Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 15, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

SCIENTIFIC GOBBLEDEGOOK....I rented Paycheck last night, and I'd like to take this opportunity to kvetch about something supremely unimportant, even by the standards of blog movie criticism.

The premise of the movie is that our hero (Ben Affleck) does supergenius level work for a high-tech company, but the work is so secret that they wipe his brain after each job. This is obviously ridiculous on a whole bunch of levels, but that's OK. One of the rules of movies like this is that you have to accept the initial premise at face value no matter how silly it is.

Fine. But then it turns out that Affleck's most recent job involved building a machine that peers into the future. How does it do this? By combining a laser with "a lens so powerful it can see around the entire universe." But when this lens finishes seeing around the universe and trains its eye on earth, it sees the future earth, not the present earth.

So here's my beef. Would it have killed them to spend five minutes making up some kind Star Trekkish BS to explain this machine? Pretty much anything would do. You know, "inverting the polarity of the quantum tachyon field" or some such.

But no. It has to be a lens so powerful it sees around the universe. Whose five-year-old came up with that? It reminded me of the first Matrix movie, where they explained the whole humans-in-pods thing as a giant Energizer battery.

America is at a serious crossroads when Hollywood scriptwriters can no longer sling scientific gobbledegook even as well as a bad 50s movie. Clearly, something needs to be done.

Kevin Drum 9:28 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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