Thursday, April 11, 2013

Where Is TransWorld in 'Upside Down'?

OTHERWORLDLY ROMEO AND JULIET. Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess play interplanetary lovers in Upside Down.

In Upside Down, star-crossed lovers are really crossed by the stars. They reside in two worlds that almost kiss each other. The attendant "dual gravity" spells doom: Something or someone upright in one world is upside down in another. For better or worse, a building of the business empire of the same name, TransWorld, bridges these two worlds: 


This is not that silly a situation. Here on Earth, NASA has consistently shown defiance against gravity. The agency gives would-be astronauts a taste of zero gravity inside the famous Vomit Comet.

Photo via USAFA

Alternatively, NASA owns humongous water tanks that simulate the weightlessness of space. Enter the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator:

via ESA

Civilians would have to make do with SkyVenture's tall tunnels that blast occupants with winds at hurricane speeds. You'd be singing "Defying Gravity" in no time. 

Wind tunnel coach Ari Perelman in a Skyventure facility. Via Ari Perelman

Maybe this is all missing the point. Upside Down may not be suggesting microgravity simulators or flight chambers at all. The movie could rather be a thinly veiled reference to the income disparity between the Global North and South, if not the volatile armistice between South and North Korea. Or it may just be a tribute to the jarring intro to M. Night Shyamalan's Devil.

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