Second Term Paper: Science Fact or Cinematic Fiction?
The physics in media entertainment has been done more inaccurately than people may think. Some movies, television shows, and video games often seem fake and unbelievable because a lack of physics was applied to help make environments or character movements convincing. The principle of action and reaction, for every action force there was an equal reaction force in the opposite direction, was one of the various physics concepts that have often been inaccurately demonstrated in the media. The film Space Jam, the video game, Grand Theft Auto III, and the animated cartoon, Spongebob Squarepants, all proved that the physics principle of action and reaction has often been demonstrated inaccurately throughout media entertainment.
The film, Space Jam had demonstrated that physics of action and reaction could often be done inaccurately throughout film entertainment. During the movie, Space Jam, Michael Jordan inaccurately demonstrated action and reaction throughout an overly exaggerated half court dunk that appeared very unrealistic and unnatural. The action of this cinematic moment was the successful half court dunk. This action was unrealistic for the following reasons: humans cannot create enough running force to successfully make a half court dunk, humans cannot use slow motion for having a jump hang time of over five seconds, and human anatomy would not allow Jordan’s arm to overstretch like a rubber band to reach objects that were too far away. The reaction to Jordan dunk occurred at the same time of the dunk by gravity, and two giant aliens pulling down on Jordan’s legs to prevent him from dunking the basketball. Although the reaction force of gravitational pull hardly affected Jordan’s jump force, this dunk still demonstrated inaccurate physics through the reaction of the aliens pulling on Jordan’s legs. The giant aliens pulling on Jordan’s legs made the jump inaccurate because in reality the aliens’ force would have been greater than Jordan’s jump force and would have made Jordan fall onto the ground quickly. In reality the aliens’ force would have caused Jordan to miss his half court dunk. Jordan’s slow motion half court dunk proved that Space Jam inaccurately demonstrated the physics of action and reaction because this dunk could never exist in reality.
The video game, Grand Theft Auto III also proved that principle of action and reaction was often shown inaccurately in video games. During Grand Theft Auto III’s game play inaccurate action and reaction occurred through a character getting hit by a speeding car and not getting seriously injured. The action of this car accident was the force of a speeding car driving front on into a character that was standing innocently in the street. The reaction occurred simultaneously by the character getting hit by the speeding car, dramatically falling, and not getting seriously injured. The inertia of the speeding car created a greater force then the character could handle and launched the character into the car’s windshield. This action then resulted by the character reacting by falling several yards into the air for over five seconds until the character finally hit the ground with no serious injuries. The car reacted by continuing to drive fast, not stopping, and having no indents or damages from this car accident. Inaccurate physics occurred during this action and reaction by the character spending too much time falling in the air and falling too far away after being hit by the car. In reality the character that was hit by the car would be in the hospital, the character would have damaged the car windshield, and the character would have quickly hit the ground by following a path of action. Here the action of a character being hit by a car was accurate, but the over exaggerated reaction appeared fake.
The television show, Spongebob Squarepants, proved that the physics of action and reaction has often appeared inaccurate and fake on television. The character, Spongebob Squarepants, was able to demonstrate inaccurate action and reaction by flipping and catching hamburger meat patties with a spatula while cooking burgers under the ocean. In this situation, Spongebob’s action was picking up a hamburger meat patty with a spatula and tossing it into the air. The simultaneous reaction from Spongebob’s action allowed the patty to naturally and successfully fall back onto Spongebob’s hamburger cooking grill. Although gravitational pull had very little effect on the hamburger meats’ motion, the inertia of the meat patty compelled the meat patty to run out of ascending momentum, and fall back onto the grill after reaching an apex. Spongebob’s hamburger flipping action and reaction proved that this television show had inaccurate physics. Since the environment in this show took place under the ocean, in reality it would be impossible to throw, flip, and catch an object while deep under the ocean. In reality the ocean water would cause the meat patty to become soggy, break into pieces, and instantly float to the ocean’s surface. It would be impossible to cook, throw, and flip hamburger meat under water because the ocean water’s current would control the action of an object’s motion and the weight of the object would determine the reaction of it sinking or floating underwater. Although the action and reaction of flipping hamburger meat was unconvincing, the humor of cooking food underwater compensates for having unbelievable physics.
The media has broken the action and reaction principle with inaccurate physics quite often by exaggerating and creating motion that does not exist in reality. Since films, video games, and television shows break the logic of action and reaction, the physics in these sources of entertainment often appear fake and unconvincing. The film Space Jam, the video game, Grand Theft Auto III, and the animated cartoon, Spongebob Squarepants, all proved that the physics principle of action and reaction has often been demonstrated inaccurately throughout media entertainment. Films, video games and television shows can only get away with inaccurate action and reaction if the action and reaction was broken for entertaining the audience and progressing story. Although humorous gags, fun game play, and story can compensate for having inaccurate physics, cinematic fiction should be based on believable action and reaction so motion does not appear fake and unconvincing.