Thanks to an email snafu, S. Andrew Swann’s response to our last Mind Meld — regarding the most realistic (and the most ridiculous) uses of science in SciFi film and TV — got lost in the ether. A team of ethernauts was immediately dispatched to recover the lost response. After minimal loss of life, it was recovered. Here is the question:
Q: Which SciFi films and/or television shows do the best job in adhering to realistic science? Which ones do the worst?
Swann’s response is below…
The most egregious case of ignoring science in an allegedly science fiction movie is the 2007 movie Sunshine. This movie is painful for several reasons, one is because it works so hard to pay homage to a SF movie that’s widely regarded as one of the most scientifically accurate, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Just comparing two airlock scenes, one where Poole suffers vacuum for a few moments to get back on board the Discovery without a helmet, with another where pressurization suddenly gives us our gravity back on the Icarus II. Man that was a WTF moment. Also, somehow they managed to fly something the mass of Manhattan from Earth all the way to the sun, and they were able to make an unscheduled and unplanned course change, AND THEN RESUME THEIR ORIGINAL COURSE. Did I mention, MASS OF MANHATTAN? When Armageddon asks us to believe a couple of nukes will take care of an asteroid the size of Texas (think about that. Drop two nukes on the actual state of Texas, you’ll only piss them off.) you have the excuse that you’re watching a Michael Bay action flick that’s no more realistic than, say, Transformers. Sunshine goes out if its way to dress up in scientific drag, and that just makes the whole thing worse.