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).