Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jason goes to Holehead--Day 7

I just saw one movie last Thursday, and it was a bit of a departure for a horror/fantasy/sci-fi festival.

But first the short, EAT ME. A silent film, and a love story so strong, not even turning into zombies can stop it.

Then the feature, a documentary MONSTERS FROM THE ID. A tribute to 1950's sci-fi films with tons of clips and interviews with film historians and scientists. The thesis is simple, and presented with conviction--that the generation of American scientists who put men on the moon were inspired by 1950's sci-fi, the last decade that had a real sense of hero-worship for scientists. It even makes some dire predictions about the future, given the steady decline in science degrees in the United States. And as a scientist (although one who whored out to industry instead of pursuing academia), this spoke to me. But as a film fan I wanted to go back and just watch a giant pile of 1950's sci-fi. And I want to turn of the scientist part of my brain that scoffs at the cheesy inaccuracies and find a new appreciation in the sense of wonder they can inspire. So it was a nice little celebration of science, and that was cool. I even wore my "Science: It Works, Bitches" t-shirt for the occasion.

Oh, and my favorite part of the movie: One of the professors in the movie (I believe it was Dr. Leroy Dubeck) was talking about a type of WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE scenario (out of respect, I refuse to call it the ARMAGEDDON scenario, or even the DEEP IMPACT scenario)--a large asteroid, large enough to destroy all human life on earth, is on a direct collision course. We detect it 30 years out (we really are looking for stuff like that), and have to come up with a solution (divert it, destroy it, abandon earth, etc.). Since it's the survival of the human race, all world governments would fund any idea (we wouldn't want to put all our hopes into just one plan), and scientists would be the heroes. Now there are three possible outcomes. First, the scientists could succeed and they'd all be heroes. Hooray for science! Second, the original calculations could be off and the asteroid misses earth. There would be some grumbling about all the money spent, but there would be incredible technological breakthroughs with peripheral benefits. And everyone survives, so they're not too mad. Still, hooray science! And third, the calculations could be correct but despite all the efforts we fail to divert/destroy/abandon/etc. and humanity is extinct. In that case there's no one around to complain, and at least those last 30 years were really cool. For science, it's win/win/win.

I just wanted to say, I knew exactly where he was going from the start. And it was awesome hearing the people in the audience who were surprised by his conclusion.

MONSTERS FROM THE ID plays again Sunday, June 14th at 5:00 pm.

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