Ever since I saw Furious 7, I haven’t been able to wrap my head around some of the insane stunts that clearly defied reality. I’m no student of physics, but I could tell quite a few of those events just did not make sense. I mean, a car jumping between three skyscrapers? Really?
It got me thinking, so I went around looking for answers, and I stumbled on a 2011 report by America’s National Aeronautic and Space Agency (NASA) detailing the best and worst science fiction movies. While Furious 7 might not be sci-fi, I’m sure it breaks more laws of science than a good number of movies in the genre, and if the NASA report had been published in 2015, Furious 7 would definitely top the list.
Yes, the viewer is supposed to apply some suspension of disbelief when watching science fiction, but some of these claims are just too ridiculous for us to swallow.
Back to NASA’s list; the point of their characterization was not necessarily to point out filmmaking prowess, but to identify those movies that seriously failed the scientific smell test.
Ranking from ridiculous to bad, here’s NASA’s list:
I actually enjoyed this movie, so I was a bit disappointed that it was founded on a lie.The scientific premise of the movie has been described as ridiculous. However, the action sequences and visuals are exciting so it can be a decent movie to watch… just so long as you shut the brain off for certain parts.
The Core (2003)
Let me put it this way: this is a science fiction movie about the end of the world that doesn’t even bother to, consult any science. Scientists at Nasa were said to have walked away after reading the script of this movie, where Hilary Swank’s character drills into the Earth’s centre to restart the planet’s rotation. LOL. The story sounds ridiculous just reading it.
The sheer number of scientific gaffs in this movie has given rise to a armada of websites dedicated to pointing out and discussing all the errors. In fact, NASA uses the movie as part of the management training program. How? The game, if you will, is to see how many of the 168 (168!) impossibilities they can find in the film. And by impossibilities I mean things that directly violate some law of physics or other scientific law. (And that 168 doesn’t even include things that are extremely unlikely, it’s only the things that are strictly impossible.)
This film only begins to make sense if everything we know about geology is wrong.
Chain Reaction (1996)
When people think fusion they think massive energy and nuclear weapons. This sounds like a recipe for an exciting movie. Only the science used in the movie is way off base, and the descriptions of fusion, reactor designs and their dangers are, well, off. Interesting note: Bubble fusion (which is highly speculative, and probably impossible) wouldn’t involve any sort of chain reaction at all.
The 6th Day (2000)
The notions put forth about cloning abilities in this movie are very wrong; to put it lightly. I haven’t checked to see if anyone has done this, but an interesting study would be to count how many physical and biological laws were violated in the plot of this movie. I can think of several off the top of my head, and I haven’t seen the movie in a decade.
What the Bleep Do We Know? (2004)
I actually thought the concept of the movie was ingenious: create a documentary style film to explore the connections between science and consciousness. And it could have been good, except that they tried to draw conclusions based on science that our current understanding doesn’t warrant, and in some cases flat out misrepresents the truth. Honestly I’m not convinced that they were trying to get the science right, but rather just create an entertaining movie that, unless you were scientifically trained, you might not know it was hokum. Or perhaps someone was trying to push their pseudoscientific agenda. Who knows. Either way, it definitely makes the list.
A lot of the films on this list are quite old, in my opinion, a few more ridiculous movies have been released since this list was compiled. Lucy and Planet of the Apes readily comes to mind.
Do you know anyone else? Don’t hesitate to share them with us in the comment section