Monday, March 11, 2013

Physics of Animation Term Paper

            For my Physics of Animation term paper, I chose to focus on the physics in the world of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (I’ll call it POTC: DMC for short). POTC: DMC was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Gore Verbinski. The film was release on July 7th 2006 and became successful sequel to the hugely popular Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. POTC:DMC is a live action film with CGI elements. The film has various mystical elements, over the top action, and an extensive amount of CGI and special effects, which is why I chose to analyze it. For entertainment value, the film pushes the boundaries of the physical world, by creating improbable stunts and unlikely scenarios. In the POTC: DMC worlds, the laws of physics are broken for multiple purposes. To create this creating a fantastical world filled with monsters, sea creature-pirates hybrids, unbelievable fight sequences, and cursed pirate ships the films creative team was forced to push the limits of physics and their imagination. Much of the film ignores the laws of physics for comedic effect. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest breaks the laws of physics by manipulation pressure and weight, defying gravity, and balance.
            There are several pirate ships seen throughout the films, most of which follow the basic laws of physics. For sailing ships, the wind blowing on a sail produces a pressure difference, creating the force that moves the ship including The Flying Dutchman and The Black Pearl. The Black Pearl (which was later fixed by sewing pieces of fabric on it) claimed to be the fastest ship in the Caribbean. However, both ships are found sailing with ease with numerous holes and large rips throughout the sails. Not to mention that the pressure would cause numerous parts of the ship to break, especially the sails. Because the ships were cursed, the designers sound ways to make both ships feel unique and haunted. The ripped sails give the ship a creepy and magical quality, much like the crew that inhabited found sailing aboard The Pearl and The Dutchman. Once the crew was no longer cursed the sails were fixed and patched up. This is a highly improbable scenario, but in this universe of Pirates, it is possible.
            The Flying Dutchman, easily the biggest and most fearsome ship on the sea, continues to break laws throughout the film. The crew of human-sea creature hybrids occupy the Flying Dutchman, with this crew and ship the possibilities are endless. Most notably is its ability to submerge and remerge under water at will. In the process, the crewmembers are able to stay on the boat without dying or resurfacing. However, when it comes to buoyancy, a buoyant force pushing submerged objects upward is also due to a pressure difference. The pressure increases with depth due to the weight of the liquid. There is now way they could stay submerged let alone hold on when the ship id plunging into the water. We’ll ignore the fact that it’s impossible for ships (especially with sails) would be able to submerge underwater as if it were a submarine.
            The laws of gravity are defied as well, for example, the Kraken (Davey Jones’ pet/monster), attacks pirate ships throughout the film by emerging underneath the ship and then breaking and pulling into the depths of the ocean. The first time we see the Kraken attack a ship, he breaks it clean into two pieces. There is a man positioned directly next to the tentacle that breaks the ship. The problem here is that the man ends up being launched several feet in the air. In actuality, if he were standing next to the break in the ship, he would have been pulled down into the water. The only way he could be launched into the air like that, he would have to be at the opposite end of the ship.
            As another example, the crew of the Black Pearl is trapped in a cage made of human bones, where they are hanging from a cliff. In order to escape, Will, Gibbs, and the other pirates swing the ball in a periodic motion in order to reach the side of the cliff. They then proceed to climb up the cliff's 90º-rock face. The only problem is that their hair, jewelry, etc do not reflect the gravity, which would naturally affect them, despite any wind.
            At another point in the movie, our hero Captain Jack Sparrow, finds himself strapped to a bamboo stick by a thick rope. The rope is wound round Jack's body and the pole at his back. At this point, Jack falls backwards after a jump across an open cliff. However, the pole gets jammed between the cliffs, but the pole does not break and the rope does not tear. The rope that was previously wrapped around the pole disappears leaving the rope intact around only Jack's body in order for Jack to twirl and unravel as he falls. This is impossible, and was done for comedic effect.

            Shortly after the rope incident, Jack falls from an enormous height, along with various tropical fruits. We can conceive that when Jack hits the ground, he doesn’t fall to his death, due to the fact that his fall is broken several times over by various wooden bridges, slowing his fall. However, the already-damaged fruits (from being speared by the bamboo stick that was previously on Jack’s back) survived an impact from the height, speed, and angle shown.

These are the same fruits (papayas, mangos, and melons) that easily splattered into pulp when thrown at Jack by the native women with far less force, a slower speed, and at a close range.
          The spectacular fight sequence between Jack, Will and Norington has several issues with it. First and foremost, the ability to sword fight while spinning continuously inside a wheel is impossible. In real life to accomplish something like that the individuals would need to be strapped into the spinning wheel. On the wheel, there are six metal bars mounted around the circumference of the water wheel's axle. We see the axle’s circular wood frame with its spinning bars, above and behind him, as he runs the wheel. As the wheel is spinning, Jack is running in the interior and promptly hits his head on one of those axle bars, then falls out. When this happens we see a close up of jack face as he supposedly sees an approaching metal bar about to make contact with his face. This is impossible, since the bars are spinning behind him. Shortly after, jack hops back into the spinning wheel, he is considerably shorter (way more than a foot) than all six spinning axle bars, which would make that previous shot impossible, however humorous it may be.

            In my competing hypotheses the arcs created in the film are quite accurate and convincing. As previously mentioned, several crew members are trapped in a round bone cage, connected to a long rope hanging off of a cliff. The crew uses their weight to shift the cage back and forth in order to reach the side of the cliff. The pendulum creates a convincing circular arc, slowing in and out at the correct point when swinging from side to side, creating convincing pendulum spacing.
            In the POTC:DMC world, it is apparent that the laws of physics have been broken many ways throughout the film in order to achieve comedic effect and create a fantasy-like world. Without the ability of visual effects and CGI, the movie would have been very dull. It is important that filmmakers today do not allow physics to limit their creativity, but rather aid them to create a convincing world that cannot actually exist in real life. By doing so, the artistic and creative mind’s behind POTC:DMC, have made appealing characters in an amazingly unique world, it has everything you could want from a film, Action, romance, humor, and monsters.. As a result, the Pirates franchise has become one of my favorite series of films of all time. 

Outline Differences:
I changed around various things from my outline due to the fact that I decided go with different examples that simply worked better for my final paper. 

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