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samarm
10-01-2008, 02:36 PM
So, near the end of the movie, Superman flys around the earth really fast, and reverses time to the point where he can save Lois. When I first watched this scene (aged about 9), I was in awe at this feat. Ever since, I've just assumed that this would somehow be possible.

But how can flying around the earth, in the opposite direction to its rotation, reverse (or even slow down) time? Is there any science based in fact here?

KneadToKnow
10-01-2008, 02:42 PM
So, near the end of the movie, Superman flys around the earth really fast, and reverses time to the point where he can save Lois. When I first watched this scene (aged about 9), I was in awe at this feat. Ever since, I've just assumed that this would somehow be possible.

But how can flying around the earth, in the opposite direction to its rotation, reverse (or even slow down) time? Is there any science based in fact here?

Yes, he did.

No, it isn't.

CalMeacham
10-01-2008, 02:43 PM
But how can flying around the earth, in the opposite direction to its rotation, reverse (or even slow down) time? Is there any science based in fact here?


It can't. They needed a happy ending, so they created this bit of fluff explanation. It's always annoyed me, because it makes no sort of sense, and isn't event consistent with the comic book it's supposed to be based on (where Superman could himself travel into the past, but not turn back time in any part of the rest of the universe.)


The classic example of what happens when you try to reverse the earth's spin is in the H.G. Wells short story 'The Man Who Could Work Miracles", and in the underrasted movie of the same name based on it

http://imdb.com/title/tt0029201/



(Although I must in fairness add that even Carl Sagan has pointed out that you can avoid ill effects by slowing down the spin gradually enough. Only Supes definitely wasn't doing that.)

A shameful cracka...
10-01-2008, 02:45 PM
Maybe he wasn't really turning the Earth back, but flying at faster than the speed of light to travel back in time - the appearance of the Earth rotating backwards was actually just Superman's perception. He did the flying close to Earth so he could keep an eye on things and know when he had travelled back far enough.

Amp
10-01-2008, 02:49 PM
I never saw it as him turning back time, I always saw it as him going back in time and seeing everything from his POV.

si_blakely
10-01-2008, 02:56 PM
It's called "Frame Reference Dragging". You see, Superman is really dense, and if you rotate a dense object at near the speed of light, you induce eddys in the space-time continuum (you may see his sofa). These eddys can allow you to move forward or backward in time at a rate faster than the reference frame. So Supe circled the earth really fast creating an eddy that moved Earth back in time to before Lois died.

Si

Skald the Rhymer
10-01-2008, 02:57 PM
So, near the end of the movie, Superman flys around the earth really fast, and reverses time to the point where he can save Lois. When I first watched this scene (aged about 9), I was in awe at this feat. Ever since, I've just assumed that this would somehow be possible.

But how can flying around the earth, in the opposite direction to its rotation, reverse (or even slow down) time? Is there any science based in fact here?

I've always seen it that Superman travelled BACKWARDS in time, and the Earth rotating backward was merely what it seemed like from his perspective. He inserted himself into the time stream at just the right moment to save Lois's life; he didn't go back a little further--say far enough to STOP THE FREAKING MISSILE FROM HITTING IN THE FIRST PLACE--because he is, despite his prodigious education, an idiot. This, of course, created an alternate timeline, so when he returned to the point of origin, there was another Kal-El then, whom, being a dick, he then murdered.

Can you tell I hate that scene?

Elendil's Heir
10-01-2008, 02:58 PM
I never saw it as him turning back time, I always saw it as him going back in time and seeing everything from his POV.

Me too. But it still was a silly plot device.

Baldwin
10-01-2008, 03:00 PM
He didn't "reverse time", except for himself; he travelled backward in time by exceeding the speed of light. (That's why you can't do that -- exceed the speed of light, that is.)

Flying around the Earth was irrelevant; he could just as easily have flown a straight line away and back and achieved the same effect. But flying around the Earth that fast was much more visually dramatic, so that's why they did the scene that way.

wolfman
10-01-2008, 03:02 PM
I've always seen it that Superman travelled BACKWARDS in time, and the Earth rotating backward was merely what it seemed like from his perspective. He inserted himself into the time stream at just the right moment to save Lois's life; he didn't go back a little further--say far enough to STOP THE FREAKING MISSILE FROM HITTING IN THE FIRST PLACE--because he is, despite his prodigious education, an idiot. This, of course, created an alternate timeline, so when he returned to the point of origin, there was another Kal-El then, whom, being a dick, he then murdered.

Can you tell I hate that scene?

I have had seeveral debates about this, and that just doesn't happen. He actually reverses the rotation of the earth.

