Posted by Thoughts and Ramblings on Saturday, June 28, 2008

Some friends and I went to see Wall•E last night. It is definitely the funniest movie I have seen all year and I’m glad to see that Pixar hasn’t gone too far downhill. I was afraid that Disney would attempt to destroy them, but it seems they haven’t succeeded quite yet.

On the other hand, the movie did have a lot of technical point which were severely wrong.

  • One scene had a space ship traveling through a large sphere of satellites to get away from Earth. You cannot have a sphere of satellites in orbit and expect them to stay up for a year, much less 700. They’d crash into each other and change their orbits.
  • Even with satellites in the same orbit, you cannot have them sitting within a meter of each other for the same reason.
  • Rotating a ship in space doesn’t change the gravity experienced on the ship (to get any gravity in the first place requires creating it yourself, but that’s another issue).
  • The movie shows a spaceship dumping a large chunk of trash into space. While this make be a convenient means of waste disposal, the sheer mass of disposal shown is completely impractical for a space ship of that size. It would have lost it’s entire mass to trash within a year and it was supposed to be there for 700. What happened to conservation of mass?
  • And the biggest issue: I seriously doubt that humans have the ability to trash the planet to the extent shown in the film, even if we wanted to. We just don’t have that kind of an impact on our environment. Besides, even if we did, rather than sending the entire population to space while cleaning up the planet, wouldn’t it be more practical and cheaper to just send up the trash for disposal?

There are a few more issues; but if you ignore the distortion of science and reason, the movie is quite enjoyable. The sad thing is, the movie could have adhered to both science and reason without destroying the major plot points.

Legacy Comments:

Push Eject - Jul 3, 2008

I took my twin three-year-olds to see it this past weekend and thought it was pretty darned great too, physics be damned. Still… what’s up with AC3 in Quicktime, huh? :D

Graham Booker - Jul 3, 2008

Yeah, I’m going to see it again soon. In hindsight, I think that the physics was better than most movies out of Hollywood. AC3 in QuickTime is basically in holding until Apple does something right for a change.