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Old October 5 2012, 10:43 PM   #541
Christopher
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

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And still more lip service than I bet they pay to Superman or the Justice League.
Well, that depends. It's a mistake to assume that a fanciful concept can't be treated with realism. It's actually possible to handle something fantastic with sufficient verisimilitude and care that it feels plausible. Richard Matheson has said that the key is to have just one fanciful element and treat everything around it in as naturalistic and credible a way as possible. And there have been good attempts in fiction to approach fanciful phenomena within the context of otherwise plausible science to make them feel more convincing -- like when hard-SF author Larry Niven was tasked with creating a new "series bible" for Green Lantern comics back in the '80s. Chris Claremont and John Byrne managed to do a fair job making the X-Men's powers seem like they had at least one foot in real science, like having Nightcrawler's teleportation be subject to conservation of momentum (so that if he were falling, he couldn't just teleport safely to the ground because he'd arrive with the same velocity).
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Old October 5 2012, 10:55 PM   #542
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

Agreed, but I'm talking about whether they will actually do it. Besides, any version of the JL must necessarily have more than one fanciful element. That will make it considerably harder.

Apropos of not much except the idea of plausibility: I still haven't forgiven Matheson for the idiotic science he used in The Shrinking Man. The psychology, characterization, etc. was spot-on, but the descriptions of what was actually happening to the guy made no sense at all.
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Old October 5 2012, 11:11 PM   #543
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

^But that's just it. Matheson's rule is that you're allowed to have one thing that's pure fantasy so long as you keep the rest of the story believable.
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Old October 5 2012, 11:15 PM   #544
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

Touché!
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Old October 6 2012, 03:23 AM   #545
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

So does that mean we can have the Atom in the JLM? I love his little floating chair.
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Old October 6 2012, 03:35 AM   #546
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

I dunno, there are all those rumors about Marvel doing an Ant-Man movie, so the Atom might be seen as derivative (even though he came first in the comics).
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Old October 6 2012, 08:43 PM   #547
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

Christopher wrote: View Post
Conscious Circuits wrote: View Post
I actually think that, in the hands of a master, Superman would benefit from being presented with a similar illusion of realism. Recall, the tagline of the 1978 film was, "You'll Believe a Man Can Fly!" While naturally the new film remains to be seen, certainly the flight scene in the MoS trailer, arms at his side, suggests a contemporary take of such a realistic approach.
I recall reading a comment from someone high up in the production that MoS is actually aiming for a high level of verisimilitude. Whether it's "in the hands of a master" remains to be seen, though.



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We just saw a Batman whose accumulated physical injuries were so severe that he couldn't continue in his job. That's a very human level of realism that wouldn't translate very well when you're dealing with people who are superhuman.
Except he then somehow miraculously recovered without explanation. There was that strength-enhancing gizmo he wore on his knee in an early scene, but that doesn't explain why he was able to get back into perfect fighting form in that Mideastern prison with nothing but willpower. So they paid lip service to realism early on and then threw it out the window.
A magic healing rope isn't realism?
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Old October 6 2012, 09:11 PM   #548
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Agreed, but I'm talking about whether they will actually do it. Besides, any version of the JL must necessarily have more than one fanciful element. That will make it considerably harder.

Apropos of not much except the idea of plausibility: I still haven't forgiven Matheson for the idiotic science he used in The Shrinking Man. The psychology, characterization, etc. was spot-on, but the descriptions of what was actually happening to the guy made no sense at all.
I'm not sure anyone ever accused Richard of being a hard-science guy. He's more rooted in the Twilight Zone school of sf/fantasy/horror . . .
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Old October 7 2012, 02:05 AM   #549
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

Conscious Circuits wrote: View Post
Set Harth wrote: View Post
Conscious Circuits wrote:
Nolan stepped outside any pretense of realism no later than when Batman activated the cloaking mechanism of the Batmobile in BB.
Because turning off lights isn't realistic?
IIRC, the vehicle did "a bit more" than just go dark itself. Weren't there spotlights on the thing that all somehow lost track of it?
One of the cops saw it. He must be a mutant.
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Old October 7 2012, 06:44 AM   #550
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Apropos of not much except the idea of plausibility: I still haven't forgiven Matheson for the idiotic science he used in The Shrinking Man. The psychology, characterization, etc. was spot-on, but the descriptions of what was actually happening to the guy made no sense at all.
I'm not sure anyone ever accused Richard of being a hard-science guy. He's more rooted in the Twilight Zone school of sf/fantasy/horror . . .
Granted, but then he should just stay away from the explanations.

I'm referring to three egregious errors. The first is the announcement that the main character shrinks by "one-seventh of an inch per day", a nice round number which means he loses an inch a week. He also refers to that as a constant rate.

That's only a constant rate if you're talking about height, which, granted, he was. But for mass, it's an increasing rate. The loss of that mass is neglible if you're six feet tall, but by the time you get down to two-sevenths of an inch tall, it means you will lose 50% of your mass in one day. A constant rate?

