Worst movie physics/common sense

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  • #1
Pengwuino
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Ok let's have some fun here :D

What do you consider the #1 bad physics/common sense movie. Which movie demonstrates the absolute worst ideas about physics or that absolutely insults its viewers by how improbable various sequences are?

Independance day is absolutely #1 for me. Right off the bat I can think of this...

10 mile or so in diameter body is hovering above a city and showing no real source of prupolsion (and no devastating effects of its pressure)

B-2 bombers can outrun a nuclear bomb that detonates a mile ahead of it

Area 51 has absolutely 0 defense systems

Now I may be wrong about this... but what US fighters are equipped with parachutes for the aircraft?

Feel free to contribute :D
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Mozart
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Its been a long time since I've seen that movie. I do remember seeing Will Smith with a parachute though. I believe he was flying an f/a-18 hornet which can be equipped with ejection seats. Or was it that the parachute actually came out of the back of the aircraft, because I've never seen or heard of that in actual fighters.

A popular one would be sound in space which Star Wars is famous for, among other movies.
 
  • #3
Pengwuino
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Nope, a parachute for the airplane. He "fired" the parachute and released it so that it blinded the little enemy spacecraft and then he ejected from his own aircraft (they were in a canyon so he escaped, alien crashed into the mountain kinda).
 
  • #4
TRCSF
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Pengwuino said:
10 mile or so in diameter body is hovering above a city and showing no real source of prupolsion (and no devastating effects of its pressure)

B-2 bombers can outrun a nuclear bomb that detonates a mile ahead of it

Area 51 has absolutely 0 defense systems

Now I may be wrong about this... but what US fighters are equipped with parachutes for the aircraft?

Eh, in science fiction films I haven't got a problem with levitating space ships or anything like that. It's creative license.

Well, B-2s were designed to drop nuclear bombs and outrun them. Hell, B-52s were capable of that. I don't remember the bomb detonating ahead of the plane. If I remember it dropped the bomb and there was some kind of APC on the ground observing it.

Fighters can and often are equipped with parachutes for carrier landings or landings on short runways. I don't think they're standard issue, but their not unheard of. Again, creative license. That said, that whole chase scene was pretty hokey.

The thing that got me groaning was the computer virus from the Mac laptop. Although I thought the computer virus idea was a neat play on Wells' original idea. The whole thing, imo, was better than Spielberg's latest crap.

People often complain about sound in outer space. Yeah, it's not scientifically accurate, but it's creative license. Listening to TIE fighters and X-wings zoom around is half of the experience. If spaceships behaved scientifically they'd be boring as hell.

Take 2001. Boring as hell. Good movie overall but really drags in the middle. The spaceship scenes are probably the most scientifically accurate with one major exception that springs immediately to mind when ever anybody asks about bad movie physics. Dave Bowman survives total vacuum from the pod to the pod bay simply by holding his breath. Sure, it was essential to the plot. You can't have Dave exploding halfway through the movie. But it still drives me nuts.
 
  • #5
Pengwuino
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TRCSF said:
Well, B-2s were designed to drop nuclear bombs and outrun them. Hell, B-52s were capable of that. I don't remember the bomb detonating ahead of the plane. If I remember it dropped the bomb and there was some kind of APC on the ground observing it.

It didnt drop a bomb, it fired a missile to be exact. It was (or at least had to have been) a nuclear cruise missile fired at the same height as the aliens. It was fired from about a mile out (you can figure out that the aircraft was really close based on the stupid "radar" images they were using at the command center) and hit like an A-A missile (flew right at it and blew up on impact)

TRCSF said:
Fighters can and often are equipped with parachutes for carrier landings or landings on short runways. I don't think they're standard issue, but their not unheard of. Again, creative license. That said, that whole chase scene was pretty hokey.

They were from a marine air base... so i suppose its not impossible but it is HIGHLY improbable that they were equipped with them for the mission.

TRCSF said:
The thing that got me groaning was the computer virus from the Mac laptop. Although I thought the computer virus idea was a neat play on Wells' original idea. The whole thing, imo, was better than Spielberg's latest crap.

haha yah that was stupid as hell.

TRCSF said:
People often complain about sound in outer space. Yeah, it's not scientifically accurate, but it's creative license. Listening to TIE fighters and X-wings zoom around is half of the experience. If spaceships behaved scientifically they'd be boring as hell.

Hey I think independance day actually got the sound thing right! Or well, at one point I think they did. There was sound when they were inside the mother spaceship but you could see a sort of gas floating around. But then again how in the world was there a big hole in the mothership without the whole thing depressurizing?

