Science in Science-Fiction

Could you watch a science fiction movie even though it is scientifically inaccurate?

We all love science fiction especially because of all the cool technology and fancy science,  but sometimes fiction gets the best of it and we are left with doubtful science and technology that doesn’t even make sense.

I am not talking about small mistakes or inaccuracies. There are mistakes in all movies, even in the best ones. Take for example the famous hologram scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

This is actually a

This is actually a “volumetric projection” rather than a hologram

This scene were they are watching the message that Leia recorded in R2D2 had left me perplexed ever since. Because the princess’ image is not facing any of the listeners in the room. It is as if someone had filmed her from multiple other angles. To me a video message should face the person it is intended to.

S'up Obi Wan! (image from codemink website)

S’up Obi Wan!
(image from codemink website)

But of course this doesn’t prevent me from enjoying this timeless classic. What about the Terminator saga? My sister told me once that the robots’ visual interface in The Terminator movie didn’t make any sense. Since the robot is self-conscious(!) it is not piloted by a human. So why is there written information on the interface if there is no human to read it?

Who is reading these?

Who is reading these?

But this could make sense in a way that these robots were built by humans at the beginning and back in time there must have been a human pilot controlling the robot’s movements. This is nothing compared to the plot-hole the movie is based on, which is one of the biggest time travel paradoxes in fiction history (in my opinion). You sure know what I’m talking about. John Connor sends Kyle back in time to protect his mother but Kyle ends up sleeping with her and fathers John Connor. From my point of view as a biologist, Kyle fails his mission miserably because his son is definitely not John Connor! Even if we assumed that the only thing which made him the rebellion hero was his mitochondrial DNA, in the 2nd movie he and his mother are trying to prevent the war from happening. But if the war doesn’t happen, his father won’t go back in time to conceive him, so isn’t he fighting against his own existence?? Still, I really enjoyed watching Terminator 2. Especially due to Sarah Connor’s character!

lucy-movie-4 Unfortunately some movies’ whole scenario is based on a scientific inaccuracy. Have you watched Lucy from Luc Besson? When it was out couple of years ago, my girlfriend suggested to watch it together since she knew I would very much enjoy the sight of Scarlett Johansson pulling off superpowers and being all kick ass but I couldn’t. The 10% of your brain myth has been debunked a long time ago, it was already unbelievably stupid to begin with and even a narration from Morgan Freeman cannot make me sit through it.

I guess science fails Science-Fiction sometimes. Do you have any other examples to that?

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6 Responses to Science in Science-Fiction

  1. Bora says:

    Totally agree with the inaccuracies above. One of my favorites is from The Matrix. Cypher jacks himself into the Matrix alone and makes a deal with Agent Smith without others knowing about it. How can he jack into the Matrix when even Neo needs someone to take him in and out – operator Tank for example.. and how can he physically jack himself in – reach back for the jack etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can watch inaccurate sci-fi much more than I can read it. Watching somehow makes it more believable, hence my love for really bad sci-fi like Roboshark. Reading it though, if it’s outlandish, makes me give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. belindacrane says:

    Reading this has actually made me realise how “easy” I am watching a movie. I’m really quite accepting of inaccuracies like in the movies you have used as examples. If it’s good acting … I’m in. Same goes for special effects. I’ve now learnt to never watch the special features of a DVD as seeing how amazing special effects are created ruin the movie if you ever see it again! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Usually I point out those “details” when I re-watch a movie 🙂
    But I like seeing how effects are made. There’s something very funny about actors in front of a green screen 🙂


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