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No Physics in The Hobbit



I just wrote an entire blog entry and it deleted randomly............ oops....... anger.........

Anyway! Let's talk about the new Hobbit movies. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the book as an entertaining action book for his kids. Peter Jackson - whose adaptation of the Lord of the Rings was already controversial - took this thin children's book of between 300 and 400 pages and turned it into a trilogy spanning about 9 hours of new characters, added scenes, invented drama, and life-or-death situations that had not been in the book. The movie is a great action film; it is a bad Middle Earth film. And it is a horror movie for physics enthusiasts. Take a look at the scene in which Gandalf and the dwarves - 10 points to Gryffindor if you can name them all without looking them up! - escape from the mountain of the Goblin King. Gandalf is a powerful wizard, yes. However, his mere presence would not have been able to account for all the impossible things that happened in that scene. The already highly implausible rope and wood bridges and ladders and platforms are questionable. Then take all the dwarves and Gandalf - a combined weight that I do not even want to add up - and put them on one platform. And then throw this raft down the side of a cavern. Every single person stays on the platform for the entire ride down. They land in a heap with groans and sassy remarks. If there had been even a hint of realism in this scene, then every single dwarf would had lost his life. And if Gandalf has not lost his, too, he would not have been able to walk away very soon. And right after that scene, we witness quite an impressive feat. Dwarves are made for mines, and as Gimli so enlightened us to in the original trilogy, they are natural sprinters. I did not know that they could fling themselves up into tall pines so quickly, though! Apparently the call of a Warg gives these heavy humanoids supernatural climbing and jumping abilities.

I like Peter Jackson, don't get me wrong. And fun fact, his birthday was on October 31! It is just that he took a children's book and made a 9 hour trilogy full of life-or-death that was not in the writing! And he also decided that he is cool enough to neglect physics. I understand that Middle Earth is different from our Earth, but I like to think that some of the same physics apply. I suppose that is something only J.R.R. Tolkien could have answered.

Until next time.


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