TRCSF said:
Take 2001. Boring as hell. Good movie overall but really drags in the middle. The spaceship scenes are probably the most scientifically accurate with one major exception that springs immediately to mind when ever anybody asks about bad movie physics. Dave Bowman survives total vacuum from the pod to the pod bay simply by holding his breath. Sure, it was essential to the plot. You can't have Dave exploding halfway through the movie. But it still drives me nuts.

haha. Even The Simpsons got that right!

But there still are a lot of stupid things in movies these days. This one website that is in the Blog portion shows Eraser as a good example. They have this gun that fires a aluminum slug at "near the speed of light" but SOMEHOW people are still capable of missing their shots (even though the gun has a lock-mechanism).
 
  • #6
Mk
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Eraser as a good example. They have this gun that fires a aluminum slug at "near the speed of light" but SOMEHOW people are still capable of missing their shots (even though the gun has a lock-mechanism).
Duh, Ahnald is invincible, just look at him after he came out of the warehouse!

Here's two good sites:
http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/movies/#list
http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:...ie/+Physics+movie+reviews&hl=en&client=safari
(the site is not found, so that's Google's cached)
 
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  • #7
FredGarvin
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Why do people give so much initial credit to screewriters to start off? If you really stop to think about it, 99.5% of all screenwriters are those tools that maybe went into a liberal arts major in college and have zero scientific background. For some reason people treat movies like the internet..."I saw it on the screen so it must be true." Hollywood types are a bunch of tools that, at best, are business people. Heaven forbid any writer spends some time researching what they are writing about. It would be nice if they all were like Tom Clancy who researches the bejeezus out of his novels. But then again, the script factories wouldn't be able to turn out scripts on a weekly basis. The million chimps on the million typewriters would be slowed down. I do give artistic license to a point though...like Star Wars.

The worst movie physics (and worst movie period) I can remember was "Wing Commander." I can't believe I wasted a part of my life watching that crap. Anyways, the missiles shot in space that 1) left smoke trails and 2) tracked/squiggled like airborne air-to-air missiles were just jorrible.
 
  • #8
arildno
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Gandalf in a long, flowing robe overtaking the sword he lost during his plunge down the abyss in Moria.
Do wizards have some gravity-tweaking abilities, perhaps?
 
  • #9
Kakarot
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arildno said:
Gandalf in a long, flowing robe overtaking the sword he lost during his plunge down the abyss in Moria.
Do wizards have some gravity-tweaking abilities, perhaps?

heck yes they do, they can cast fly. just look it up in the players handbook
 
  • #10
Norman
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Kakarot said:
heck yes they do, they can cast fly. just look it up in the players handbook

Currently laughing out loud at this!
Hilarious.
 
  • #11
GOD__AM
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The new movie "The Cave" had some questionable content. For example divers were speaking very clearly to one another under water. While this is somewhat possible with a full face mask (even with those you hear the regulator and exhales) it is not with the rebreather setups they were using. The amount of gear they carried into the cave, including a microscope, food, and enough batteries for 12 days was very far fetched. They also said they were running a fiber optic cable into the cave so they could communicate with the other team at the start of the cave, but I only noticed them running a standard cave reel with nylon string. I only watched about 1/2 of the movie, but if the beginning was any indication of what was to come I think they failed miserably.
 
  • #12
Pengwuino
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FredGarvin said:
Why do people give so much initial credit to screewriters to start off? If you really stop to think about it, 99.5% of all screenwriters are those tools that maybe went into a liberal arts major in college and have zero scientific background. For some reason people treat movies like the internet..."I saw it on the screen so it must be true." Hollywood types are a bunch of tools that, at best, are business people. Heaven forbid any writer spends some time researching what they are writing about. It would be nice if they all were like Tom Clancy who researches the bejeezus out of his novels. But then again, the script factories wouldn't be able to turn out scripts on a weekly basis. The million chimps on the million typewriters would be slowed down. I do give artistic license to a point though...like Star Wars.

Well I personally feel I should patronize directors who don't act like they are high and godlike as if there movies are reality-on-a-screen. I'm not going to patronize that spieldberg jackass. Guy acts like he's the second coming. I like John Woo movies because I've never really heard him gloat (but then again doesn't he barely speak English?). I also like patronizing actors/actresses who arent in every other tabloid and who haven't married 10 people by the age of 25. I like Jet Li because I never hear about him in the stupid section of the news (the first 30 minutes) and Bruce Willis. Now they may not be the best actors and may have been in some stupid movies, but they arent pompous jerks as far as I can tell. I will NEVER go see a tom cruise or nicole kidman or any rap-star-turned-actor.

