Do you consider yourself a science-minded type? If so, you’ve likely seen more than a few films or movie scenes that just simply got the science wrong.
You may have found it so egregious that you even said something out loud – much to the chagrin of fellow movie-goers.
Whatever the case, you’re not alone in your observations. There are many films that have messed up the science.
So just in case you missed them, we’ll review some of the more famous ones here.
If you were swooning for George Clooney’s character in Gravity, then this will come as bad news. He didn’t have to die.
Any astronaut can tell you that gravity works differently in space than it does on Earth. The only thing that Bullock’s character had to do to save him was to give a gentle tug.
It turns out that gravity wasn’t pulling Clooney’s character away from Bullock’s. He actually had no weight for her to bear because there were essentially no forces on him at all.
Thus, just one ounce of force applied for a few seconds would have been sufficient to save him.
Get Out may have excelled in the thrill factor, but the film’s creators fell short when it came to medical accuracy.
The film follows a young African-American man who uncovers a disturbing secret when he meets the family of his white girlfriend. That’s believable enough.
It’s the brain transplantation at the end of the film that’s completely implausible.
The idea of brain transplantation is far-fetched. It may have been believable as an outlandish concept, had they addressed at least a few details during the operation.
The procedure is performed in the basement of the neurosurgeon’s house, with the two patients side-by-side. There’s no anesthesia equipment or even an anesthesiologist.
And forget about nurses, scrub techs, breathing tubes or ventilators. There is a medical student though.
All we know is that it would be interesting to see what he wrote in the student reviews for his medical school.
While Armageddon‘s creators consulted with NASA to keep some of the facts straight, the problem is with the overall premise of the film.
In a nutshell, the film is about a team of deep-core drillers sent by NASA to stop a gigantic asteroid on a collision course with Earth. They discover this asteroid that’s “the size of Texas” just 18 days before it’s set to cause destruction.
That’s good Hollywood fodder, but it’s not based in reality. Any astronomer can attest to the fact that an asteroid that size would have been detectable YEARS before it became an issue.
The film focuses on an outbreak of an Ebola-like virus in Zaire and then later in a small American town. That’s an all-too-real scenario.
What doesn’t ring true is when Dustin Hoffman’s character looks at the virus through a microscope and declares that it has mutated.
There’s no way he could have determined this by simply looking through a microscope. The vast majority of viruses are way too small to be seen with light microscopy and require an electron microscope.
It may have been a small misstep in the film, but it was definitely big enough to bother many an armchair scientist.
If you saw this film, you probably remember the scene where Uma Thurman’s character snorts a liberal dose of heroin and then collapses.
John Travolta’s character then takes her limp body to his dealer’s house where he’s given a syringe of adrenaline connected to a 6-inch-long needle. He proceeds to plunge the needle into her chest and she almost immediately screams and regains consciousness.
The problem is, no layperson would know where to inject intra-cardiac adrenaline. Injecting into the chest would create a dangerously high risk of puncturing a lung or lacerating the heart or large vessels of the chest.
The vast majority of medical professionals perform an epinephrine injection is into an arm vein while performing chest compression. And it doesn’t happen immediately.
This is another one where the film’s premise is ludicrous.
A wealthy businessman and a team of genetic scientists have created a wildlife park of de-extinct dinosaurs on an island off Costa Rica.
While we recognize that this is science fiction, it’s a little tough to swallow the idea that they’re cloning dinosaurs. In order to do this, they would need the whole genome. Yet, there’s no dinosaur DNA. Anywhere.
So the film may have many believable elements, but its foundation is faulty.
While Uma Thurman’s character in Pulp Fiction regains consciousness far too quickly and easily, the opposite is true for Will Farrell’s character in Old School.
When his character accidentally shoots himself in the neck with a tranquilizer gun filled with ketamine, he stumbles for 30 seconds, then falls face-first into a pool.
This is a much more amusing scenario than what would really ensue.
Ketamine can induce general anesthesia in 10-15 seconds if injected intravenously. It takes 30-120 seconds after an intramuscular injection.
The stab to the neck would not have hit a large muscle. And since the needle was at a 90-degree angle, it’s highly unlikely it would have hit the jugular vein.
Obviously, comedy took priority over reality here.
You may have heard at one point in your life that humans only use about 10% of their brains.
This may have been based on some sort of science a century ago. Or perhaps it’s just urban myth. Either way, there is no scientific evidence now to support the idea that we all have a large chunk of gray matter just sitting dormant.
In fact, neurologists are quick to tell you that we use virtually every part of our brains and that most of our brains are active all the time.
Yet in Lucy, Scarlett Johansson’s character uses a drug to unlock this mythically inactive part of the brain. Looks like the pharmaceutical companies won’t be pursuing that one.
Revel in Those Strange Movie Scenes
As much as you may want to rail against the inaccuracies of those movie scenes, just try to remember that it makes for good entertainment.
Isn’t that exactly why you go to see a film anyhow?
And for more great stories or interest, keep checking back with our entertainment blog.