Every time a Bollywood movie releases, movie critics, and even the normal people jump on it like frenzied zombies, taking it apart – analyzing and fact checking. Then all of us sit and bitch about how scientifically inaccurate the movie scenes were and how it mocks the crap out of Physics and all that.
I have noticed this one thing – we never ever bitch about a Hollywood movie. We never ever even dare to imagine that it can be scientifically wrong too.
And the surprising fact is – Hollywood movies suck just as bad at depicting science as the Bollywood movies.
It’s just that they look better, so we are awed and don’t really pay much attention.
Do go through the list, and see how unscientific Hollywood can get too.
1. Lucy – you only use 10% of your brain
Science WTF – The movie’s entire premise is based on the claim that humans only use 10% of the brain. Anything more, and we become superhumans.
Actual Science – There is no evidence that humans only use 10%. Actually, some medical specialists called this claim laughable.
2. Armageddon – Landing on a comet and nuking it
Science WTF – Nuking a comet to make it explode, landing a crew and craft ON the comet, drilling the comet, detecting the comet at the last minute, etc. etc.
Actual science – This movie is supposed to be the worst sci-fi movie ever made. NONE of the scenarios are even close to reality of the technology when it was filmed.
Seriously, this movie is so bad that NASA even used the movie during management training to see if the trainee was able to find all 168 inaccuracies. True story.
3. The Core – going to the center of the Earth
Science WTF – Drilling to the center of the planet and setting off nukes and surviving the whole thing.
Actual science – Like the one above, there is no scenario in this movie that even comes close to actual science. The deepest we have dug is 7.5 miles.
Journey to the center of the earth – 3959 miles.
4. Iron Man 2 – making an element and a particle accelerator and surviving
Science WTF – Synthesizing a completely new element of the periodic table in one day, all by himself.
Actual science – It takes years and years to research and synthesize a new element, but yeah, Tony Stark is a genius and can make a particle accelerator right in his basement using a drill and a hammer, and also has the blueprint of the element. Phew.
And, let’s not forget that a particle accelerator is harmful AF because there is so much radiation.
NO. Just no. You let this one go because it’s based on comics.
5. Independence Day – uploading virus into an alien computer
Science WTF – The two leads in the movie fly an alien space and upload a computer virus into the alien spaceship.
Actual science – Can you see the enormity of the situation? Somehow they have figured out how alien USB ports work. And how alien computing works. This is probably very, very unlikely. Even if we do figure out how their computing works, wouldn’t the aliens have some sort of protection? They traveled across galaxies, for God’s sake!
6. Indiana Jones And Kingdom of Crystal skull – surviving a nuclear blast inside a fridge!
Science WTF – There is a big nuclear explosion and our beloved Indiana Jones spots a lead-lined refrigerator and hides inside it while the full blast hits it from outside. Later, he comes out unscathed.
Actual science – That refrigerator would have melted – lead and all and Indiana Jones would have been burnt alive. Even if he did survive, there still would be massive radiation poisoning. As fictional as it gets.
7. Waterworld – all land is under water
Science WTF – All land is under water – ALL LAND. This is because the polar caps have melted.
Actual science – There isn’t enough ice on the polar caps to submerge the whole world under water. There just isn’t enough water. That’s it.
8. Taken – impossible image enhancement
Science WTF – There’s a scene in which a photo is enhanced to find the most minute details in the picture.
Actual science – Zooming just makes the pixels bigger, unless you have higher resolutions of the same image available with you. Otherwise, every movie scene with amazing image enhancement is bullshit.
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9. Die Another Day – changing the complete DNA of a person
Science WTF – The main villain goes off to a gene replacement spa, and intends to replace every gene in his body to even look different.
Actual science – It’s just not possible. You cannot replace every DNA strand in every cell of your body. The movie explained that they would wipe the bone marrow and replace it with donor marrow cells, but that’s also not possible. “Wiping” a bone marrow means that you are dead.
10. Star Wars – deflecting lasers that travel at the speed of light
Science WTF – Jedis deflect lasers with light sabers. You can see the laser beams when starships fire at each other.
Actual science – Light travels at the speed of light. This means that the Jedis have reflexes faster than light to successfully deflect these laser beams.
Also, you cannot really see beams of light in outer space, because there is not dust to scatter the light the way you see on Earth. But hey, the movie is cool.
11. The Matrix – humans are batteries, but we have to be fed too
Science WTF – Humans are used as batteries. Because we generate heat. Period.
Actual science – Although the concept sounds awesome, the human body will always produce less energy than it consumes. This is the catch – you have to feed the body for it to make energy. That means you have to supply energy to make less energy.
This means that the machines were spending more energy than making it.
12. Prometheus – half a billion miles from Earth
Science WTF – Vickers points out in one dialogue that they are half a billion miles away from Earth.
Actual science – That’s the approximate distance to Jupiter. They weren’t near Jupiter. They were in another part of the galaxy.
13. Jurassic park – raptors
Science WTF – Raptors are hairless lizards and kill very easily.
Actual science – Raptors had feathers and came in varying sizes. The smallest was no bigger than an average dog, and the largest was as tall as the average human. But, yeah, they had feathers.
And feathers. FEATHERS.
14. Star Trek – instant calling anywhere in the galaxy
Science WTF – Instant calling from any planet to any planet without any delay whatsoever.
Actual science – I know that the technology then will be very advanced, but there are still limits to how fast an electromagnetic wave can travel – at the speed of light. There has to be a delay. It cannot be instantaneous.
15. Total Recall – walking normally on Mars
Science WTF – Everyone walking with ease on the planet Mars.
Actual science – The gravity on Mars is one-third of that on Earth. they cannot walk like they show them walking. It’s not possible.
16. Panic Room – propane burns on the ceiling even though it is heavier than air
Science WTF – Butane leaks out of a cylinder and catches fire, and the fire then rises to the roof to give us one hell of an effect.
Actual science – Butane is heavier than air. That means the fire should have been on ground level and not on the ceiling.
All said and done, movie writers have the license to create what they wish and they do. Sometimes, as we see in this list, they do over-reach and when they do, it is a bit funny for the scientific community as they nitpick at the details.
But at the end of the day, the movies are supposed to entertain us and make us wonder too.
Looks like these movies did both of them.
Or did I get anything wrong? Do you know of any more of such inaccuracies we did not cover? Tell us in the comments.