Home > Clement's Game, Star Wars > Science Fiction Round 53: Accelerating Masses in the Morning

Science Fiction Round 53: Accelerating Masses in the Morning


Or, alternatively, The Force Awakens.  Unsurprisingly, Michael’s opinion is “meh,” but I found the film quite satisfying.

Also?  This review is going to be full of ALL THE SPOILERS, so, you know, watch for that.

So many people! And they're all in the movie! But... this trailer is sneaky about a thing...

So many people! And they’re all in the movie! But… this trailer is sneaky about a thing…

Trailer Trolling

That trailer we all watched ten times before the movie… hid a critical point.

Rey is the super-Force-user, not Finn.  (Or perhaps Finn has something, just not as much… or, like Han Solo, he just has that kind of luck.)  This was beautifully decoyed during the trailer.

All speculation about Rey’s ancestry and personal history aside, it was fun to see a woman get to do the Jedi-stuff for a bit.  And also have a speaking role, and not be instantly killed during the Clone wars.

I was personally hoping for General Leia to have a lightsaber duel, but this was good enough.  Especially since we now have the potential for entertaining training scenes involving Luke and Rey.  I also enjoyed the ex-Stormtrooper plot, and I’m looking forward to see how Finn’s character develops.

I’m also impressed at how little Poe Dameron (the hot-shot pilot) and Captain Phasma (the shiny stormtrooper) had to do in the movie.  Nice distractions.  I’m personally hopeful that Captain Phasma will be a bigger bad opposite Finn in the next movie.

Starkiller Base

At least the name is apt.

I’m not even going to touch the “how are they siphoning an entire star into the core of a planet?” question.  It’s too much.  I assume it has to do with handwavy hyperspace and forcefield physics, and leave it be.

That said, it looks like the Starkiller eats an entire star, and then spits it back out as a hyperspace beam of planet-destroying doom.

Problem: Um, an entire star?  Really?  That’s… kind of overkill if you’re only destroying a planet or five.

The amount of energy that would be needed to blow a planet apart (say, the Earth) is a few times 10^32 J.  I’ve stuck with the gravitational binding energy as an estimate.  According to the Wikipedia article, this is about the amount of energy that the Sun emits in a week.

Yup.  A week or two of soaking up just the light from a star would be enough to blow Earth to bits.  No radical star-sucking needed.  (For reference, just converting the mass of the Sun into energy, and then keeping 0.001% of that energy, would give you about 10^42 J.  Yes, one thousandth of a percent of the mass-energy of the sun is more than ten billion times more than the amount of energy needed to destory the Earth.  That’s E=mc^2 for you.)

Now, perhaps we could argue that the entire energy of the star was needed not to blow the planets up, but to send the energetic beams across hyperspace.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t work either.  It would imply that going through hyperspace requires an enormous amount of energy — more than 10 billion times the mass-energy of a thing would be needed to send it through hyperspace.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think the Millennium Falcon carries more fuel than its mass.

Worse, they did the same thing the 2009 Star Trek movie did — showing the planets exploding in the sky of another planet.  At least in the Star Trek movie, it might have been reasonable, since it was Spock sharing information through a mind-meld, and he could have been compressing and dramatizing for simplicity.

Here?  Everyone’s just watching, since obviously they can see planets in another star system light-years away… within minutes of a thing happening to them… arg.  At least make it a video taken by a survivor and transmitted over hyperspace comms.  That’d still be pretty dramatic, and then, you even get the “oh crap, oh crap, oh crap” reaction from the videographer on the escaping freighter, say, echoing through the Resistance’s otherwise silent briefing room.  Possibly cut short by a collision with a large chunk of debris.

Michael’s reaction to this planet-sized mess: “I can’t fix it.  It’s not possible.”

Oh, well.  It was a fun movie anyway.

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