You can tell because after the Earth is spinning in the wrong way he stops and the Earth is still spinning that way. He then goes the other way around to get it spinning in the right direction again. If it was simply his perspective then the Earth would have been going the right way after he stopped, without him needing to get it going in that way again,

Baldwin
10-01-2008, 03:03 PM
Boy, that's what happens when I leave a window open on a thread like this -- pretty quick pileon for that particular question (which seems to come up every couple of years here).

Baldwin
10-01-2008, 03:04 PM
You can tell because after the Earth is spinning in the wrong way he stops and the Earth is still spinning that way. He then goes the other way around to get it spinning in the right direction again. If it was simply his perspective then the Earth would have been going the right way after he stopped, without him needing to get it going in that way again,That's a blunder in the visual effects. Or something that makes far less sense than time travel.

KneadToKnow
10-01-2008, 03:15 PM
Over 30 minutes and no Cher jokes?

What the hell is this place coming to?

Find Friends
10-01-2008, 03:16 PM
In the late 70's, there was an article in a comics-journal/comics-world type of fanzine that pretty much panned the movie and everything in it. The author seemed to me to be awfully biased, perhaps wanting everything to be pretty much the same as in the Silver Age/ Bronze Age comics. He even advocated for the Kryptonian building design to be the same as he was familiar with. (You know, all that Space Needle jazz.)

But he had a pretty good point about the anticlimactic ending.

Paraphrased: If Superman can do THAT, he can do ANYTHING, and then why should we care what he does at all?

- "Jack"

Skald the Rhymer
10-01-2008, 03:20 PM
He didn't "reverse time", except for himself; he travelled backward in time by exceeding the speed of light. (That's why you can't do that -- exceed the speed of light, that is.)

Flying around the Earth was irrelevant; he could just as easily have flown a straight line away and back and achieved the same effect. But flying around the Earth that fast was much more visually dramatic, so that's why they did the scene that way.

Actually I think it was necessary, or at least prudent, to do it by orbiting the Earth. He wasn't time travelling for the hell of it; he needed to reach a specific moment. Clearly even the Big Red S is going to need some space to do that, but he also needs to keep an eye on his regress and progress. Easiest way to do both is to keep Earth in sight the entire time, which means he'll have to orbit it.

samarm
10-01-2008, 03:21 PM
He didn't "reverse time", except for himself; he travelled backward in time by exceeding the speed of light. (That's why you can't do that -- exceed the speed of light, that is.)

So speaking purely theoretically, if you exceeded the speed of light, you would travel back time time. As Superman is not from Earth, is it not possible that his powers would allow him to break the speed of light?

Skald the Rhymer
10-01-2008, 03:24 PM
So speaking purely theoretically, if you exceeded the speed of light, you would travel back time time. As Superman is not from Earth, is it not possible that his powers would allow him to break the speed of light?

By the very same logic, it is possible that I am, in fact, also Fabulous Creature, a ruthless supervillain who will not be satisfied until the Earth is conquered, every government overthrown, all its women stampeded, and all its cattle raped.

Anaamika
10-01-2008, 03:25 PM
I never understood Superman anyway. As True Blue Jack points out, once you have a Superman, everything is done and over with. He can stop all crime, he can turn back time (if he could find a way!) he can see all and do all, so that should pretty much be the end of crime, right? And once you have Superman, you don't need any other crime fighters so the Justice League or whatever is useless.

And I also think he spun the Earth backwards.

KneadToKnow
10-01-2008, 03:28 PM
Here's a thought: how can Superman, who derives much of his power from the sun, travel faster than light?

he can turn back time (if he could find a way!)

There ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb.

CalMeacham
10-01-2008, 03:30 PM
I never understood Superman anyway.

Well, he didn't start out as proctically omnipotent. At the beginning he couldn't fly (hence the "...abl to leap buildings at a single bound", which makes zero sense for a guy who can fly), he was tough but not invulnerable, and strong but not ludicrously strong. He sure as heck couldn't outrun a Time Barrier, or whatever.

But he kept getting more and more powerful through the years, and they had to create Kryptonite and Mr. Mixyzpltk (later Mr. Mxyzptlk -- no joke. They misspelled it once, and, to keep consistency, retained that) and other limitations.


Absolute Power doesn't necessarily Corrupt. But it does make creating Dramatic Situations a Bitch.

msmith537
10-01-2008, 03:51 PM
I never understood Superman anyway. As True Blue Jack points out, once you have a Superman, everything is done and over with. He can stop all crime, he can turn back time (if he could find a way!) he can see all and do all, so that should pretty much be the end of crime, right? And once you have Superman, you don't need any other crime fighters so the Justice League or whatever is useless.

And I also think he spun the Earth backwards.


