We’re well aware that most of our favorite movies are fictitious. We know we haven’t fought aliens like in Independence Day, or fought zombies in Dawn of the Dead. But other movies out there are close to our reality, so much so, that we wonder if their scientific facts are accurate. While some movies are accurate, like Her, Finding Nemo, and The Martian, other movies are so far from being scientifically accurate that they’re ruined. It’s surprising that the directors of these major films overlooked even the most basic scientific knowledge we learned in grade school science class. We hate to break it to you, but some of your favorite movies aren’t as faultless as you thought they were. That being said, they still make great movies and are a way for us to shut off our brains and the outside world, at least for a little while.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind Isn’t So Easy To Achieve
As much as we’d like to erase our exes from our minds and completely forget them, it’s impossible. But in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jim Carrey achieves just that, which probably got most of us thinking: is it possible? Can a stoner dude who calls himself a doctor have access to our memories while we’re in a comatose state and simply erase the areas of our brain associated with our exes? The scientific facts point us towardsâ¦ no. The basis is true. When we access a memory, our brain creates a new connection between the memory and present moment. But there’s no science as of yet that can simply erase that connection as if it never happened (Grunge).
In Volcano, mammals from the Pleistocene era plot against modern humans. It’s a bad day in Los Angeles when the mammals generate a supervolcano in the La Brea Tar Pits. To try and save the day, seismologist Amy Barnes joins forces with Mike Roark. It’s a race against the clock and ancient mammals who try to use science to destroy humankind. We’ll let you in on a little secret, though. The scientific facts in the movie are completely unreal, which will likely ruin the movie Volcano for you. If you thought a super volcano could randomly appear in the middle of a huge city, we’ll tell you otherwise. The San Andreas Fault, which travels through the west coast, is only a fault line. The Pacific Plate and North American plate simply slide past each other. To form a volcano like the one in the movie, one plate needs to slide underneath another and move the magma, buried beneath the Earth, to the surface. The plates in the movie do not do this, much to our dismay (Ranker).
At the end of the Titanic, Rose is shown lying on a piece of driftwood looking up at the stars. She just survived a traumatic experience and it seems like the universe is gifting her with an incredible view. As much as we’d like to believe the sky used to look like that in 1912, the true scientific facts tell us that, based on the rotation of planet earth, Rose wouldn’t have seen that star field. Neil de Grasse caught this inaccuracy and emailed the director of the Titanic, James Cameron, to tell him he got it all wrong. The director says, “[Tyson] sent me quite a snarky email saying that, at that time of year, in that position in the Atlantic in 1912â¦ that is not the star field she would have seen.” To avoid any more snarky emails, Cameron fixed it. This knowledge and his ability to easily change a key scene in the movie make it seem a little less romantic (Grunge).
Falling from a building doesn’t kill you. There’s no way falling through oxygen will harm your body. It’s the stop that kills you. When you hit water or concrete, that’s what will harm you. In Transformers, humans are often saved by robots that catch them at the last second. But it doesn’t matter if you’re saved by a robot or are squashed on concrete, the outcome is the same. The only safe way to stop someone who’s falling is to use a parachute or a giant cushion, similar to an airbag. The director of Transformers failed to notice the scientific facts about the way human bodies and gravity work, thus ruining this movie together (Goliath).
In the opening scene of Mad Max Fury Road, the titular hero is taken captive and used as a human blood bag because he’s a universal donor. It’s pretty grim, but it captivated our attention. You’ve likely heard the term before regarding blood types. According to Red Cross Blood, there’s Group A, Group B, Group AB, and Group O+ and O-. Both blood types of Group O are universal donors, meaning the three other blood types can use their blood in their bodies. But the scientific facts lay it out for us. Just because you’re a universal donor, doesn’t mean you can start handing out large pints of blood to people. You’d die. Whenever you donate blood, you only give one pint. If the film stuck to these scientific facts, there wouldn’t be a movie, but it’d be impressively more accurate (What Culture).
In 1995, we lived in a different world. The movie Outbreakportrayed a monkey called Spike who was shipped to the USA full of the Motaba virus. The protagonist Sam Daniels must stop the virus and prevent an outbreak from happening across the entire world. In less than three hours, the main actor creates a cure and stops the destruction of humankind. If only we had this power in 2020, the world would be a different place. It feels a little too close to home, even though this movie came out in 1995. But we’ll let you in on a little secret about scientific facts. How could they possibly get enough plasma from single money to save thousands of people from a deadly virus? The virus also killed 100 percent of people in Africa, but there were survivors in America. It seems like the virus in the outbreak picked and chose its victims, and somehow, stopped killing as many people in America. Normally, it would take a team of virologists weeks or months to study the virus, learn about it, conduct tests, and create a cure that’s readily available to the public. Not hours. We’re sorry to ruin one of your favorite movies, but if we had this rapid-fire technology, virologists would’ve stopped COVID long before January 2020 (Stat News).
