What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Lesson in the Physics of Superman Returns

Amanda and I went with our friends John and Maggie to see the new Superman movie. I enjoyed it. It made for a great summer popcorn flick to see on a weekday evening with nothing else to do. Dan Carlson does a really nice job of summing up the movie and all of the vast social implications for The Man of Steel and his legacy in America. Dan speaks highly enough of the movie considering he is a pretty tough critic, but I disagreed that the movie relied too heavily on the earlier Superman movies, which seemed to be his primary complaint. I would say that it relies a sufficient amount. Anyway, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

As I mentioned, Dan felt that the movie's style was more or less an omage or perhaps even a cut-and-paste (with 2006 tech) of the style of Superman I & II. Yes, the tights and all are the classic red, blue and yellow, the little curl is present and even the clothes and cars seem stuck in the 1940s, but, other than the inexplicable internet, cell phones and flat screen televisions, one modern day advancement stuck out very clearly to me above any other. Take a close look at this picture. Do you see those little dimples on his arm. Those little dimples on his suit are the most distinguishing characteristic of the new getup. The director of Superman Returns, Bryan Singer himself, while explaining the small changes they made to the, essentially, unchanged suit, even neglected to note them in this interview. You might be asking yourself, "What does it matter if the suit has dimples or not?" "What is wrong with Kyle that he would forgo discussion about the plot line and inherit messianic qualities attributed to Superman in the new film to talk about the texture of the dang suit?" "Who cares?" The answer to these questions is...long. So, here's the short version. It matter's, but then again it doesn't.

And here's the long version.

Have you ever wondered why a golf ball flies so far? You probably haven't. But let's pretend that you have. It's because of the little dimples that cover the golf ball. For further explaination click here. You see, I was watching a documentary on Discovery Channel about Lance Armstrong and they discussed how the dimples on Lance's jersey cuts down on wind resistance. Clicking here will bring up a window that explains it further and shows a close up of the suit.

So, why would Superman need a suit like Lance Armstrong's? Quite simply, Superman would want as aerodynamic a suit as possible. He flies fast enough sure, but if you could cut a month off of your round trip to Krypton, a flight that would normally take five years, wouldn't you? The dimples can help with that. Of course, that doesn't account for the cape, which has to create drag, slowing him way down. I don't understand the function of the cape. It obviously doesn't aid in flight, as I once thought because he was able to fly without it.

And here we come the even bigger question. Why do they give the new Super-suit the dimple technology if they aren't even going to acknowledge it? Brandon Routh wasn't really flying or in need of superior aerodynamics. If it was only for asthetics then why ignore it?

Also, what's with the whole glasses/no glasses thing. I just can't get past the fact that it is so obviously the same guy.

I guess I recommend Superman Returns. Just try not to overthink it.

The movie get 3/5 bulls.

1 comment:

Varun S said...

Hi Kyle,
nice post.

I too tried out my physics on superman's flight. see it here