27 June 2006

Bad Movie Science in The Da Vinci Code

The Intuitor's Insulting Stupid Movie Physics has been recently updated with a review of The Da Vinci Code (I wonder if the misspelling in the URL was intentional). The ISMP is a site that debunks the bad science of Hollywood movies, and is particularly vicious against science fiction (which is a given, since science fiction distorts science the most). It contains a main section which deals with common bad physics that is so ingrained in moviegoers that they probably take it as real (for example, a person can jump through a glass window and emerge perfectly unharmed). There is also another portion at the bottom which reviews some big Hollywood movies of their physics (unfortunately, this section is somewhat lacking in updates of late).

Anyway, back to The Da Vinci Code, it quickly became apparent that the reviewer has not read the book. Some of his criticism (such as the surveillance cameras in Louvre) were valid if applied to the movie only. In the book, these criticisms will fall because the author made appropriate justifications. Of course, given the limited time the production crew had to tell the story, they can be excused from such minor details.

That said, I must admit that The Da Vinci Code has a few pieces of rather bad science (and some of them fatal, if taken seriously). I'll leave it to you to find it out yourself. Some of them may just nitpicking at minor flaws, but it is still somewhat an intriguing read.

Of course, in the director's defence, I have to say that the production crew should be more concerned with how they can successfully convert the movie from paper to screen, and not whether each move inside obeys Einstein field equations. Nonetheless, it pays to be aware of the differences between the physics in that little district in Los Angeles and the rest of the Universe.

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