Look, we get it. Making a sci-fi movie that paints an accurate picture of reality is really, really difficult. But some films get so ridiculous with their scientific fallacies and technical inconsistencies that we just can't let them go unpunished. To hold bad sci-fi movies accountable, NBN's Science and Tech team put together a collection of flicks that are just so far off base scientifically, we can't help but laugh. And if you want a change of pace, check out last week's guide to the psychological accuracy of Pixar's Inside Out for a look at good movie science.
Self/less by Rachel Fobar
In Self/less, Ben Kingsley plays a dying real estate mogul who decides to continue living as a younger, hotter version of himself by transferring his mind to Ryan Reynolds. It’s a nice idea, but mind transfer is impossible. The mind and the brain are not two separate entities – the mind is intertwined with the very structure of the brain. And if you tried transplanting the entire brain, “you would have to transfer the spinal cord as well, or risk stripping the subject of a lifetime of muscle memory,” according to Popular Science. Though some scientists have looked into preserving a digital copy of the brain after death, Freaky Friday-esque body switches are out of the question. Even full-on head transplants, which involve connecting millions of nerve fibers, are more likely. Better luck next time, Ben Kingsley.
Armageddon by Jasper Scherer
If we’ve learned anything from Armageddon – a 1998 flick about humanity’s close brush with asteroid-related extinction – it’s that movies about space objects colliding with Earth are extremely difficult to make with any semblance of accuracy. Here’s the short of it: In Armageddon, Bruce Willis plants a nuclear bomb inside an asteroid hurtling toward Earth’s surface, causing the asteroid to split in half and miss Earth completely. The two asteroid fragments pass by on either side of our beloved planet, and everyone except Bruce Willis lives happily ever after.
Problem is, Armageddon completely screws up the science behind destroying asteroids because nothing on Earth could come even close to accomplishing what happened in the movie. According to Space.com, Willis would have needed a bomb roughly 2 billion times stronger than anything ever detonated on Earth to actually deflect the asteroid past our planet – not to mention that humanity didn’t discover the asteroid soon enough to actually have a realistic chance of stopping it anyway. But don’t even get me started on Deep Impact.
The Day After Tomorrow by Preetisha Sen
The Day After Tomorrow has all the makings of a great film: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid (best dad crush to ever exist) and more rain than The Notebook. Unfortunately, the blockbuster hit about an icy, international-disaster storm is missing one key component: reality. According to an interview in National Geographic, abrupt climate change like that depicted in the movie takes tens of thousands of years – not a few days. Most scientists don't think another ice age could happen, no matter how many disaster movies tell us otherwise. That said, The Day After Tomorrow did bring issues of climate change to the forefront, even if they were a little out of control. While the extrapolations in the film were fictional, the changes in the Earth's temperature over the past century are not.