Okay, so a more-massive-than-earth planet passes close enough to disturb our atmosphere, and all anyone's worried about is a collision? Seriously? The first fly-by would have swung the earth completely out of its orbit, resulting in everyone very very slowly freezing to death, or possibly burning up on the way to crashing into the sun. This isn't even mentioned as a possible concern. Critical Research Failure much?
I'm not sure Critical Research Failure applies when the film avowedly makes no attempt at scientific verisimilitude, but operates more in the mode of a fable or allegory. The relevant line of the wikipedia entry: "Trier then developed the story not primarily as a disaster film, and without any ambition to portray astrophysics realistically, but as a way to examine the human psyche during a disaster."
Precisely. The film makes no attempt to be scientifically accurate, because that's not the point. The film is supposed to have a mystical feel to it, and it can't let science interfere with its message.
When it's said that Melancholia is more-massive-than-earth? It's just bigger. You know... volume (also, it's seens like it's made of gas)
What is the deal with the little wooden bridge that both frightens horses and de-powers golf carts?
All the action in the film is confined to the resort grounds. The bridge scenes just explain why neither of the sisters are ever seen leaving.
The brother-in-law who is an astronomer committing suicide rather than live to see the most awesome astronomical event ever, even if it was the last thing he would ever see. Makes no sense to me. You'd think that he would want to at least see it.
It's because his rationalist belief system cannot cope with the inexorability of the end of the world.