Thursday 4 January 2018

Star Wars

Spoiler Alert - If you don't want to know about how stupid The Last Jedi is, stop reading

Having been brought up on Star-trek and other make believe space adventure TV shows and films, it's easy for me to understand and accept the simple rules that overcome the complexities of physics:

1. There is gravity when you are in the ship
2. Shields will deflect any weapon
3. The energy source for propulsion is essentially infinite
4. Travel at light speed is possible

In fact Stanley Kubrick was even bold enough to try and explain how gravity could be possible with a large rotating space ship that flung it's occupants to the outside wall. So when I was introduced to the world of the original Star Wars I was glad to see all these rules applied, and my understanding of movie physics was intact.

Anyone can throw rocks at technical faults in movies but that misses the point. We all know that when the star ship Enterprise take a direct hit from a Klingon photon torpedo and the crew are thrown around the bridge, it's just William Shatner and his fellow actors staggering around a sound stage in Hollywood, but we are happy to join in the illusion and enjoy the drama.

So, I was very disappointed to find that large parts of the latest Star Wars film "The Last Jedi" not only have ignored the real laws of physics but they have thrown out 40 years of movie physics too. We are expected to believe that an attempt to destroy a First Order dreadnought must be conducted by bombers that literally look like lumbering WWII era B17's with the wings cut off (complete with glass canopies and belly turrets) and as they inch into position they are systematically cut down by enemy fighters. Then in the most absurd piece of nonsense the bomb bay doors open and rows of what appear to be conventional explosives "drop" onto the target below. There is no up or down in space, there is no gravity once the object has left the ship. Even using movie physics, it's just ridiculous, where are the phased array pulsed energy projectile weapons? what about a Tetryon cannon? Why can this attack not be conducted remotely? Even North Korea can assembly an intercontinental ballistic missile.

I could easily moan on about the fact that everything explodes like its full of old fashioned aviation gasoline in an oxygen atmosphere, or that this the first time ever that an intergalactic space ship has run out of fuel, or that there is no reason to spend 2 days assembling a mini-death star to punch a tiny hole in a 2ft thick concrete wall but obviously I would be missing the point. Clearly this is all just a lame plot device to try and create a tense nail bitter.

As a movie it fails miserably - if you want the real thing just watch 633 Squadron or The Dam Busters

Doug "Y'cannae change the laws of physics Jim" B.


  1. Well the preceding comment's a bit left field. As for the movie, I loved your critique of the bomber attack, if you keep up the supplemental posts at one per week you should be done by the time the final episode comes out.

  2. The "preceeding comment" was spam. Now removed. My apologies for being tardy about it.