-Physical law: Newton’s third law of Forces: Action/Reaction. For every force there is an opposing force in the opposite direction that is equal and simultaneous with the first.
-Thesis- Newton’s third law defines how people interact with objects or other people in a physically realistic world. However, film directors will frequently break this established law, to instill marvel and amazement in their audiences.
1. Star Trek (2009): In the new Star Trek film, Kirk and Sulu fall from a platform hundreds of feet in the air. Without a parachute, Kirk desperately calls in to be “beamed up” to the ship before they are killed by the fall. Just in time, Chekov is able to teleport them back, but their momentum from falling was conserved during the teleportation, and they smashed onto the landing pad as they re-materialized. Although they began the fall on the planet’s surface, momentum was conserved for a very high fall; the force of falling should have killed them, but they survived.
2. Hero (2002): This Chinese film is full of beautiful choreography. One scene in particular features the popular wire-fu, where the actors appear to float in the air. Two enemies meet and they have a sword battle, walking on a lake and pushing off the water’s surface with minimum effort to glide up very high in the air.
3. Mulan (1998): The animated film Mulan, by Disney Studios, is about a Chinese woman who goes to war. During a pivotal battle, the General Shang is being swept off a cliff by an avalanche. Mulan saves Shang on her horse, but all three of them fall off the cliff. Mulan’s comrades save her by shooting a rope tied to an arrow, and they pull her up. Despite the incredible weight of a falling horse, a thin rope is able to hold all of them. Furthermore, one man is able to pull up the suspended weight of two people and a horse, as well as to life two others at the same time. This feat would never be humanly possible because the force exerted by the weight would be too much for one man to lift, no matter how strong.
-In these examples Newton’s third law was broken as the force exerted was at a disconnect with the reacting force.
-The ability to break physical laws is one of the most exciting things about movies. Filmmakers are constantly pushing physics to the limits and beyond, with exciting and entertaining results.