Have you ever had to climb up a down staircase? Have you ever danced on the ceiling? Chances are that you’ve never done these things because it would require you to exist in a world inverted from the one we regularly live in. Such everyday occurrences like walking through a room suddenly become strange and bizarre encounters when what is normally up is down and down is up. Things we take for granted evolve into unique challenges when our world is inverted. And yet, some people have no options when it comes to dealing with an inverted world. The situation is thrust upon them in the aftermath of a disaster. Others will willingly forego their comfortable, right-side-up world in order to pursue their passions in a world not meant for them. This week’s two films look at settings in inverted worlds.
The Poseidon Adventure
Length: 117 minutes / 1.95 hours
Most boats are not designed to operate when capsized, and for good reason. Sure, many pieces of furniture are bolted to the floor to allow for stability in an unsteady sea, but much of the infrastructure of a boat needs gravity to be acting in the correct direction in order to operate. While plumbing is the first thing to go in this situation, but don’t think there won’t be any water, as it will most likely be filling in the floors, starting from the top and working its way to the hull. Vaulted ceilings soon become impassable canyons and tight ventilation shafts are the only spaces that remain relatively unchanged in an inverted setting. And yet, even though a capsized boat is not the ideal environment for anything, people will adapt a survival instinct and do whatever it takes to escape the flipped, floating deathtrap.
At midnight on New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes twelve, a tidal wave strikes the SS Poseidon, causing it to capsize. Since most of the passengers were at the New Year’s Eve gala on the top floor of the ship, they are now well undersea and the water level starts to rise quickly. A group of survivors acted quickly and were able to escape to the galley door far above them, but most were not so lucky. Working their way through the upturned interior of the ship, they come across another group of survivors led by the ship’s medic. Unfortunately, the other group is headed toward the bow: the exact opposite direction from the engine room. At this crossroads, the first set of survivors allows one of their members to find the engine room, which ends up being their salvation, even if many of the group gave their lives so that the others could live.
Length: 100 minutes / 1.67 hours
Gravity is one of those undeniable laws of nature that we never question: we just know how it works. Now, suppose everything we knew about gravity was wrong. Let’s assume that two worlds can exist side-by-side and not be affected by the other’s gravity. Let’s assume that each world has its own gravity and that everything on that world will always be pulled toward that world’s core. If something were to exist in the other world, it would appear upside down, mainly because it won’t fall to the ground, but rather to the sky. Because of this strange phenomenon, you’d think we could take advantage of it by harnessing materials from the other world to induce levitation. But it’s not that easy: anything that comes in contact with the opposite world will burst into flames. This is just one of the three rules of gravity for these planets.
Since it is forbidden to interact between the two worlds, Up and Down, the only chance that people from the poverty-stricken Down can interact with those from the wealthy Up world is through TransWorld. Even though the Down are oppressed by the Up, who have taken the oil from the third-world planet and used it to make themselves wealthy, Adam (Jim Sturgess) has another reason to work for TransWorld: a girl. Many years ago, Adam met Eden (Kirsten Dunst) in the mountains that come close to Up. After thinking she had died, Adam sees her on TV, working for TransWorld. While there, he uses a family secret to create an anti-gravity cream for face lifts while also stealing Up clothing so he can date Eden. Unfortunately, interactions of this sort are forbidden and both Adam and Eden must escape the authorities again if they want to live happily ever after.
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 flipped worlds