Neil deGrasse Tyson got a lot of attention last year when he critiqued the science in “Gravity”, pointing out a few things the film got wrong in space. However, he says he did enjoy the film, which did spectacularly well at the box office.
“I was astonished at the attention the tweets got,” the “COSMOS” host said recently. “I have some metrics for how far a tweet will reach. I had no way to have predicted it [would be] on Today, and “Weekend Update” [on] Saturday Night Live, and on CBS Morning Show, and the blogosphere.”
It wasn’t his favorite movie, however; that title goes to a film you might not imagine would appeal to a man so interested in facts.
“I love The Matrix,” he said at a SXSW panel. “The Matrix 1 — not 2 or 3, of course. But that’s my single favorite film of all time.”
The movie was a visual masterpiece and was so innovative that it instantly became parodied and copied over and over. Tyson says the effects were part of what drew him in, but the story appeals to him as well. And while it might seem odd that a scientist so tethered to facts and research would love a sci-fi tale that makes great leaps when it comes to reality, it speaks to Tyson’s personality a great deal.
“I like the visual effects,” he said. “I like the story. I like the premise. It gets one thing wrong with the physics, but I’ll forgive it, because it did so much else so well. That part where [Laurence Fishburne] holds up the battery and says [the machines] are breeding humans to serve as a source of energy for their civilization, so that we’re just really like a battery, a copper top. That’s a weak point in the storytelling, because you don’t make a human, and use the energy of the human, because you have to put energy in a human to begin with. Whatever energy that you’re putting in the human, use that to drive your civilization. Any time energy transfers from one form to another, you lose efficiency. You’re losing some of your energy. And a human is not the most efficient way to express the energy that you’re feeding it. But then they wouldn’t have a story. So I gotta give them something.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons