Walking the line between nerd and cool.

How Far is Too Far?

I recently finished my 2nd pass through NBC’s Heroes on Netflix Watch Instantly.  In looking for other movies to watch, I came across the original Superman movie.  I remember watching it when I was younger.  It’s been almost 30 years since it was released.  I remembered it being a fun movie growing up so I was looking forward to watching it again.

I’m forced to wonder, however, what the writers were thinking…  And did they ever reach the point where they felt maybe they had gone too far?  The progression of events in the climax of the movie:

  • Superman catches up to a rocket that’s going to hit New Jersey and sends it into space.
  • Within minutes, he’s back on the west coast to see the 2nd rocket explode, setting off the San Andreas fault line, causing California to sink into the sea.
  • He flies into the fault line and lifts the ground back into place in a single spot, which remarkably causes all the ground to start moving back into place.
  • He causes a rock slide to fill a canyon, thus stopping the immense flow of water from the dam that just broke and sent a tidal wave to destroy the village in its path.

Now, at this point, you’re thinking, “Surely this is it.  It can’t get much worse, can it?”  Only it does.  It concludes:

  • Lois Lane dies in an expanding fault line that stops just after swallowing her car.
  • Superman arrives to late, yells, then takes off to fly around the earth backwards, causing the spin to reverse and time to move backwards, thus saving Lois.

Seriously?  That idea passed through the editing process?  Let’s make the earth spin backwards, thus reversing time so Superman can save Lois?  Really?

I wonder what people consider absurd when they look back at us in 2038.  Maybe my blog will still be here and people can come comment…


6 responses

  1. Dude you are citing a movie in which a man can fly, shoot heat from his eyes, freeze people with his breath, has x-ray vision, sub sonic hearing, oh and he is bullet proof too.

    Apology excepted.

    March 20, 2008 at 1:00 pm

  2. Fair enough. But even accepting those super powers, I still can’t accept the time going backwards thing. He’s also moving through the air, which has almost no influence on the spin of the earth. If he had gone 50 feet underground and pushed the earth, it might be possible to change the spin.

    If he had that as a super power, like Hiro Nakamura being able to move through time, I’d be ok with it. But flying through the air? Unacceptable.

    March 20, 2008 at 1:29 pm

  3. You make good points sir. Good post all the same. It’s nice to meet another Christian blogger out here. I’ll be keeping my eye on ya.

    March 20, 2008 at 4:13 pm

  4. Joe Z

    Dude (can i call you dude?) did you read ANY comic books when you were young? Stuff like that happened all the time. Superman was always flying through space and having adventures on other planets too.

    I have a very large stack of early 70s DC comics that I can lend you. I’m sure you would get through only a couple before you would put them down, unable to continue the “willing suspension of disbelief” we all need to read/watch fantasy, sci-fi, or indeed anything that *could not* happen in the real world.

    Or else… hmm… maybe you have a scale where you object if stories violate the laws of physics *too strongly*?

    Haven’t you heard of cartoon physics? Try running off a cliff and see if you don’t fall until you realize that you are in midair… beep beep…. 😉

    March 20, 2008 at 4:20 pm

  5. Thanks for comments Superman!

    To Joe Z: Of course you can call me dude. 🙂 I didn’t read many comic books, and I’m happy to suspend my disbelief, but it needs to believable in the world you are creating. X-Men, Heroes, Spider-Man and Batman all contain elements of unbelievability for real life, but I’m OK with them in their worlds. And I was OK with everything up until the world spinning backwards thing in Superman. The rest stretched the imagination, but I suppose it’s possible for him to fly that fast.

    As you say, it might very well be a scale. Other things I’m not OK with:

    * The Enterprise banking off the non-existent atmosphere of outer space in every Star Trek ever made.
    * The face transplant in Face-Off.
    * A bus jumping a HUGE gap in the freeway in Speed.
    * Using a Mac (or was it a PC running a Mac OS?) to plant a virus on an alien ship in Independence Day.

    I’m sure there’s some more out there, but I can’t think of them right now.

    March 20, 2008 at 8:26 pm

  6. Joe Z

    Good reply. I do have some “oh come on” moments myself. My personal favorite target is “Lost”. I cannot watch that show and get beyond the fact that there is a secret power source somewhere that runs lights, computers, equipment and who knows what else on this island. It seems as though the writers have created a world where they can do anything without having to explain it, because the viewers accept some sort of magic/spirtual/who knows what hocus pocus that exists in that world.

    While my wife is watching it I’ll often ask her if the professor has made a radio out of coconuts yet, or if Gilligan has messed up another attempt to get off the island.

    I’ll see if I can dig up a few old superman books and perhaps on re-reading they’ll trigger the “oh come on” factor.

    March 21, 2008 at 7:05 am

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