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Faulty Science in Movies

Here’s an article from Science News about the realism of the science depicted in science fiction news. They trounce about the oft-mentioned movie The Day After Tomorrow, naturally. I, for one, am not all that picky about scientific realism if it makes for a better movie. To a point anyway. If movie makers have to bend a few rules to create dramatic action, no problem. If movie makers continually mutilate the laws of physics to the point of absurdity, then I have a problem. I wish I could think of some examples.

So I put it to you.

  • What movies do you think portrayed a realistic view of science?
  • What movies defied the natural laws and did they succeed?

Bonus points for the most complete answers.

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

5 Comments on Faulty Science in Movies

  1. What movies do you think portrayed a realistic view of science?

    Alfred Hitchcock – The Birds. Birds massively assaulting on residents of a small town.

    What movies defied the natural laws and did they succeed?

    I thought of the original Planet of the Apes. Astronauts space craft gets lost. Lands on this other planet that was in the future.

  2. Way to go Julie. Ruin the surprise ending of The Planet of the Apes for everybody…..

    You maniacs!

  3. While I think about question 1, the one movie where my belief was suspended was in Sky Captain and the World of Tommorrow. I guess it was just the simple fantastical nature of it and the way it was presented. The whole concept of an aircraft carrier of that size being flown around was awesome. I am pretty sure there are several other things that just wouldn’t work as seen in that film but it didnt really matter for the experience.

  4. I think 2001 is the benchmark for realistic portrayals of science in movies. I’ve never seen Gattica, but I hear it, too, does a decent job. To branch out a bit, I’d say the anime Planetes does an excellent job of portraying correct science. A stellar job, if you will…

    Toss just about everything else into the ‘crappy science’ camp. Idependence Day (although it didn;t ruin the movie for me), The Day After Tomorrow, The Core (ugh), Armageddon (riiiiight), etc.

  5. For a science fiction movie with a believable portrayal of scientists working, it’s hard to beat Brainstorm.

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