Because he isn't omniscient and he can only be in one place at a time. As evidenced by his inability to stop both the missle heading for Hackinsack, NJ and the San Andreas fault. Which of course makes no sense 5 minutes later as he can now travel faster than the speed of light.

friedo
10-01-2008, 03:58 PM
I'm still trying to figure out why his cape flaps in space.

Don't Call Me Shirley
10-01-2008, 04:03 PM
I never understood Superman anyway. As True Blue Jack points out, once you have a Superman, everything is done and over with. He can stop all crime, he can turn back time (if he could find a way!) he can see all and do all, so that should pretty much be the end of crime, right? And once you have Superman, you don't need any other crime fighters so the Justice League or whatever is useless.

And I also think he spun the Earth backwards.

The job of the rest of the Justice League was mainly keeping the kryptonite away from Superman.

If he could fly around the earth hundreds of times a second, how come he couldn't cross the US in the several minutes between pushing the first missile into space and the second one going off?

Ludovic
10-01-2008, 04:13 PM
I never understood Superman anyway.
He never made no money.

Baldwin
10-01-2008, 04:57 PM
So speaking purely theoretically, if you exceeded the speed of light, you would travel back time time. As Superman is not from Earth, is it not possible that his powers would allow him to break the speed of light?No; it's just the structure of the Universe that imposes that speed limit.

Unless you're talking about comic book "logic", in which case, Hell yeah.

A shameful cracka...
10-01-2008, 05:17 PM
I have had seeveral debates about this, and that just doesn't happen. He actually reverses the rotation of the earth.

You can tell because after the Earth is spinning in the wrong way he stops and the Earth is still spinning that way. He then goes the other way around to get it spinning in the right direction again. If it was simply his perspective then the Earth would have been going the right way after he stopped, without him needing to get it going in that way again,

On his way back he's travelling at relativistic but less than C speeds to compress time for himself and get back to the present quicker.

Czarcasm
10-01-2008, 05:30 PM
Moving thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.

puppygod
10-01-2008, 05:31 PM
I'm still trying to figure out why his cape flaps in space.
It's obviously effect of the solar wind (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_wind).

wolfman
10-01-2008, 05:52 PM
On his way back he's travelling at relativistic but less than C speeds to compress time for himself and get back to the present quicker.

Nope, he doesn't do anything between spinning the Earth each way.

Voyager
10-01-2008, 05:59 PM
I'm still trying to figure out why his cape flaps in space.

Superfarts. Or the impact of monkeys flying out of his butt.

Voyager
10-01-2008, 06:02 PM
It can't. They needed a happy ending, so they created this bit of fluff explanation. It's always annoyed me, because it makes no sort of sense, and isn't event consistent with the comic book it's supposed to be based on (where Superman could himself travel into the past, but not turn back time in any part of the rest of the universe.)

In fact, it was established that Silver Age Superman and Superboy could go back in time and not affect it. I remember a story where Superboy went back to save Lincoln, and was thwarted by Luthor happening to have gone back also. I don't know what the Superman of Earth e ** π can do - they lost me years ago.

And I agree that is one of the stupidest solutions to a movie problem in history.

Yllaria
10-01-2008, 06:40 PM
I'm still trying to figure out why his cape flaps in space.

And they've never addressed the effect of getting, say, a grasshopper in the eye while traveling at near light speeds. You know it would happen eventually.

BMax
10-01-2008, 06:42 PM
The job of the rest of the Justice League was mainly keeping the kryptonite away from Superman.

If he could fly around the earth hundreds of times a second, how come he couldn't cross the US in the several minutes between pushing the first missile into space and the second one going off?
It took him a few orbits to build up that speed.

He flew from east to west. when I did that, I time travelled in the opposite direction. I got on an airplane just after sundown on Wednesday night, it was dark for 18 hours then when the sun came up it was Friday morning.

foolsguinea
10-01-2008, 07:47 PM
Maybe he wasn't really turning the Earth back, but flying at faster than the speed of light to travel back in time - the appearance of the Earth rotating backwards was actually just Superman's perception. He did the flying close to Earth so he could keep an eye on things and know when he had travelled back far enough.This.

Mahaloth
10-01-2008, 08:08 PM
When he turned back time, did Jimmy get killed? If not, why did only the negative of Lois dying get changed?

How convenient is this ability?

BMax
10-01-2008, 08:13 PM
Check it out, guys.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=HNFftA1Pry0
He flies east to west at super-light speed, gets the earth moving backwards. Then he flies around west-to-east a few times to get the earth moving in the right direction again. That implies that he turns back time, then has to correct the flow of time by correcting the direction of the earth's rotation.

robertliguori
10-01-2008, 09:14 PM
This is somewhat topical:

Superman: How It Should Have Ended (http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=yavK0mnE3wI).

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