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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Deep Impact

- gaffes galore -

Apart from 60 Minutes, I try to keep Sunday evenings TV free.

However, a movie about a comet on a collision course with Earth with black President Morgan Freeman coming up with a plan to save 800,000 chosen types via a *lottery* was too good to miss.

Atop which, Deep Impact sported an intriguing cast list

No sooner had it started than I started noticing discrepancies and goofs - and believe me, when *I* pick up on such things on screen, they have to be very obvious

Consulting iMDB, I find the movie is riddled with the most basic of goofs.

One would think that a movie on such a subject could at least have the courtesy of getting beyond Comet 101 so as to entertain the many serious comet-watchers out there.

Apparently not, as is made clear by the list of things that even I spotted or wondered about:
  • Activity on the surface of comet increases almost immediately at its local "sunrise". Such activity would increase gradually.
  • Impact the size of the meteor would also generate an atmospheric pressure wave which would throw people off their feet and destroy buildings.
  • People on the ground shown watching the 2km-wide comet fragment passes overhead. The radiant heat from the impactor's passage should have flash-burned them to a crisp and everything under the flight pattern on fire.
  • Astronomers wouldn't use a white light to read a star map, they'd use a red one.
  • Message delay is supposedly 20 seconds, which would mean the comet is 3.6 million miles away, which is very close for a comet.
    • The computer models show that the comet never gets anywhere near this close to the earth until just hours before impact.
  • Unsynched A/V:Cheering crowd sounds in final shot do not match the visual of the crowd
  • The giant wave that destroys New York City is going in the wrong direction when it hits Washington Square Park. The Washington Square arch is actually on the uptown side of the park, while the wave should be coming from farther downtown. (But it makes for a nicer shot.)
  • More than a year before the secret of the comet is revealed, it is indicated as having magnitude 2.6 and then being located near the Big Dipper.
    • It would be easily visible to the naked eye every night from most of the Northern Hemisphere and hence could not be kept secret.
    • Even a less bright comet could hardly be kept secret, since amateur astronomers are always searching for them.
    • The comets' tails are shown behind the heads of the comets as they move away from the sun towards Earth (as if trailing behind like a wake). In fact, a comet's tail always points away from the sun and they should have been pointing directly at the Earth.
  • Continuity Note: Stuart Caley takes off his glasses twice at the end of a budget meeting.
  • The strong wind that ripples Téa Leoni's hair and clothes leaves nearby bushes unaffected.
  • The roads in New York City are completely filled with cars, making it impossible to escape. Yet, when the Brooklyn Bridge comes up, the freeway in the background shows cars moving at a fast pace, barely escaping the wave.
  • At the start of the movie, a character goes to send an eMail. There is an obvious reason why it doesn't work: He tries to connect to a POP (Post office protocol) server. This is what you would do to receive e-mail. He would need to connect to a SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) to send his e-mail.
  • First comet is due to hit at 4:37pm in August on the Eastern Seaboard, yet when Téa's character walks onto the beach to meet her father, her shadow's length shows it to be much later in the day.
  • Highway mileage sign near end of movie says "Virginia Beaches 6 miles". This is shown in the mountains. The nearest mountain range is nearly 120 miles.
  • The wave that hits the Statue of Liberty comes from behind it, which in reality would have been coming from the Jersey City side. The problem is that the wave would be coming from a northwesterly direction as it is shown. The wave was really supposed to be coming from the southeast. So the wave should have hit the front of the statue instead of the back.
  • One I spotted immediately, a copy of Newsweek is shown with a glossy, shiny cover. Newsweek's cover is never glossy.
  • During the final days before impact, when the comet is visible to the naked eye to observers on earth, it is seen both during the day and during the night. This is impossible.
  • For the comet to be visible in the sky during the day, it and the sun would have to be on the same side of the earth.
  • To be visible during the night, the comet would have to be on the opposite side of the earth from the sun.
  • A comet orbiting the sun and approaching the earth could not change its position in this way.

Comments:
I love gaffes like these! Almost makes it worth watching the movie just to see them. I said "almost."

(Just watched the second Harry Potter movie...there's a scene where a dog gets into a car twice!)

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