They are going ahead with a Justice League movie

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Flying Spaghetti Monster, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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).
     
  2. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^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.
     
  4. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Touché!
     
  5. Icemizer

    Icemizer Commodore Commodore

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    So does that mean we can have the Atom in the JLM? I love his little floating chair.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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).
     
  7. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A magic healing rope isn't realism? ;)
     
  8. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    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 . . .
     
  9. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One of the cops saw it. He must be a mutant.
     
  10. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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?
     
  11. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  13. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    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!)
     
  14. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  15. the G-man

    the G-man Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Right, which is why I said he should have stuck with "we don't know why or how it's happening". Less explanation, not more.

    Oh, cool. Well, tell him he's got a casual fan who's still creeped out by "Shipshape Home" 33 years after first reading it.
     
  17. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Apologies if anyone posted this already. It's from a Time magazine article on Ben Affleck and Argo.

     
  18. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which is why Nolan movies are so good.. huge spectacles but the story can hold its own against the visual onslaught.. case in point is Inception. Brilliant movie and some very cool special effects.

    I wish more directors/producers would first hammer out a really good story before they start looking for the hottest actors currently and seeing when ILM or WETA can fit their movie into the schedule.
     
  19. Icemizer

    Icemizer Commodore Commodore

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    ^The Dark Knight story cannot hold up to even the slightest scrutiny. The basic plot of the hero doubting himself sure, the actual story itself, no.
     
  20. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But see, that's why Nolan is brilliant. He makes movies in such a way that they make people think he's brilliant. ;)