Rules for Hollywood Space Walks


A day off sick from work provides time to watch some trashy sci-fi, in this case it was Alien: Covenant. Ridley Scott managed to challenge some of the intervening Alien episodes for ridiculous plot lines and inexplicable character behaviours that lead to inevitable blood and gore in this one. Early on in the film, before it descended into silliness there was a space walk, which made me think of the rules used for these things in Hollywood:

  1. Lilting music, at least as the walk begins and before anything goes wrong
  2. There should be jaunty banter between crew on board and the space walker
  3. Heavy breathing inside the suits
  4. A tool must slip out of someone’s grasp, and then be caught again before it disappears into space
  5. Catching sight of earth requires astronauts to take a moment to gaze lovingly on the blue planet. Earth must then reflect on the helmet visor.
  6. Pushing off from one part of the ship and then drifting through space before grabbing onto some other part of the ship. Woah dude!
  7. Breaking of the rules of physics, usually by allowing sound to exist in a vacuum, with the notable exception of Kubrick in 2001.
  8. Something must go wrong. Select from:
    • astronaut drifts into space with no way to retrieve them
    • Space suit runs out of oxygen/develops a breach
    • Malevolent AI locks humans out of the ship
    • Possible injury or death from high speed flying space debris, though this usually just peppers the hull of the spacecraft and causes a pipe to leak vapour.
    • Cosmic sunburn if the sun rises and you don’t close your visor quickly enough

Did I miss anything?

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