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 Suspension of disbelief

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Jamie Clubb
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PostSubject: Suspension of disbelief   Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:23 pm

Does your scepticism interfere with your enjoyment of fiction? Some disconnected thoughts for your consideration.


My belief is that sceptics are not the boring, argumentative killjoys that our critics like to portray. Douglas Adams, for example, was a prolific science fiction writer and also a devout sceptic. Now I am not a massive Adams fan (although I have been partial to a bit of Dr. Who), but I don't have many problems divorcing myself from reality if a good story calls for it. Having said that some films can annoy me, especially historical ones, but there is no hard and fast rule for me on this one. For example, some historical films like Braveheart and JFK irritate me because of the way they distort history to further their obvious agenda or point of view. Yet Shakespeare's historical plays are fantastic pieces of entertainment and important literature, but much of it is clearly Tudor/Stuart propaganda that did much to propagate myths surrounding the English royal families.

And what about these new books discussing the bad science in superhero and movie fiction? The geek in me is very curious and tempted, but there is another side of me that says "So what? This is supposed to be fiction after all - get a life!"

A friend of mine said a while back "I don't get how you can enjoy horror movies. My sense of logic stops me from appreciating a zombie film". Yet for me, it is the chaos - like being in a dream - that is exciting. I once started writing a fictional story with the idea that the "believers" were literally right and it became quite scary.

So what about your favourite movies? How do they measure up under the sceptic's scrutiny and why do you suspend your disbelief?
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PostSubject: Re: Suspension of disbelief   Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:38 pm

I see you made the thread Cool

get back to this when i get more time,

Den.

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Jamie Clubb
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PostSubject: Re: Suspension of disbelief   Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:44 pm

In addition to commenting on my comments how about a list of your favourite films with sceptical comments next to them/justification etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Suspension of disbelief   Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:53 pm

I love the superhero genre Very Happy

Spiderman - bitten by an irradiated spider. That sort of thing even if it happened would not cause a body to mutate like that.

Batman - Already posted a link 'science of batman' in short - the fighting side alone is too unrealistic.

Superman - the latest one where he stops the plane, the point of the plane would be crushed as he stops it.

His clothes have super powers, he gets shot and his clothes get no bullet holes.

His suit does not burn up re entering earths atmosphere Suspect

Terminator - time travel no matter how advaced our technology is not going to happen, too many variables, the universe will not allow that to happen!

Hulk - Gamma Rays - massive stretch of the truth. (Hate the new ones, love the original movies/series Very Happy )

James Bond - Gadgets - maybe. Fight scenes again stretching the truth somewhat.

I suspend belief because it is my escape from reality. Being bogged down with science and reality, searching for truth and in the process de bunking long held beliefs can be a downer at times.

I followed WWE since a kid, Brit wrestling allsorts, mid 20's mitch pileggi did a docu on wrestling and shattered my belief system, then I read Bio's etc, was gutted!

Now I still watch it and suspend my belief as much as possible because its bloodygood entertainment, especially when you get sucked in to a good storyline.

I do not Drink, drugs or smoke, wwe is one of my last pleasures.

Undertaker is my God Razz

Regards,

Den.

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Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism - and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency.
Stephen J Gould

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PostSubject: Re: Suspension of disbelief   Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:42 am

As mentioned in my first post, there is a book on the science of superheroes as there is also one on films. Empire magazine has heavily plugged both. I am in two minds about them.

I have loved myths all my life, which I think has helped me appreciate debunking. I can appreciate analogy, metaphor, symbolism and even brain-dead entertainment. The cliche that superhero fiction is modern heroic mythology is very accurate.

Quote :
Spiderman - bitten by an irradiated spider. That sort of thing even if it happened would not cause a body to mutate like that.

Not a defence, but did you notice the way the Sam Raimi went with the "genetically altered" spider-bite this time. Taking a nod from "Ultimate Spider-Man" that re-wrote the stories for today. Radiation appears to be a throwback to the 1950s/post atom bomb sci-fi craze. Spidey and The Hulk were both created in the 1960s.

Quote :
Superman - the latest one where he stops the plane, the point of the plane would be crushed as he stops it.

His clothes have super powers, he gets shot and his clothes get no bullet holes.

His suit does not burn up re entering earths atmosphere

I recall reading a long time back that apparently old Supes is surrounded by a forcefield that somehow protects his skintight costume, but not his cape. scratch I know, it is no proper explanation.


Quote :
Terminator - time travel no matter how advaced our technology is not going to happen, too many variables, the universe will not allow that to happen!

I loved Terminator 1 and 2. They are absolute classics in their own right and as individual films, comparable to Alien and Aliens. I also get into a right twist over time travel. No matter what people rattle on about regarding how Einstein theoretically proved the matter, I am not convinced. Austin Powers has my compete sympathy in "The Spy Who Shagged Me" and offers some sound advice when he breaks the fourth wall: "Don't worry about it - and neither should you".

Quote :

Hulk - Gamma Rays - massive stretch of the truth. (Hate the new ones, love the original movies/series )

Ang Lee may have talked down to the material in "The Hulk" and made some bad decisions, but at least there was a mature attempt to handle the psychology of the comics. The new Hulk movie was just about perfect in my mind and paid a wonderful tribute to the series.

Quote :
James Bond - Gadgets - maybe. Fight scenes again stretching the truth somewhat.

Secret agents just do not and neither have they operated in the fashion depicted in the movies. The fight scenes are obviously just the tip of the improbable iceberg regarding the action in the film. Fleming's melodramatic books were probably a little closer to the truth.

Quote :
I followed WWE since a kid, Brit wrestling allsorts, mid 20's mitch pileggi did a docu on wrestling and shattered my belief system, then I read Bio's etc, was gutted!

You know I used to run a UK pro wrestling promotion right? I was co-promoter from 1998-2001 and performed a martial arts act as well as being leader of the main heel faction. The promotion still operates today www.extremeworldwarfare.com Somewhere in the archives you will see a picture of me in the war paint! My memoirs are on the site too. I got on the front cover of Combat magazine in 1999 with it and I even got the one-time editor to be a major character in the stories.

Here's something that might interest you regarding wrestling history. I am a Tony Hancock fan and I have an episode from his 1950s radio series called "The Grappling Game". In the episode it is made absolutely clear that there was a strong awareness of the matches all being "worked".
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PostSubject: Re: Suspension of disbelief   Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:07 pm

I just re-watched Revenge of the Sith. Man, that film has more plot holes and continuity problems than WWE, but it is so loveable. I see Star Wars not as science fiction, but more as the definition of "space opera" that Lucas put forward. There is bugger all science in Star Wars despite all the geekery associated with it and all the cross-section books etc. I see Star Wars as a sword and sorcery fantasy epic that just happens to take place in the sci-fi genre.
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PostSubject: Re: Suspension of disbelief   Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:23 pm

I love bad guys, Darth vader was and probably is still my fave from Star Wars but I admit I was hooked on Darth Mauls short stay in the star wars universe.

Maybe someone knows the psychology of me liking bad guy characters and wanting to see them win maybe once in a while Smile

Den

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Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism - and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency.
Stephen J Gould

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Jamie Clubb
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PostSubject: Re: Suspension of disbelief   Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:22 pm

A lot of us like a good villain. Shakespeare knew this too, which is why some of his most appealing characters are either machiavellian bad guys like Richard III, Edmund, Iaigo or flawed good guys like Hamlet or fallen good guys like Macbeth. Of course, what adds an extra dimension to Darth Vader is the fact that he is a fallen hero too.
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