The University of Chicago Magazine
Where Raquel Welch meets Brownian motion, and terminal velocity turns Kong's fatal fall into a really big splash.Where Raquel Welch meets Brownian motion, and terminal velocity turns Kong's fatal fall into a really big splash.
By Michael LaBarbera
Photos by Matt Gilsonhen Jurassic Park was first released, I went to see it with a paleontologist colleague (who shall remain nameless to protect his professional reputation). All through the film, as the rest of the audience cringed and shrieked, we excitedly whispered to each other: "All right! Classic large-predator behavior patterns!" "Look at that! The bipedal kinematics are perfect!" We were insufferable, but what can you expect when two U of C faculty go to the movies?
Now you may find monster movies, as a genre, hard to reconcile with the normal decorum and rarefied intellectualism of academia. For me, though, they represent an educational resource for my introductory biology course, an eye-opening way of illustrating biological principles. They're also the source of a perverse delight--the delight of using basic biological knowledge to gain insights into the movies' plots and protagonists that often even the directors lacked. It's enough to make even B movies an A+ experience.
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