes out the window with
> the more "advanced tech" stuff like white stars and such. Not
> to mention EA battle cruisers with huge spinning sections that
> turn on a dime.

er, I think I'm getting out of my depth now; I've only seen the first
season and a half, and this mostly sandwiched between problem sets and
papers. ':)


> And why does every conversation about B-5 have to include
> some reference to Trek?

Because they're the two big sci-fi long-running shows. In order to make
points you need a basis for reference, and that's comparison, and
they're the best things to compare to each other, mostly.

This doesn't stop bab-5 from being vastly superior. (:


> > (who has been unable to watch Trek since the baryon sweep episode
>
> You mean "Die Hard:Enterprise"? Yah, it was a silly episode, but
> I thought it was fun.

But, but, it said right at the beginning that they had to get rid of all
the baryons on the ship! This disillusioned me mightily; you see, up
till then I knew that Trek was not really scientific, but most of their
patchy science they gabbled about in tachyons. I could deal with that;
tachyons are theoretical, poorly understood particles and probably would
have seriously weird effects if they interacted with slower-than-light
material. I could accept tachyons as sort of a short-hand for bad
science. ;) But baryons [1] -- any good dictionary ought to include
that word, and unlike tachyons they are observed and (more or less :)
understood. And if you know what they are, it makes that whole episode
blatantly STUPID and UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE. The way the writers used the
term made it patently obvious that they had no idea what they were
talking about, and moreover, didn't care. So that put paid to Trek. (:

The real question was how did I manage to avoid figuring that out for so
long, and the answer to that was I never really watched Trek all that
often anyway.

jessie


[1] baryons are particles composed of three quarks. This includes such
minor, trivial particles as protons and neutrons, which obviously we
don't want anywhere near a ship.

--
---------------------------------------------------------------
one side of moebius jessie shelton
shelton(AT)princeton.edu http://www.princeton.edu/~shelton
"The first thing to learn is that one cannot learn
everything. The second thing to learn is that this must not
prevent one from trying." --Starandrahi, the Book of Sam
---------------------------------------------------------------

m.a.montalvo

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Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to

In article <5UU6fOAw...@ibfs.demon.co.uk>,

Robert Sneddon <no...@nospam.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>In article <6nr8c7$fp6$1...@animal.blarg.net>, Ross TenEyck
><ten...@animal.blarg.net> writes
>>
> But somebody else said, of the Babylon 5 station:
>
>>>Approximately 1 G at the rim, for a radius of 1 km and a rotation rate of
>>>1 rpm. Those numbers all fit with each other, and with what is observed
>>>in most of the exterior shots, reasonably well. That was one of the first
>>>problems the video freeze-frame junkies looked at.
>>
>>Yeah... I did those calculations too. *sigh* I'm a geek, I can't
>>help it.
>
> So how do they get 1G in the command bridge, which is almost directly
>under the main ship dock, along the non-rotating axis? Magnets and
>spinach?

Officially, C&C is at 1/3G. It just doesn't look it (too low budget, and
jms argues that at twice the moon's gravity, things wouldn't be floating
around; he doesn't seem to understand that people should be moving
differently)....

Maria

Michael Benedetti

unread,
Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to

Not to argue with your general premise, but I do no remember any EP of
Babylon 5 where a Earth Force Cruiser was shown 'turning on a dime'. It is
more likely that a cruiser was shown barreling straight ahead, getting the
shit kicked out of it. Star Trek larger vessels were capable of long
sweeping turns.

Gary Weiner wrote:

> :
>
> Umm. Yea. I guess you could say that the space battle scenes
> do occasionally use newtonian mechanics, especially as concerns
> smaller fighter vessels. A lot of this goes out the window with
> the more "advanced tech" stuff like white stars and such. Not
> to mention EA battle cruisers with huge spinning sections that
> turn on a dime.
>

> And why does every conversation about B-5 have to include
> some reference to Trek?
>

> > jessie


> > (who has been unable to watch Trek since the baryon sweep episode
>
> You mean "Die Hard:Enterprise"? Yah, it was a silly episode, but
> I thought it was fun.
>

> --
> Gary J. Weiner - webm...@hatrack.net
> http://www.hatrack.net
> HatRack Web Design & Hosting - Hang your web with us
> -----
> "And so he says I don't like the cut of your jib. And I go I says, IT'S
> THE ONLY JIB I GOT, BABY!" - The Evil Midnite Bomber what bombs at
> Midnite


John Schilling

unread,
Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to

Robert Sneddon <no...@nospam.demon.co.uk> writes:

>In article <6nr8c7$fp6$1...@animal.blarg.net>, Ross TenEyck
><ten...@animal.blarg.net> writes
>>
> But somebody else said, of the Babylon 5 station:

>>>Approximately 1 G at the rim, for a radius of 1 km and a rotation rate of
>>>1 rpm. Those numbers all fit with each other, and with what is observed
>>>in most of the exterior shots, reasonably well. That was one of the first
>>>problems the video freeze-frame junkies looked at.
>>
>>Yeah... I did those calculations too. *sigh* I'm a geek, I can't
>>help it.