In the thriller Lucy, the basis of the movie claims that humans only use 10 percent of their brains. Most of us got pretty excited at the possibility of unlocking another 90 percent of our brain and discovering an entire host of new hobbies and intelligence we could only ever dream of. The scientific facts in the movie were inaccurate. Human brains stay active at all times. No area of the brain is silent or inactive and the myth of using only 10 percent was quickly brushed off. About 20 percent of our calorie intake is used by the brain, so that myth is already wrong. If we take a look at evolution, it punishes wastefulness. If we wasted over 90 percent of our brains, we wouldn’t have survived. (OECD).
Alright, The Matrix is one of our all-time favorite movies. There’s a reason it made its way to fame, but unfortunately, it isn’t accurate. It’s safe to assume you already knew this, but when we dive even deeper into it, we’ll see why. In the movie, machines keep humans alive to use them as living batteries. While we’re far off from any machines keeping humans alive to use as batteries, it’s illogical. The cost of running the machines, just to keep the human alive, would use up exponentially more energy than they would ever get from the human. If we use math, it’s simpler to understand. Let’s say you have an electric scooter that produces twenty units of energy to use for an hour, but it also requires sixty units of energy to run for that same hour. Would this make sense? Not at all. We’d find another solution that produces more energy than it costs. You can also look at it from a monetary standpoint, would you continue spending ten dollars a day if you’re only making five dollars a day? No, because you’d be in debt (What Culture)
In the movie Jurassic Park, a small group of people gets trapped in a dinosaur theme park. Velociraptors can open doors, and other dinosaurs rampage through the theme park destroying everything in their path. While most of us probably wish we were alive during the dinosaur era just to see one in real life, let’s just say, we wouldn’t survive very long. That’s why Jurassic Park quickly became a top hit in the movie world. Scientists managed to clone DNA from a 65-million-year-old amber to create the dinosaurs, only to have disastrous results. As much as we’d like to go and clone DNA, it’s impossible. Based on the scientific facts of DNA, it has to be perfect. Even if we managed to find million-year-old DNA, it will have expired and won’t be of any use. So the next time you’re exploring your backyard and think you’ve found ancient DNA, just leave it. On another note, the movie was scientifically inaccurate when it portrayed a T-Rex running at incredible speed. Scientists discovered that T-Rexs ran at a top speed of 25 kph, which is slower than the average human. If you consider yourself a slow runner, then you’re probably in luck. By the looks of it, this movie was scientifically inaccurate in several ways (Ranker).
There are little things in Star Trek: The Motion Picturethat inaccurately depict the scientific facts. In the movie, Admiral James T. Kirk tries to intercept the USS Enterprise. But if you look at it from an expert’s point of view, whenever a character was shot with a phaser, the person was nearly vaporized down to their shoes, but the ground underneath where they were standing was completely untouched. How is that even possible? If you’re shot with a phaser everything arounds you disintegrates, including your body. You turn into a liquid and then a gas, resulting in a very large explosion that would certainly turn the ground black, at the very least (Stat News).
Waterworld tried to bring light to the problem of climate change, but only got the scientific facts backward. After Costner’s salvaging drifter tried to rebuild society, it sunk a few hundred feet beneath the water. There’s simply not enough water on earth to flood the entire world as it does in Waterworld. Even if we accounted for the polar ice caps, there’s not enough water to cover every land mass or completely sink Earth. It even goes so far as to mention that states 600 meters above sea level are encompassed by the riding tides, which, again, is impossible. It looks like the director needs to brush up on science class and learn a thing or two about climate change. Even though the entire world will never go underwater, our coastlines are a different story. Those cities located at sea level are in trouble if our ice caps keep melting. Hypothetically, if all the ice in Greenland, Antarctica, and all the mountain ice in the world melted, the sea would raise 70 meters, covering only the coastal cities. Sorry, Manhattan (AMNH).
The special effects in Twister make it a pretty remarkable, nail-biting film. We’re left sitting at the edge of our seats, wondering who’s going to survive the massive tornado rampaging through the fields of America. Unfortunately, many scenes in the movie are physically impossible. Meteorologist Kathryn Prociv admitted to several scientific facts in the movie that were inaccurate. Firstly, Bill Paxton declared a tornado is imminent because the sky is “going green.” This information is misleading. She said, “storms that appear green are usually at least 50,000 feet high and green is the only wavelength filtered through the thick cloud. Any storm that is 50,000 feet tall is likely capable of producing severe weather…but it does not guarantee a tornado as implied in the movie.” She also revealed that Paxton or Helen wouldn’t have survived an F5 tornado by simply strapping themselves to a pipe. As much as we’d like to believe those heroes magically surpassed all common sense, it was only a movie and was physically impossible. It’s likely you knew that already but decided to look the other way (Grunge).
The scientific facts portrayed in Gravity make us do a facepalm. The main character played by George Clooney floats, helplessly, into space and begins his slow and tragic death. All they needed to do was pull him back. But there wouldn’t be a movie, right? Still, simply knowing this completely ruined the movie, considering all it did was make them look stupid. Even a toddler could’ve known that pulling the main character back would’ve saved his life. A little tug on that cord would pull him straight back to safety, which is ironic, considering the film is called Gravity, and gravity is what would have pulled him back to the Bullock. Gravity is the reason the moon stays in the Earth’s orbit, and the reason the sun stays in place in the Milky Way (NASA).
