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"Superman: The Movie" science question

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Don Giro, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. Don Giro

    Don Giro Supporting Actor

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    I was revisiting "Superman: The Movie" the other day, and I'd like something explained to me, if anyone has any scientific insight.

    When the Fortress of Solitude is created and Clark "meets" Jor-El, his father tells him (I'm paraphrasing here) "By now, you will have reached your eighteenth birthday...by that reasoning, I will have been dead for many thousands of your Earth years..."

    How does that work? I know there's some sort of scientific principle at work here, but it escapes me.
     
  2. Mike Brogan

    Mike Brogan Second Unit

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    I'm no scientist (now that's an understatement) but I would think it would be the same principle in that many of the stars you see in the sky have already burned out but their light is just now reaching us, hence light years. So if you came from millions of miles or even light years away, which I'm assuming Kal-El did, than you'd have the time differential. Which I guess means that Kal-El's spaceship was traveling at near light speed which is why he grew so quickly from an infant to small boy.

    I'm sure someone else will answer this question much better than I ever could. But that's what I gathered from the line in question.
     
  3. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    I always thought that line was just incorrect. I see it as what he meant to say was that "by that reasoning, I will have been dead for many thousand Kryptonian years"

    BTW, I believe he said just "thousands of your years" he did not say "earth yeas" as you have it quoted. I don't know if that alters the meaning any, but maybe he was meaning "your native Kryptonian years"

    As for Mike's theory, It could be valid that Kal-El's spaceship was actually traveling for many thousand Earth Years and was travelling so fast that Kal-El aged very little (Theory of Relativity) but the only problem is that the movie does state, as from Earth's perspective that it took 3 years for the ship to reach earth.
     
  4. Todd Hostettler

    Todd Hostettler Second Unit

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    There is no scientific merit to this.

    However... the hypothesis that reversing the Earth's rotation will cause time to go backwards is an absolute scientific fact.






    [​IMG]
     
  5. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    I always assumed that he wasn't changing Earth's rotation. But, this was shown to show time going backwards.

    With the original question....????? I never thought of that. I was always wondering how humanoid life evolved on a world full of ice crystals and seemingly no life and atmosphere. [​IMG]
     
  6. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Doesn't Superman go opposite the Earth's rotation until it starts going backwards enough and then he changes direction to put it back in its proper rotation?

    Kinda defeats your theory.

    Besides, if he's just trying to pick up speed to travel back in time (a la Star Trek), then he should have taken advantage of the Earth's angular momentum and gone in the direction of rotation like rockets and the space shuttle do to achieve orbit rather than fight the angular momentum.
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Does he simply go back in time? Can he really just rewind entropy by making the earth spin in the opposite direction? Deep inside my gut, I never could buy it, so the whole reversal of time bit at the end of the film is the big blight of an otherwise fine film.

    This "time travel/TIVO of reality" ending is where the film embraces fantasy in such a way that it undermines whatever suspension of disbelief the viewer is asked to give to accept that a Kryptonian would have the powers of Superman by virtue of the yellow sun's effect on him, and the earth's gravity.

    Yes, this film made me believe a man could fly ... but also reverse time?
     
  8. DougFND

    DougFND Second Unit

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    Here's my two cents:

    Jor-El put the kid in the ship right before Krypton exploded many thousands of years ago (Earth years). The journey from Krypton took those thousands of Earth years, during which the kid only aged three Earth years.

    It's the same principle as the baby who gets put in the spaceship and travels at the speed of light. He comes back to find himself only slightly older, while everyone else on Earth has aged many years.

    If my take on Relativity is correct, the line would seem to be right.
     
  9. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    Believe it or not, Patrick, that was to have originally been the ending to "Superman II". Once Superman destroys the Fortress and returns Lois back to her apartment, he would have flown off and reversed time. There are a few still photographs from part of that lost sequence montage, in which Perry White (Jackie Cooper) brushes his teeth, and he, too, experiences the whole time-goes-backwards effect.

    The first film was to have originally ended on a cliffhanger note, with the XK-101 rocket Superman threw into space accidentally freeing the Phantom Zone criminals, thereby setting up the events of "Superman II".

    But once it became evident that Donner and crew were racing to the finish line to get the first film completed, they transposed the original ending for II onto the ending of I.

    It does make for a nice fantasy ending, though.
     
  10. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

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    I'll explain once someone explains to me how a yellow sun makes someone able to fly and be invulnerable. [​IMG]
     
  11. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  12. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    re: earth's rotation--I too thought "what the fuh?"

    but then someone said that it was based on the popular "something traveling at the speed of light could travel around the equator 7 times in a second" thing they taught us in elementary school. Supe flies so fast, he actually goes around the world faster than 7 times a second (hence why he's flying around the world) and thus, according to the theory of relativity, is actually going backwards through time. The earth's rotation is supposedly symbolic of time going backwards for Supe.

    But yeah, don't try to apply modern science to this movie. [​IMG]
     
  13. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    The reasoning behind Jor-El mentioning being dead for many thousand of "your years" has to do with Einstein's theories. Basically, the closer one comes to the speed of light, time slows down for them.

    It's the same principal that allowed Taylor in Planet of the Apes:
    I can't believe I'm spoilerizing this, but, it's how he returns to earth thousands of years later and hasn't aged.

    It's also explained in Contact as well. It's just a theory, and won't be proven until we can travel the speed of light, but it's a pretty well accepted theory.

    Turning back time by spinning the earth, it's as much fantasy as a humanoid from another planet, looking exactly like us, and having the powers he has.
     
  14. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    If it's symbolic, then why does Superman reverse direction at the end of his flight? Certainly not to slow down...that doesn't make any sense because he'd have to pass the 0 velocity point on his way to full speed in the opposite direction. Also, it can't be to show time moving forward again because his path going backwards doesn't coincide with the moment the Earth rotates in the proper direction again; it precedes that moment.

    It just doesn't make sense to completely reverse direction at the end unless he are stopping the Earth's backward rotation and restoring it to it's proper rotational direction.
     
  15. Nick Sievers

    Nick Sievers Producer

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    I didn't buy the Earth rotation thing when I was 10 and it kind of spoils the end of an otherwise solid film (which I revisited the other day as well).
     
  16. Don Giro

    Don Giro Supporting Actor

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    I just thought of something else...later in the film, Luthor reports to Otis and Miss Teshmacher that "Krypton blew up in 1948." I figure Superman in Metropolis was about 30 in the story, which unfolded in "modern times," 1978.

    The way I see it, Jor-El was dead for 18 years when Clark "built" the Fortress. I've got to read up on relativity...
     
  17. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

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    You don't need to travel the speed of light to prove this (in fact, nothing that has mass can travel the speed of light). What matters is the relative speed of two objects. The faster one will go through time slower. This has already been proven.
     
  18. ELLIOTTsf

    ELLIOTTsf Auditioning

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    hmm, but you believe that a man can fly?!
     

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