Monday, January 23, 2006

Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics

Take a look at this insanely cool website - Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics. They've vowed to bring out all the basic flaws pertaining to Physics in the Hollywood Movies. If only they knew about Bollywood and Rajnikant & Mithun da. Their introduction says -

Since its start-up in 1997, "Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics" has received hundreds of thousands of visitors including NASA scientists, high school and university physics teachers and at least one published science fiction writer. We have received many helpful suggestions and constantly consider them as we improve our site.

"Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics" has been reviewed or listed in Physics Today Magazine, The News Letter of the American Physical Society, The New York Times, and The Hollywood Reporter, as well as numerous other publications. It has been listed on Fark and Slashdot and been featured on the Osgood Files and NPR as well as many other radio stations.
Now, how cool is that?! They've devised their own rating system for the movies -
In the name of physics decency, to protect the minds of children everywhere, so that they may grow up in a world where they know the difference between speed and velocity, we have taken the responsibility to rate movies for their portrayal of excessively bad physics. The system is as follows:

* GP = Good physics in general
* PGP = Pretty good physics (just enough flaws to be fun)
* PGP-13 = Children under 13 might be tricked into thinking the physics were pretty good; parental guidance is suggested
* RP = Retch
* XP = Obviously physics from an unknown universe
* NR = Unrated. When a movie is obviously a parody, fantasy, cartoon or is clearly based on a comic book it can't be rated but may still have some interesting physics worth discussing.
Towards the end of their main page is the list of reviewed movies. Apparently, King Kong failed to impress them thoroughly (I am no great fan either). They've given King Kong a rating of PGP-13. Their review says -
As for the death scene, at an estimated weight of over 16 tons it's unlikely that King Kong could leap in the air, smack an aircraft, and land back atop the Empire State Building as depicted without doing major structural damage both to the ape and the building. The gigantic ape was repeatedly raked with .30 cal machine guns fired from biplanes. Given the size of the beast , he would most likely have died slowly from blood loss, yet little blood was shown. When he fell, Kong's gravity to air resistance force ratio would be about 3 times that of a human sky diver. A human jumper would hit the sidewalk at a terminal velocity of around 120 mph (193kph). Kong's terminal velocity would be about 3 times higher but he would never reach it. Even without air resistance the maximum velocity of a fall from the top of the Empire State Building would only be 193 mph (311 kph). Kong would hit the sidewalk with the explosive power of between 10 and 27 lbs of TNT. Ape parts and blood would be splattered all over.
What fun!

1 comment:

Noel Y. Bava said...

nice post. i was actually wondering why king kong did not explode at all!!! but physics world is really different from hollywood world. if it were the same matrix, superman or even kurt russel movies would not be possible