Newly-released video shows astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson revisiting the “storytelling” used in the Oscar-nominated movie Gravity, this time with an on-stage demonstration. (Movie fans take note: This story involves spoilers for the film.)
The footage, published by deGrasse Tyson’s radio show, Star Talk, shows him demonstrating how easy it should have been for Sandra Bullock’s character to pull co-star George Clooney to safety. The demonstration, shot at a November 2013 live episode in New York City, involves deGrasse Tyson standing in for Bullock and physicist Brian Greene “playing” Clooney’s character.
“There’s a scene where Sandra Bullock is holding on to the space station with her foot,” deGrasse Tyson said, as co-host Eugene Mirman acts as his “space station.”
Then, pointing to Greene — seated on a cart with a rope attached — deGrasse Tyson explained that Clooney’s character was hanging on by a tether. In the movie, he said, Clooney detaches himself from the tether as they run out of oxygen. In real life, deGrasse Tyson said, Clooney would remain stationary.
“But that’s not what happened in the movie,” he pointed out, before nudging Greene and the cart back with his foot to simulate what happened in the film.
“He went flying away, and the system wasn’t rotating,” deGrasse Tyson continued. “There was no centripetal force pushing him out.”
“Could it have been the opposing powers of their charisma and animal magnetism?” guest Michael Ian Black asked. “These are A-listers we’re talking about.”
In reality, deGrasse Tyson said, all Bullock would have had to do is tug, which, as he demonstrated, would have sent Clooney/Greene back toward safety with arms wide open.
Despite admitting to enjoying the film, deGrasse Tyson has repeatedly questioned that scene and other plot points in the movie, wondering to his fans why “we enjoy a SciFi film set in make-believe space more than we enjoy actual people set in real space.”
Watch deGrasse Tyson’s live demo, as posted online on Tuesday, below.
[Image via Neil deGrasse Tyson Facebook fan page]