As far as scientific possibilities... I really do hate when the movie makes no real differentiation between science and science fiction.Maybe its not really Lucas's fault but for example, Star Wars fans think everything in that movie is doable and real and will actualy make up some type of fake science to support their BS. My professor always joked about how if some star trek kid comes up and tries to tell you in detail how a "heisenberg compensator" works, you need to walk away immediately.
 
  • #13
NewScientist
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Pengwuino said:
Now I may be wrong about this... but what US fighters are equipped with parachutes for the aircraft?

Drogue Chutes are used on fliers like the Flankers (Soviet - SU etc). And of course you will have seen them on the space shuttle but on a US aircraft I'm not too sure!

-Ns
 
  • #14
Pengwuino
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NewScientist said:
Drogue Chutes are used on fliers like the Flankers (Soviet - SU etc). And of course you will have seen them on the space shuttle but on a US aircraft I'm not too sure!

-Ns

Yah I've also seen the Soviet fighters that have parachutes and the Shuttle but never a modern US fighter deployed in any reasonable #
 
  • #15
Janus
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TRCSF said:
Take 2001. Boring as hell. Good movie overall but really drags in the middle. The spaceship scenes are probably the most scientifically accurate with one major exception that springs immediately to mind when ever anybody asks about bad movie physics. Dave Bowman survives total vacuum from the pod to the pod bay simply by holding his breath. Sure, it was essential to the plot. You can't have Dave exploding halfway through the movie. But it still drives me nuts.

Actually, the movie got this right. The human body can survive exposure to vacuum for up to about 30 sec without any ill effects. You will not explode, nor will your blood boil, etc.
 
  • #16
Kenneth Mann
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TRCSF said:
People often complain about sound in outer space. Yeah, it's not scientifically accurate, but it's creative license. Listening to TIE fighters and X-wings zoom around is half of the experience. If spaceships behaved scientifically they'd be boring as hell.

Actually, there can be sounds made in outer space movies - - just inside the spacecraft . I seem to recall that "Alien" and "Aliens" had a lot of clanks, murmurs and other sounds inside the spacecraft .

My vote for the worst scientific nonsense, came in a TV movie about a year ago. In it a 'super hurricane' was created when two regular hurricanes came together. To know how ridiculous that was, all the writers had to do was draw hurricanes on two separate sheets of paper and bring them together over a light table or the like. Then, they would have noticed something interesting. The winds that meet each other are going in opposite directions. They cancel each other. I recall having heard that that once happened, and that the hurricanes wiped each other out.

KM
 
  • #17
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the day after tommorow was junk science, but it made for a good plot. how could a blizzard-hurricane killing everyone in new york except for a few people who burned books not attract the mindless sheep who make up most of america?
if you totally ignore everything that you learned (were supposed to learn) in school, then its a good movie.

fibonacci
 
  • #18
Pengwuino
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1 said:
the day after tommorow was junk science, but it made for a good plot. how could a blizzard-hurricane killing everyone in new york except for a few people who burned books not attract the mindless sheep who make up most of america?
if you totally ignore everything that you learned (were supposed to learn) in school, then its a good movie.

pff! Some people on this talk show actually brought up that stupid movie. They were saying "Lets look at the day after tomorrow. This is what might happen if the Bush administration continues its intentional destruction of our environment!". This was shortly after the movie came to theatres. Then of course there are a lot of other various children (ok they were adults but there minds can be classified as childish) who use that movie as evidence that global warming is a serious and immediate threat (I mean come on, there's a lot better evidence for global warming being a threat then some hogwash from Hollywood)
 
  • #19
loseyourname
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In The Matrix, why don't the machines simply harvest a non-human animal for energy, something that processes food more efficiently, produces more energy, and wouldn't stage revolts due to their freedom of choice?

Oh yeah, and one more things about The Day After Tomorrow. How on Earth did those timberwolves survive the flooding of the city by a thirty-foot wave?
 
  • #20
Pengwuino
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Oh yah and again in the matrix, why don't the machines fire a missile or two or flood their cities? I mean that dock scene, sweet as hell but if you have the resources to send in tens of thousands of sentinals, how hard is it to throw a bomb down the tunnel they dug and set it off?
 
  • #21
JamesU
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I never saw it, but judjing by this thread, PF: The movie probably had no problems with physics at all
 
  • #22
Kakarot
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hehe yea the matrix had a lot of plot holes like that. I am writing some scifi stories myself and i try to keep them pretty realistic science wise. I've read books by hawking and michio kaku and some of the things in my stories are based on their ideas
 
  • #23
Janus said:
Actually, the movie got this right. The human body can survive exposure to vacuum for up to about 30 sec without any ill effects. You will not explode, nor will your blood boil, etc.

i don't think there would be no ill effects. you wouldn't be dead or anything but you would be messed up. there was a horror movie called 'event horizon' where someone was put in vacuum for a few seconds and had bleeding eyes/nose/lungs, this seems quite reasonable to me. what is the average pressure around sea level? like 15 PSI or something? (i honestly don't know) but there are soft, usualy sensitive areas of the body that do not put up with pressure well. what really struck me about that scean was how fast he was moving into the airlock, and how hard he hit that vary solid looking door and didnt have anything broken.
 
