Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Ant-Man": not necessarily a reliable lesson in either biology or quantum physics

The best scenes in Peyton Reed’s 3-D “Ant-Man” occur toward the end, where the reduced Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) plays in a model train set, with a Thomas running on an elevated track, even causing a track wreck.  The train as well as Scott expands to real-world size and plop on top a police car outside. 
Then Scott shrinks down to the quantum level, and the special effects, that carry on into the end credits, show us a psychedelic version of the quantum world of quarks.

The story (Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish with Paul Rudd himself writing some of the script) and screenwriting, however, are all so trite and conventional.  Scott, an ex-con for having been a successful cat burglar (and winning left-wing praise for playing Robin Hood) can’t keep at fast-food job because of his record, and desperately needs an occupation to make child support payments and get visitation for his darling little girl.  It’s all about “gotta do it”.  So he returns to crime, and gets “hired” by inventor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), to become a tiny soldier, reduced by the “Pym Particle” that compresses matter and re-expands at will (physics says this is impossible). 
Along the way, Scott enlists the help of armies of real ants, of various species (including carpenter) making for some spectacular CGI inside sewer tunnels. Entomologists will laugh.
There is a back story of how Pym claims to have intercepted a Soviet ICBM nuclear strike on the US in 1987.  A likely story. 
Oh, what other movies come to mind?  Try “Antz”, “A Bug’s Life”, and even “Small Soldiers” (1996), an early film from “Everwood” and now “Rookie Blue” star Gregory Smith. 

The film is produced by Marvel Studios and released by Disney, official site
I saw the film before a small Sunday audience at Regal Ballston Common, in a large auditorium, flat screen.  The film is left in standard 1.85:1 format, which makes projection on IMAX easier.  But in a conventional wide-screen auditorium like Regal’s larger ones (that is, “Epcot style”), the entire screen area won’t be used, since the set up is optimal for wide anamorphic.

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