Top Ten Movies That Get Science Wrong

Top Ten Movies That Get Science Wrong

Movies usually see scientific progress as a great way for humanity to create even bigger explosions. As for whether it’s even remotely realistic that anyone would ever create, say, a robot Robin Williams (as seen in Bicentennial Man), who cares so long as it scares the kids?

But occasionally along comes a film that acts like the on-screen craziness isn’t just a metaphor for some real-world problem or a blatant excuse to run around making things blow up, and that’s when Hollywood’s crack team of scientific minds step in to make sure things are at least marginally plausible. Oh wait, they don’t exist – much like the “science” in the following ten films.

10: Prometheus.

What it gets wrong: Evolution. Okay, spoiler time: you know how the movie opens with an alien drinking goo then dissolving so his DNA can cause all life on a planet that probably is Earth and then millions of years later we get humans – who look pretty much identical to the aliens that created them?

So evolution is just a really, really crappy way of making a copy of yourself then, right? Yeah, uh, no, it doesn’t work anything like that. Then again, director Ridley Scott has said in interviews the original reason the alien Engineers wanted to destroy Humanity is because we killed Jesus. So this film’s crimes against science could have been a lot worse.


9: 2001.

What it gets wrong: Spaceflight. Not so much “ha ha, that spaceship says Pam Am and they went out of business years before 2001, way to play the stock market Stanley Kubrick” as “even by the late 1960s people had started to figure out commercial space travel was pretty unlikely because there’s nothing out there.”

J G Ballard was already writing about the Kennedy-era space program as done and dusted years before 2001 pretended we’d be zooming off to the moon for weekend getaways, and everything we’ve learnt since – basically, space travel is insanely dangerous and amazingly boring and when you get anywhere there’s literally nothing humans can live off except maybe water which we kind of already have here – has made it even less likely. Still a great movie though.




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28 comments so far..

  • strangerdangerr123's avatar
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    strangerdangerr123
    Date and time
    Friday 15 Jun 2012 - 2:48 PM
    Sphere is actually a really good movie.
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  • clembastow's avatar
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    clembastow
    Date and time
    Friday 15 Jun 2012 - 2:52 PM
    BUT WHERE IS 'THE CORE'???
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  • JessJess's avatar
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    JessJess
    Date and time
    Friday 15 Jun 2012 - 3:17 PM
    “even by the late 1960s people had started to figure out commercial space travel was pretty unlikely because there’s nothing out there.” helloooooo Virgin galactic!?
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  • littlelegrunda's avatar
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    littlelegrunda
    Date and time
    Friday 15 Jun 2012 - 4:10 PM
    "i dun understand erhhhh" :its not scienficalally correct" erhrrhhhrr
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  • AnthonyMorris's avatar
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    AnthonyMorris
    Date and time
    Friday 15 Jun 2012 - 7:35 PM
    I was going to squeeze The Core in somewhere (also Sunshine, in a kind of "kick start my heart" section), but where to start dissecting the awesomeness? As for Virgin Galactic, it's a bit much calling your service "galactic" when you're only offering sub-orbital flights that basically just go straight up and down again.
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  • flamingcaterpillar's avatar
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    flamingcaterpillar
    Date and time
    Monday 18 Jun 2012 - 6:48 AM
    ..another thing about Prometheus was the re-animation of a corpse that was 2000 years old by pumping a liquid into it's ear, after 2000 years the only thing left would be bones and perhaps mummified flesh. Glad to see that Scott dropped the 'we killed jeebus" bit, I would have walked out had that turned up, the movie was Religious enough with the classic fall back of "..well who created the Engineers" as the retort to 'there is no God', which is always a winner if one wants to reject logic but then to be Religious logic obviously isn't a big priority. Not looking forward to 'Blade Runner' now, Scott has showen that his feel for a score has disappeared, the music in Prometheus was terrible, ... trailer was far better, lol.
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  • PDIddy's avatar
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    PDIddy
    Date and time
    Monday 18 Jun 2012 - 9:28 AM
    I think someone has mistaken the meaning of the genre science FICTION...
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  • Dboy's avatar
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    Dboy
    Date and time
    Monday 18 Jun 2012 - 12:07 PM
    I agree with PDiddy. To criticise Orwell for 'getting it wrong' is, quite frankly, doing it wrong (not to mention naively and laughably absurd). You have profoundly misunderstood the purpose of literature. Tell me more about how Tolkien was wrong because dragons aren't real.
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  • StupidSexyFlanders's avatar
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    StupidSexyFlanders
    Date and time
    Monday 18 Jun 2012 - 1:13 PM
    This article, tongue in cheek tho it was meant to be, was crap. Some examples: - 2001 - Who's to say that spaceflight couldn't be economic in the longer term. People used to ask why we had a space program - computers, medicine, communications, engineering, etc etc have all been improved directly as a result. - 1984 - The book didn't say it was a world government - it wasn't mentioned either way. The book was amazingly prescient - countries use those techniques now to keep track of their people, and computers, etc make it even easier than when the book was written. Look at how cctv has taken over cities, and the coverage will only get more extensive. Look also at what the US did to trample civil rights after Sept 11 - the "Patriot Act" among them. - Independence Day - Who's to say why aliens (if they existed) would come here? If you followed that logic, why did explorers leave Europe for the New World, if they already had everything there. - 2012 - The Mayans didn't predict the end of the world for 2012 - their method of calculating periods of time had one of the periods (the 13th, I think), finishing in 2012. The 14th period started after then. They didn't stop predicting, it just rolled along anyway. It like saying we predict the end of the world on December 31st every year. - I, Robot - The 3 Laws of Robotics (actually, there are 4) are totally valid - just because totalitarian governments (see "1984" above) do bad things with them, doesn't mean they shouldn't be incorporated in programming of robots (should they ever exist). - Star Trek - Use teleporters (they're actually called transporters) to create clones? They just transport people, not duplicate them or extend their life. It's like saying after a car trip, you'd have cloned yourself. And humanity didn't magically evolve - it took a few hundred years of limitless energy to get to the Star Trek universe (oh, and killing idiots so they wouldn't breed). Overall, the entire article reminds me of the the B Sharps in the Simpsons' episode, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" - "We need a name that’s witty at first, but seems less funny each time you hear it."
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  • AnthonyMorris's avatar
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    AnthonyMorris
    Date and time
    Monday 18 Jun 2012 - 2:55 PM
    Okay, I'm totally going to reveal just how big a nerd I am here, but the Star Trek transporters "work" by taking you apart at a molecular level then sending the information to the reciever, which then puts you back together. So in theory, if they recorded that information, they could put you back together after an accident or whatever. So why don't they? Yes, it'd make for boring story-telling on the show, but that's the show's fault.
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