Even though they needed to speed things up in The Day After Tomorrow, the rate at which climate change happened is completely impossible. What happened in the movie would take years to occur. Global climate change does not happen overnight. According to National Geographic, climate change happens over hundreds or even thousands of years. We can see the effects of climate change through animals like polar bears, or through cracked and dried beds of lakes in Colombia that typically flourish with water. What does happen overnight are hurricanes and tornadoes, but not a complete 180-degree turn across the entire planet. It happens so slowly, that humans could do something to change it instead of completely denying it until it’s too late (What Culture).
The inaccuracy of the scientific facts in Skyfall makes this James Bond movie a disappointment. The villain is a former spy. His jaw melted away from a hydrogen cyanide suicide pill gone wrong. If they knew what hydrogen cyanide did, then his jaw would still be completely intact. To make the movie more accurate, they should’ve used acid. In reality, hydrogen cyanide is a poisonous gas and is less corrosive than lemon juice. Honestly, if it were that corrosive, the pill carrying the substance should’ve melted a long time ago. Hydrogen cyanide is mainly harmful to the body’s use of oxygen and mostly harms the brain, heart, and lungs. It doesn’t melt off someone’s jaw (Stat News).
Enemy of the Statewas one of several movies that used a piece of science the wrong way. The directors of the movie didn’t understand was a pixel was. In the movie, the characters can press a button on the computer, zoom in, and enhance an image from CCTV footage. Somehow, they can also rotate the image and zoom it in so much that they can select a minute detail. Even though CCTV footage has improved in recent times, it’s nowhere near this accurate. You can’t necessarily zoom in on a video and select very minute details, especially in 1998 when the movie came out (Goliath).
The movie Speed is laughable. If going under 50 MPH, the bus will explode. So instead of slowing down, it tries to jump a 50-foot gap on the Los Angeles freeway. It clears the jump, despite the lack of a slope or ramp. Somehow, it tilts upwards before it jumps, which is why it clears it. The directors of the movie failed to take gravity into account. If this were real life, the bus would have simply fallen to the ground. Objects that launch horizontally fall straight down. If the film stuck to the scientific facts, there wouldn’t be much of a movie, though they could’ve made it more realistic (Goliath).
This is yet another movie that hits close to home. In Contagion, the CDC works to find a cure for a worldwide epidemic. In a lot of ways, the science of the movie was accurate, but it’s surprising how quickly scientists create a brand-new vaccine. As we’ve seen with many other viruses, it takes many months and years to create a vaccine, if we even get that far. We have a vaccine for COVID, but not a vaccine for HIV. The movie creates a false expectation as to what can be done with science and is misleading in terms of viruses. According to the History of Vaccines, it can take anywhere from 10-15 years to develop a successful vaccine. Before a virologist released a vaccine to the public, it goes through a series of tests, including the pre-clinical stage and several phases. Developing a proper vaccine in three hours is something we can only wish for (Stat News).
In the movie Signs, aliens invade planet earth and a family tries to stop the aliens from ruining their crops. The aliens come towards our planet, and they’re there, at the ready, ready to attack them with the alien’s only weakness: water. Hold on a second. Planet earth is 70 percent water. The oceans hold over 96 percent of the earth’s water, and the rest is dispersed between lakes, rivers, icecaps, water vapor, and glaciers. Also, because of the water cycle, water is constantly moving. It’s never sitting still or staying in one place. The aliens decided to attack a planet, where more than half of its substance can seriously harm or kill them. That’s like a human trying to invade a planet that’s 70 percent acid. It’s more likely we’d die than not. This movie failed to mention one of the most commonly known scientific facts about planet earth (USGS).
The film Rampage depicts three different animals that become infected with a dangerous pathogen. To stop them from destroying the entire city of Chicago, a primatologist and a geneticist team up. Even though the movie depicts CRISPR gene-editing accurately, it makes tons of mistakes along the way. Simply put, this gene editing is a way to modify the genes of living organisms. To get these features, though, you’d have to start with one-cell embryos. It also wouldn’t change the cells enough to make massive changes. From a Hollywood standpoint, it would take way too long. Most of the traits would be asymmetric, and an antidote for gene edits would take far longer than 10 minutes. All scientific facts in the movie are too far-fetched to be anywhere near reality, unfortunately, ruining the entire plot (Stat News).
As much as we’d like to believe the directors in Journey to the Center of the Earthcracked some impossible code that sent people to the earth’s center, it’s just scientifically impossible. The entire movie is inaccurate. As of today, no one has ever visited the center of the earth, safely floated on top of magma, or sailed the subterranean sea in nothing but a mushroom boat. If we simply touched lava, we wouldn’t die. But prolonged exposure, similar to fire, would severely harm or kill us. The movie didn’t take this into consideration. Surviving lava depends on several factors, like how quickly you can get out of the lava and how much of your skin was exposed. Also, the center of the earth contains a dense ball mostly made of iron. It’s over 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which means we wouldn’t survive if we got anywhere near that temperature (Stat News).