Neil deGrasse Tyson Fact Checks And Nitpicks Gravity

By Rudie Obias | 8 years ago

NDT gravityRenowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is a self-proclaimed science fiction movie nerd, but he’s never shy about nitpicking the movies when they get the science wrong. In the past, Tyson has poked holes in various popular sci-fi movies such as Prometheus, Men in Black, and The Avengers. He has also skewered Titanic when he told James Cameron that the stars’ alignment in the night sky while the ship was sinking were completely wrong. Cameron actually worked with Tyson to fix the problem for later editions of the Academy Award-winning film. Now it seems that Tyson has focused his nitpicking attention to Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity.

Last Friday, Gravity was released in theaters to a record-breaking box office weekend. Neil deGrasse Tyson took to Twitter on Sunday night to let his followers know what’s wrong with Gravity‘s science and outlook on space. First he commented on the title:

If that wasn’t enough, Tyson then took issue with Gravity‘s main scenario, namely with the notion of a medical doctor working on the Hubble Telescope. For the record, Dr. Ryan Stone said that her work with hospital imaging technology was what led her to work on the Hubble Telescope while orbiting the earth.

Then Neil deGrasse Tyson took out his claws and fact-checked a majority of Gravity’s narrative and science. It’s almost too bad that he was paying more attention to the science more than the fiction. Otherwise, he might have gotten lost in Alfonso Cuarón’s brand of storytelling.

Gravity‘s comparisons to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey are surface level. If you dig deeper into the film, you can see that Gravity is going for something broader and more crowd pleasing than Kubrick’s science fiction art film. Nevertheless, Tyson pointed out the parallels between the two films, while saying that he prefers Kubrick’s film to Cuarón’s.

His last tweet about Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity spoke to the state of NASA and space exploration in real life, as opposed to in the world of fiction. It’s clear that he wants more people to be just as enthusiastic about space as science fiction movies such as Gravity, but when it comes down to it, it seems like people will gravitate towards fiction over reality most of the time.

It seems like Neil deGrasse Tyson got some flak on Twitter about his comments towards Gravity. While the astrophysicist had his problems with the film’s world building, he finally tweeted his opinion on the space film. Despite a few nitpicks, apparently Tyson really liked the movie.

It appears that a majority of the country liked Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film because it broke a number of box office records over the weekend. The film grossed $55.5 million over the span of the three-day weekend, which is now the highest-grossing movie released in the month of October. It is also the highest-grossing film for both Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, dethroning The Heat and Batman and Robin, respectively. While Gravity defied expectations, Cuarón’s highest-grossing opening weekend remains Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which pulled in $93.6 million in 2004.