> So how do they get 1G in the command bridge, which is almost directly
>under the main ship dock, along the non-rotating axis? Magnets and
>spinach?


C-in-C is stated, and roughly shown, as being one-third of a station
radius off the spin axis. Which would indicate one-third of standard
gravity.

Straczynski is explicitly of the opinion that people would move in
a 1/3G environment pretty much the way they do on 1G. So long as
we are talking strictly about walking, standing, sitting, pushing
buttons, and so forth, this may not be all that unreasonable. Any
fighting, running, or jumping on the command deck would be another
matter, but I can't recall such offhand.

John Schilling

unread,
Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to

Michael Benedetti <mike.be...@no-spam.lmco.com> writes:

>Not to argue with your general premise, but I do no remember any EP of
>Babylon 5 where a Earth Force Cruiser was shown 'turning on a dime'. It is
>more likely that a cruiser was shown barreling straight ahead, getting the
>shit kicked out of it. Star Trek larger vessels were capable of long
>sweeping turns.


You missed "Severed Dreams"? Middle of the third season? One of the
better episodes of the series, and well worth watching despite the
glitch with the spinning cruisers.

Nontheless, immediately after Delenn's "Only one human captain..."
speech, we are treated to the sight of two Earth Force capital
ships turning through 180 degrees in seconds, despite the fact
that their spin habitats are still themselves rotating. Oops.

Gary Weiner

unread,
Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to

one side of moebius wrote:
>
> Gary Weiner wrote:
> >
> > one side of moebius wrote:
> >
> > Umm. Yea. I guess you could say that the space battle scenes
> > do occasionally use newtonian mechanics, especially as concerns
> > smaller fighter vessels. A lot of this goes out the window with
> > the more "advanced tech" stuff like white stars and such. Not
> > to mention EA battle cruisers with huge spinning sections that
> > turn on a dime.
>
> er, I think I'm getting out of my depth now; I've only seen the first
> season and a half, and this mostly sandwiched between problem sets and
> papers. ':)

Okay then, I'll let you off the hook...this time. ;-)

> > And why does every conversation about B-5 have to include
> > some reference to Trek?
>

> Because they're the two big sci-fi long-running shows. In order to make
> points you need a basis for reference, and that's comparison, and
> they're the best things to compare to each other, mostly.

But I wasn't making any comparison. Do you really think that a
valid response to "B-5 does this poorly" is "Yea, well Trek
is worse!"?



> This doesn't stop bab-5 from being vastly superior. (:

I certainly understand how you can say this, you haven't seen
season 5 of B5. ;-)



> > > (who has been unable to watch Trek since the baryon sweep episode
> >
> > You mean "Die Hard:Enterprise"? Yah, it was a silly episode, but
> > I thought it was fun.
>

> But, but, it said right at the beginning that they had to get rid of all
> the baryons on the ship! This disillusioned me mightily; you see, up
> till then I knew that Trek was not really scientific, but most of their
> patchy science they gabbled about in tachyons. I could deal with that;
> tachyons are theoretical, poorly understood particles and probably would
> have seriously weird effects if they interacted with slower-than-light
> material. I could accept tachyons as sort of a short-hand for bad
> science. ;) But baryons [1] -- any good dictionary ought to include
> that word, and unlike tachyons they are observed and (more or less :)
> understood. And if you know what they are, it makes that whole episode
> blatantly STUPID and UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE. The way the writers used the
> term made it patently obvious that they had no idea what they were
> talking about, and moreover, didn't care. So that put paid to Trek. (:

I'm pretty sure that it was just a slip. They probably thought it
was a made-up word. Maybe there was a guy named Barry on the set
and they wanted to name a particle after him.

Was it a bad thing . Yea, I guess. Inexcusable? On a show like
ST:TNG where they played fast and loose with scientific terms
and ideas on a regular basis? I don't think so. If you watch
TNG and you know anything about science, you just take it for the
Space Opera it is.

Aaron Bergman

unread,
Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to

In article <6nrfn9$5...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com>, ma...@ftfry.mv.lucent.com
(m.a.montalvo) wrote:

:In article <5UU6fOAw...@ibfs.demon.co.uk>,
:Robert Sneddon <no...@nospam.demon.co.uk> wrote:
:>In article <6nr8c7$fp6$1...@animal.blarg.net>, Ross TenEyck


:><ten...@animal.blarg.net> writes
:>>
:> But somebody else said, of the Babylon 5 station:
:>
:>>>Approximately 1 G at the rim, for a radius of 1 km and a rotation rate of
:>>>1 rpm. Those numbers all fit with each other, and with what is observed
:>>>in most of the exterior shots, reasonably well. That was one of the first
:>>>problems the video freeze-frame junkies looked at.
:>>
:>>Yeah... I did those calculations too. *sigh* I'm a geek, I can't
:>>help it.
:>
:> So how do they get 1G in the command bridge, which is almost directly
:>under the main ship dock, along the non-rotating axis? Magnets and
:>spinach?

