Given Hollywood’s less-than-sterling reputation for accuracy in its films, it’s pretty much a given that in no genre is this tendency more pronounced than science fiction, where finicky little facts about physics and chemistry would be hard enough for even an intelligent, patient, gifted storyteller to get right, much less somebody working for Twentieth Century Fox. It’s also not a stretch to imagine that this lack of attention to detail probably drives technologically-minded types crazy. Yelling ‘that’s not how science works!’, throwing-their-microscopes-at-the-screen kind of crazy. Hence Fix a Film Day, a competition run by the Non Fiction Science Society (NonFiSci) on Wednesday 20th February, where Edinburgh University students were invited to get into teams and make videos which ‘corrected’ the faulty science of classic science fiction movies. The winning entry, presented as part of the Informatics Closing Ceremony for Innovative Learning Week, took on the faulty science of Ghostbusters by presenting certain ‘outtakes’ from the movie itself, with the Ghostbusters being played by the students themselves (Hannah, Eleanor and Athirah.)One scene depicted the ‘Ghostbusters’ unable to get their guns working, due to the fact that none of them have nuclear reactors attached to their backs, since in real life these are between several metres and several kilometres wide. Another pointed out that in order to bring New York City to its knees, villain Gozer the Gozerian would have to have been wearing rubber boots, lest he himself get electrocuted by his own lightning.
All in all it was an intelligent yet accessible – and, most importantly, funny – addition to the Informatics Closing Ceremony. Congratulations to Hannah, Eleanor and Athirah (aka the Ghostbusters) for creating such an entertaining yet educational critique which, for me, defined what Innovative Learning Week was all about. If a giant, walking marshmallow man ever tries to take over Edinburgh I know whose advice I’ll be asking on how to stop it.
– Michael Hannan, MSc Creative Writing