Fifteen Minutes of A Movie

January 14th, 2007

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I just saw the opening of Superman Returns.  It’s pretty amazing.  I missed the very beginning, but basically, when I jumped in there’s a commercial airliner with a space shuttle harnessed to the top and things were going wrong… way wrong.  Apparently some electromagnetic blast – I think caused by Superman returning – shut down everything electronic for a second which I guess fucked with the airplane, the shuttle, and Houston (?) who was in charge of uncoupling the two.  Anyway, the shuttle’s engines somehow engage and that’s the moment I saw the brilliance behind this super contrived situation.  I mean, they would never launch a space shuttle from a commercial airliner… I mean… never!  That’s the most absurd idea I’ve ever heard!  Aha! But now we have a group of civilians being launched into space which is definitely awesome.  The scene where Superman wrestles with the out of control plane/shuttle combo – which eventually he splits– is weird because the physics of Lois in the plane (no seatbelt) is very realistic, she’s thrown around by her inertia as Superman changes the speed and trajectory, but there’s a part where they get high enough to be “in space? and suddenly there’s no gravity.  At first I thought, cool, it’s because they’re in free fall, but that’s not the case because later when they are in free fall it’s way more intense than the anti-gravity scene which means they’re claiming that there’s actually like a gravity line somewhere… which there is not.  In fact, most satellites and shuttles only experience weightlessness because they’re in free fall orbit, not because they are outside of Earth’s gravitational field (which to be technically accurate is infinite), if they had no horizontal velocity I’m pretty sure they would start moving back down towards Earth.  Anyway, that aside, which I really don’t care about anyway since the shot when they’re weightless is actually very well done, the scene moves along and finally we have a wingless plane with Superman pushing against its nose trying to slow it down before it hits the ground.  But what?  Where are they headed?  Directly for a baseball stadium, mid-game, sold out crowd.   Superman brings the plane to a relatively soft landing right on the field.  The crowd goes crazy and he’s standing there in spotlight.  And then it starts cutting around the stadium.  Everyone’s going nuts, then it cuts to Houston, everyone’s going nuts, then to people watching the game from home, going nuts… it’s like all of America is on their feet cheering and it’s just the most amazing setup in movie history… maybe.