His second error was to state that the shrinking was from the guy's body shedding calcium and other elements. I'll take that at face value and suspend disbelief for the physiological effects. As a concept, that's fine on the surface, but at that rate of loss, by the time he gets down to less than an inch, the evidence should be plainly visible. The guy should be leaving trails of his substance everywhere he walks. On the day he loses 50% of his mass, he should be literally coming apart at the seams. And there was no sign of any such thing.

The third error (SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING; THE BOOK IS OVER FIFTY YEARS OLD, SO DEAL WITH IT) was the ending where the character realizes he's shrunk down to zero, except he's still alive because "in nature, there is no zero." Excuse me, but it was plainly stated that he is steadily losing one-seventh of an inch per day by shedding material, which means sooner or later, he's going to run out of material. There is such a thing as zero.

I think Matheson would have done a lot better by saying, "He's mysteriously losing 10% of his remaining mass each day; we don't know where it's going" and leaving it at that. The book would play out exactly the same and the ending wouldn't contradict itself. (And if you use that kind of math, there really is no zero.)


Topic? Justice League? This discussion, uh, is, uh, relevant to the Atom. Yeah, that's it.

What floating chair?
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Old October 7 2012, 08:16 AM   #551
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

Set Harth wrote: View Post
Conscious Circuits wrote: View Post
Set Harth wrote: View Post

Because turning off lights isn't realistic?
IIRC, the vehicle did "a bit more" than just go dark itself. Weren't there spotlights on the thing that all somehow lost track of it?
One of the cops saw it. He must be a mutant.
Nah, the batmobile passed in front of him (for a tactical reason that I can't fathom).

The problem with that scene is that it really looked like the whole road went dark when the batmobile's stealth mode was activated. I can't even make out the beams of the police cruiser headlights at that point. I suppose it could just be Nolan's way of telling us that the batmobile gets lost in the dark, but that's just not believable on a highway lined with streetlights. Unless the point is that the batmobile is somehow dimming the streetlights and the headlights, which leads us back to my original contention that the batmobile is doing more than just going dark itself, but I doubt the batmobile was supposed to be affecting the streetlights. Or, maybe fancy big city Gotham interstate streetlights just happen to be much dimmer to begin with than the ones here in Bumfuck, Kentucky, which leads us back to my point that the film is not really realistic in the sense of being absolutely true to life.

Really, though, whatever the dressing, at that point in film, the batmobile's protected by a magic aura of plot, because we all expect that the batmobile ought to be able to get away from a few measly police cruisers and a police helicopter. The stealth mode was just a bit too cute, and took it a bridge too far, for my taste. Rather than enhance the realism, it drew a big red circle around the fact that it wasn't being realistic. YMMV.
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Old October 7 2012, 04:49 PM   #552
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

Even Nolan can't escape the inherent clash with realism when it comes to superhero movies even one so possible like Batman.

He did a pretty good job making us believe that such a man could really exist.. all it took was a very smart guy, some specialized training and near limitless ressources.. something entirely possible in our world it seems.

However it's still a movie and sometimes the narrative supercedes realism.. the ratio with Nolan is low but it's still there.
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Old October 8 2012, 12:22 AM   #553
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Apropos of not much except the idea of plausibility: I still haven't forgiven Matheson for the idiotic science he used in The Shrinking Man. The psychology, characterization, etc. was spot-on, but the descriptions of what was actually happening to the guy made no sense at all.
I'm not sure anyone ever accused Richard of being a hard-science guy. He's more rooted in the Twilight Zone school of sf/fantasy/horror . . .
Granted, but then he should just stay away from the explanations.

I'm referring to three egregious errors. The first is the announcement that the main character shrinks by "one-seventh of an inch per day", a nice round number which means he loses an inch a week. He also refers to that as a constant rate.
I believe even Richard regrets the one-inch-a-week thing now, which he concedes was a little too glib and convenient.

As for the rest of it, I never really worried too much about the physics of the shrinking process since I never saw Shrinking Man as a hard-science piece. It's like wondering where the Hulk gets his extra mass from or how the Invisible Man can see. The story is about the "what if? premise; the technobabble is just hand-waving to justify the central conceit. Or so I always saw it.

(Full disclosure: I've been Matheson's editor for decades now, although Shrinking Man was bit before my time!)
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Old October 8 2012, 12:26 AM   #554
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

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Justice League doesn't have to be fantastic, though. He can do naturalistic with superpowers just as well as you can do it with rich people in bat costumes. You've just got to be willing to take it seriously and follow through to its natural conclusion.
That's a beautiful fan theory, but it's yet to be demonstrated.

Marvel, of course, has succeeded admirably by wrapping fantastic stories and action around plausibly likeable characterizations by good actors.
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Old October 8 2012, 02:49 AM   #555
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Re: They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

I never really worried too much about the physics of the shrinking process since I never saw Shrinking Man as a hard-science piece. It's like wondering where the Hulk gets his extra mass from or how the Invisible Man can see. The story is about the "what if? premise; the technobabble is just hand-waving to justify the central conceit. Or so I always saw it.
Ultimately, from what I understand of biology and physics, if someone were to nitpick the entire concept it quickly falls apart regardless of this point. As you say, the idea was to establish a "what if" scenario and then jump off from that. If Matheson had tried to be "realistic," the story simply wouldn't exist.
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