This book is the companion to Tom Rogers infamous website. His simple mission with this book is to explain to movie enthusiasts the accuracy of scenes filled with physics. It also serves as a good learning tool for students of physics. This book gives students examples of how principles and equations that they have studied can be applied. Tom Rogers reviews 20 different topics in this book and goes on to show how the rules of physics are flexible in filmmaking. Some of the topics of mechanics discussed by Tom Rogers include Newton's laws, energy, momentum kinematics, rotation and gravity.
One aspect of this book that I greatly appreciated was the in-depth discussion of the Oliver Stone film JFK. In this discussion the reader is talked through the reason why a second shooter is not needed to produce the images that are shown in the Zapruder film. Tom Rogers also focuses on pressure waves. In particular as to why along with high temperature, pressure waves contributed to the way the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma collapsed. The focus on topics such as this counteracts the claims of many conspiracy theorists.
I found that Tom Rogers does a great job in keeping calculations separate from the main text. This alleviates a casual reader having to read the information they have no interest in. I did, however, find myself quite disappointed with some of the writing. It felt as though the author had simply copied and pasted information, rather than writing it solely for this book. I also was quite irritated by certain content. The comparison of Star Trek and Star Wars was in particular one of these topics. To me, it felt very unneeded.
Tom Rogers does, however, answers those questions that many of us have had but never thought out loud. One of these questions that has always been in the back of my is can you really ignite gasoline with the flick of a cigarette? The reader discovers that this is not the case as a cigarette is not designed to burn. Instead, it is designed to smoulder which does not help with igniting gasoline.
Overall this book, in my opinion, is a worthy read for those studying physics and movie buffs. Readers who are familiar with Tom Roger’s website may find themselves quite disappointed. The book regurgitates much of the information found on the website. For those unfamiliar with the website, this book explains much of the science in movie scenes without taking away from the appreciation of the movie. Students, in particular, may find that the light language used in this book will help rediscover their love of many of the topics discussed.