And your prize is…

Many hoary old cliches (on that subject, is there much else that gets called ‘hoary’?) have some sort of basis in sense or fact, but one that I saw for about the thousandth time in XXX tonight seems to entirely lack sense.

The bad guys, who appear to be that rare breed, rich radical anarchists, have employed a team of scientists to build them what will help them destroy the world, or whatever the hell it is they think they are doing. The weapon is almost always a mcguffin, in Hitchcock’s terms, of course, but this is a distinctly weedy one – a solar-powered submarine, that “only has to surface to get sunlight.” Given the physics of this, that means it will sit motionless on the surface for every daylight hour available, then trundle around slowly for short distances at night. Anyway, once the scientists are celebrating completing the job (and before any testing, though I guess films (and comic books) understandably hardly want to bore us with that tedious stuff) the evil megalomaniac villain kills them all.

That is what I don’t get. Are scientists who are willing to work in seclusion for supervillains in such high supply that mowing down a dozen or so isn’t wasteful? Don’t these things get through to scientists? Do they not grasp that working for power-mad lunatics might be a bit risky? Dr Doom was always ‘rewarding’ faithful and valuable service with death, but it never seems to harm his recruitment of other scientists and technicians. It would put me off applying if I figured the punishment for failure would surely be death, but the rewards for success were just as likely to be death too.

(I put this on this blog after toying with Do You See?, because it’s sparked off by a movie, and The Brown Wedge, because I’ve seen it most often in comics. I don’t imagine this is a problem to which scientists in the real world have to give a great deal of thought.)