  • #24
Pengwuino
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Wouldn't you get the bends?
 
  • #25
FredGarvin
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The thing with Matrix is that I never expected reality to be a playing factor. Once you see a woman running horizontally on the walls in a room, you know it is pure fiction, so I didn't get too caught up in the details. I think that series was meant to be more of a parable in stead of a scientific showcase. This was the same with Star Wars. All of those geeks that spent time making up "the science behind Star Wars/Star Trek" are dolts.

The Heisenberg compensator is priceless. I forgot about that one.
 
  • #26
QE
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FredGarvin said:
All of those geeks that spent time making up "the science behind Star Wars/Star Trek" are dolts.

Oh, yeah - and what's the worst they behave like having 10 PhDs in physics and engineering. :yuck:
 
  • #27
DaveC426913
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Janus said:
Actually, the movie got this right. The human body can survive exposure to vacuum for up to about 30 sec without any ill effects. You will not explode, nor will your blood boil, etc.
On the contrary - you will explode if you hold your breath. Not literally, but your lungs will rupture internally and you will have a 100% mortality rate within 20 minutes.

This is how many scuba divers die, and that's just going from 2 atmospheres to 1, not 1 to 0.



"Wouldn't you get the bends?"
No. The conditions needed to get the bends requires time - gasses need to diffuse into the tissues - that takes many minutes. "Free divers" (holding their breath) can go down to hundreds of feet and back up without any bending effects. (They are also not susceptible to ruptured lungs like divers are, but that's another story).
 
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  • #28
DaveC426913
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Mozart said:
A popular one would be sound in space which Star Wars is famous for, among other movies.
Star Wars is exempt. It is not, nor has it ever claimed to be, science fiction. It is fantasy. By definition, it is exempt from adherance to plausible physics (as much as Lord of the Rings is, for example).
 
  • #29
Janus
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Pengwuino said:
Wouldn't you get the bends?

That would only happen if you were breathing a regular air mix. Astronauts usually breathe 3 lbs PSI pure oxygen in their suits. ( the Shuttle itself has a normal atmosphere, but this is why an astronaut has to go on pure oxygen for two hrs before going EVA. This flushes the nitrogen out of his blood, and it is the nitrogen coming out of solution in the blood that causes the bends.)
 
  • #30
DaveC426913
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Janus said:
That would only happen if you were breathing a regular air mix. Astronauts usually breathe 3 lbs PSI pure oxygen in their suits. ( the Shuttle itself has a normal atmosphere, but this is why an astronaut has to go on pure oxygen for two hrs before going EVA. This flushes the nitrogen out of his blood, and it is the nitrogen coming out of solution in the blood that causes the bends.)
I would expect that Dave Bowman was breathing regular air. It's a very long-term voyage.

But, see my explanation of bends, above.
 
  • #31
Janus
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DaveC426913 said:
On the contrary - you will explode if you hold your breath. Not literally, but your lungs will rupture internally and you will have a 100% mortality rate within 20 minutes.

This is how many scuba divers die, and that's just going from 2 atmospheres to 1, not 1 to 0.
Yes, if you hold your breath. But you won't undergo the type of explosive decompression some people expect.
 
  • #32
DaveC426913
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Agreed on both counts.

(Remember 'Outland', that Sean Connery movie? Their heads go blammo!)
 
  • #33
LeonhardEuler
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loseyourname said:
In The Matrix, why don't the machines simply harvest a non-human animal for energy, something that processes food more efficiently, produces more energy, and wouldn't stage revolts due to their freedom of choice?
This has to be one of the worst ideas ever. The human brain does not magically produce energy, it uses energy from food. If the aliens were feeding the humans slime, they would have got more energy by just burning the slime, rather than putting so much energy into building and maintaining human body tissues. I guess you're just not supposed to think about it too hard.
 
  • #34
LeonhardEuler
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Janus said:
Actually, the movie got this right. The human body can survive exposure to vacuum for up to about 30 sec without any ill effects. You will not explode, nor will your blood boil, etc.
What keeps blood from boiling when the external pressure is less than its vapor pressure?
 
  • #35
matthyaouw
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LA (the volcano film) has to be one of the least scientific ever. Since when did lava travel neatly down streets, rather than through anything and everything. I won't even begin to talk about the tectonic setting of LA.
 

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