:
:Officially, C&C is at 1/3G. It just doesn't look it (too low budget, and


:jms argues that at twice the moon's gravity, things wouldn't be floating
:around; he doesn't seem to understand that people should be moving
:differently)....

This was after he argued that it would like exactly the same as 1G, of course.

JMS knows next to nothing about physics. But even that's beeter than 99%
of all Star Trek physics.

Aaron

--
Aaron Bergman

Phil Fraering

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Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
to
Gary Weiner <webm...@austin-williams.com> writes:

> Was it a bad thing . Yea, I guess. Inexcusable? On a show like
> ST:TNG where they played fast and loose with scientific terms
> and ideas on a regular basis? I don't think so. If you watch
> TNG and you know anything about science, you just take it for the
> Space Opera it is.

Space Opera? Where?

--
Phil Fraering "2. The inhabitants of N. Central Texas haven't
p...@globalreach.net changed much in the last 35,000 years."
/Will work for *tape*/ - Cronan, Things I Learned from the X Files Movie
On the internet, nobody knows you're Canadian. But they probably suspect.

Dan Bongard

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Jul 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/7/98
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Doug (dhax...@mindspring.com) wrote:

Spoilers for Silent Running, BTW. :)

:> Silent Running?

: Please correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the main character's
: brilliant flash of insight that all the plants were dying because
: sunlight's a lot weaker around the orbit of Saturn? Keep in mind, no
: one on Earth managed to figure this out...

The ships were originally orbitting Saturn, where the light was
apparently good enough to keep the plants alive. He then hijacks
the ship, accelerates to escape velocity, and leaves the orbit of
Saturn for parts unknown. After some time, the plants begin dying,
because the ship is moving further away from the sun. It takes him
a while to figure this out. The reason nobody on Earth figures this
out is that nobody on Earth knows (a) that the plants are dying,
(b) that the plants even EXIST (since Lowell was supposed to have
jettisoned the pods containing the plants and detonated them, or
(c) where Lowell's ship is.

The people on Earth don't _care_ about the plants. That's the whole
impetus behind the events in the movie: the project to keep the
plants and animals alive has been cancelled, and they crew of the
project are instructed to jetison and detonate the environment pods.
There WERE no plants or animals left on Earth at all, and pretty
much nobody missed them. Lowell was a kind of throwback -- the
sci-fi equivalent of an Amish man. :)

-- Dan

sbu...@my-dejanews.com

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Jul 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/7/98
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In article <359C1E...@hotmail.com>,

ande...@up.lib.mi.us wrote:
>
> John Adcox wrote:
> >
> > Kinda makes me wonder if it's even POSSIBLE to make a completely accurate
> > science fiction space movie. Has anything other than 2001 even come close?
> > Opinions?
>
> The original alien was very nice. Didn't involve much scientific
> accuracy but it didn't matter since it was so far into the future that
> alot of that jargon wasn't too offensive. In actuality almost
> believable. Same with aliens in fact.
>

You mean other than the "growing from a six-inch long juvinile into a seven-
foot tall adult overnight with no apparent food source" part?


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K. Laisathit

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Jul 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/7/98
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In article <359C5D4C...@pgh.nauticom.net>,

Maestro <mae...@pgh.nauticom.net> wrote:
>
>> The original alien was very nice. Didn't involve much scientific
>> accuracy but it didn't matter since it was so far into the future that
>> alot of that jargon wasn't too offensive. In actuality almost
>> believable. Same with aliens in fact.
>
> One thing to judge whether a sci-fi movie is good or insightful
> (instead of "accurate") is to see how well it holds up against time.
>2001 Space Odessey is a good example. I watched Alien on tape again
>recently and was amazed how well the technology still looked realistic.

Errr... isn't science fiction more than just the technology?
The xenobiology of Aliens is utterly unblievable to a layman
such as myself. How could such a specie evolve?

I think science fiction is a package deal. If one component
of it doesn't look the least bit scientifically plausible,
it's just a fantasy. As someone else put it, fantasy is
like, 'I know this can't happen, but wouldn't it be neat
if it does?'.

Later...
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
K I R A T I L A I S A T H I T kir...@u.washington.edu

John Harkness

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Jul 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/7/98
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I think the phrase we're looking for here is "internal logic".

