The Hollywood Code


Matthew Inman over at gives voice to what lurks in every movie-goer, especially those of us with computers, as a common gripe. Why can’t Hollywood get the cinema of code right?

Here’s the link.

I always notice when FX designers take special liberties in designing computers in the movies. Sandra Bullock, for example, uses a terminal in the film The Net that bears less resemblance to a real world computer than a loaf of banana bread bears to Pope Benedict. And Scotty, in Star Trek IV, calls up a remarkable, rotating molecular model for “transparent aluminum” with just a few strokes of what he deems a “quaint” keyboard. At least the tech on duty tried to get him to use the mouse.

But it’s such an easy target. It’s fine to swing the flame throwers on Hollywood when it comes to computers, but while we’re at it, let’s get on their case for putting people through plate glass without a scratch or chasing heroes down the hallway with a grenade blast or dusting them off after a building collapses on them.

They take liberties for two reasons. Ignorance is the obvious one. Sometimes these people just don’t know the limitations of the computer and they imagine that nine-year-old Joseph Mazello can slip behind a UNIX machine and gain root access to the computer system running an entire island. The other reason is the oldest one in pictures. What happens up on the screen has to be cinematic. It has to entertain. Drama is the goal, above all else. And the basic truth is that movies move. Coders do not.

Check out the article. It’s a good read.

About the author: will

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