To use a cliché loved by those who toil in Hollywood, making movies is not rocket science – even, apparently, when the subject is.
Yet movie science rarely adds up to more than yet another way to tell the same old stories, strewn with mad professors, humanoid aliens and rockets that rumble in the vacuum of space when – dammit – we all know that out there no one can hear you scream.
Director Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film Gravity has been praised for its realistic portrayal of life in space. Indeed, during a press conference in Mexico City a journalist even asked about the difficulties experienced by George Clooney and Sandra Bullock while filming in orbit: “Did the camera operators get sick?” The questions left Cuarón bemused (it emerged the reporter was working for a satirical television programme).
He was equally puzzled when America’s latest answer to Carl Sagan, the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, weighed in with tweets about the “Mysteries of #Gravity”. His nitpicks ranged from the way Bullock’s hair did not waft as it should in zero G to the direction satellites orbit the Earth: “Mysteries of #Gravity: How Hubble (350mi up) ISS (230mi up) & a Chinese Space Station are all in sight lines of one another.”