John

Dan Bongard

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Jul 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/7/98
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sbu...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

[Re: scientific accuracy in 'Alien']

: You mean other than the "growing from a six-inch long juvinile into
: a seven-foot tall adult overnight with no apparent food source" part?

Well, it is a silicon-based lifeform on a mining ship. Maybe it ate
the rocks, or some circuitry somewhere.

-- Dan

Dan Bongard

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Jul 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/7/98
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K. Laisathit (kir...@u.washington.edu) wrote:
: Maestro <mae...@pgh.nauticom.net> wrote:

: Errr... isn't science fiction more than just the technology?


: The xenobiology of Aliens is utterly unblievable to a layman
: such as myself. How could such a specie evolve?

Hm? It isn't all that different from some species of wasp here on
earth that paralyze victims and implant their eggs in the living
host to give the larvae something to eat when they hatch. There
are two basic possibilities:

(1): The Aliens are relatively ordinary creatures on their world, and
are only horribly dangerous because they are in a foreign
ecosystem with no evolved checks and balances. Remember what
happened with the rabbits in Australia? Imagine that from the
point of view of, say, a kangaroo. This weird little creatures
are introduced into your environment. They start eating all your
food supplies, leaving you to starve. You can't do a damned thing
to stop them, because they are fast and manuverable and can
tunnel underground where you can't get them. The Aliens might
have been Just Another Predator on their homeworld, kept in check
by stronger creatres or hard-to-catch prey.
(2): The aliens could be engineered bioweapons. They were, after all,
found in the hold of a ship pilotted by a member of a THIRD
Alien race. Kind of a weird thing to be transporting, don't you
think?

-- Dan

Reverend Sean O'Hara

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Jul 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/7/98
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K. Laisathit wrote:
>
> Errr... isn't science fiction more than just the technology?
> The xenobiology of Aliens is utterly unblievable to a layman
> such as myself. How could such a specie evolve?
>
Natural evolution is out, since the species would eat everything on its
own planet, then starve (unless they're canibals as well, or the other
species are equally violent). While intelligent for animals, they show
no sign of anything more advanced, so they could never create space
travel. The obvious answer, therefore, is genetic engineering. Remember
all those Earth geeks who want to get a hold of it for bio-warfare?
Why? Because they're the perfect weapon. Isn't it reasonable for them
to be engineered creatures for warfare. Possibly they got out of hand,
destroying their masters before marauding throughout the Universe.

That's a perfectly reasonable explanation, don't you think?

--
Reverend Sean O'Hara
You to can be an ordained minister: http://ulc.org/ulc
"So here's to you, revolution, may your flame keep burnin' 'til
We meet our Armageddon, up high on Vinegar Hill."
Black '47
Vinegar Hill

Kevin Johnston

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Jul 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/7/98
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K. Laisathit wrote:
> Errr... isn't science fiction more than just the technology?
> The xenobiology of Aliens is utterly unblievable to a layman
> such as myself. How could such a specie evolve?

Maybe it was engineered.

Kevin

Dan Bongard

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Jul 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/8/98
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Reverend Sean O'Hara (oha...@erols.com) wrote:
: K. Laisathit wrote:

:> Errr... isn't science fiction more than just the technology?
:> The xenobiology of Aliens is utterly unblievable to a layman
:> such as myself. How could such a specie evolve?

: Natural evolution is out, since the species would eat everything on its


: own planet, then starve (unless they're canibals as well, or the other
: species are equally violent).

That doesn't make ANY sense. Look at our world. Do we eat everything on
the planet and then starve? Do killer whales (another powerful predator
species with no natural enemies)? Do cats (after all, who says that Aliens
are at the TOP of their native food chain? They could be one step up from
the bottom rung of multi-celled animals.

If the Aliens evolved naturally, it is a fairly good bet that most
creatures on their world share their basic biochemistry, and many
might share the same sort of reproductive system. There are real-life
parallels to it here on earth.

[re: genetic engineering]

: Why? Because they're the perfect weapon.

They are far from "the perfect weapon". They are a great terror weapon.
They are USELESS from a military standpoint except as terror weapons
(as mass-murder weapons they leave a lot to be desired -- orbital
bombardment would be easier).

I'm not saying they coulsn't have been genetically engineered, however.

-- Dan

Pentti J Lajunen

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Jul 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/8/98
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Well, first of all, it is an _alien_ with acid for blood. It may
have been even a bio-engineered product (weapon) by an advanced
species. So it might also have highly concentrated chemical energy
packages in its body to reduce the growing time (and to eliminate
the need of food in an environment that has none). In fact if
it was indeed engineered, it would be more surprising if
it grew slower at normal (for human, that is) rate.

Besides, you can't tell how much time passed from the
chest-burster scene to introduction of fully grown alien.
It may have been just few hours or days.

one side of moebius

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Jul 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/8/98