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Old 13th October 2009, 04:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

The twenty worst science and technology errors in films... according to the Telegraph.

What do you think? What have they missed?


The 20 worst science and technology errors in films - Telegraph


I couldn't help noticing they missed ship to ship battles. Even in WW2 they often couldn't see each other, in deep space they'd probably be thousands of miles apart, not nose to nose.

My other favourite, though not a movie, was Space 1999, where the moon would conveniently slow down to pass a planet, and then presumably speed up to near light speeds top move from system to system.
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Old 13th October 2009, 05:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

OK I can be picky but it seems to me they go over the top in places.

We only have to insert an ion pulse into a laser beam and a 'tracer' will result. Similar to the way they can do it it with fluorescent tubes in shop windows (OK that's not how it's actually done but it sounded feasible)

Star Trek Romulans seem to have had a little genetic engineering too. Once they were fine healthy looking human like fellows.

The Matrix energy was 'special energy' hence the need for the farm.

Batman's arms - these devices actually exist they slow you down at an acceptable rate so you don't loose your guts although they aren't hand held devices but a bit of engineering will no doubt fix that.

As for things they missed

Time travel.
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Old 13th October 2009, 05:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEndIsNigh View Post
We only have to insert an ion pulse into a laser beam and a 'tracer' will result.
But why put a tracer in a "beam" when all it does is allow the magical being with the torch-sword to swat the "beam" away?

(Okay, I do know the answer: it's to make the fight work on the screen and to allow the torch-sword holder to defend themselves; but even so....)

Oh, and why shoot such short "beams"? A longer one would persist in travelling towards its target long after the "blade" had swept through its path.

Westerns managed mostly without swords and similar weapons; so should sci-fi.


The two that most bother me most are:
  • the head-to-head starship battles (sometimes "at Warp").
  • the engines failing, causing the ship to stop (but allowing the artificial gravity to keep going). If the effects budget can't reach to the portrayal of weightlessness, try to keep the storyline well away from the inside of a spaceship lacking all power.
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Old 13th October 2009, 05:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

Even better, there was an awful SciFi film some years ago (so awful I forget its name) but the climax at the end comes in a spaceship that seems to be hundreds of yards long and there's a big explosion at one end and the characters in the film (with no airlocks between them and the catastrophic rendering of the hull) have time to run the two hundred yards to safety before the blast reaches them. Purlease... as soon as the hull is breached the outside temperature, (minus 270C) and complete vacuum would whisk anything not triple-welded down, into the great unknown before you could draw breath... script-writers, eh?
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Old 13th October 2009, 05:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

And then there are the rogue planets (i.e. ones in the space well away from stars) with vegetation (with leaves).

* Shakes head *
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Old 13th October 2009, 05:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

Or Dune: a totally desert planet with not a single tree to produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide...
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Old 13th October 2009, 08:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

I'm not too bothered about some of them, as the stories would be crap without the effects. star trek early on did it due to constraints, but there's no excuse for the later ones to still be all humans with different dress or face paint! i mean even star wars (largely all humanoid) occassionally had characters like jabba that didn't follow the norm quite as much...although he too was a fat human in the original!

The bit about the engines stopping and the ship shuddering to the halt always made me laugh! even a car would go for sometime, whereas a space ship would carry on until something asserted a second force to it, so that could be eternity...
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Old 13th October 2009, 09:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

The Martian Chronicles - look at those blue skies and white fluffy clouds - on MARS!?
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Old 13th October 2009, 10:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

There are many liberties taken with the vast majority of tv sci-fi. For a start , the same air is breathable by all life-forms - improbable. There is a universal language spoken and understood by 99% of the inhabitants - highly unlikely. The vast majority of the population of planets is physically nearly identical - approx 6 feet tall , 4 limbs , bi-pedal , 2 eyes , one nose , one mouth , 2 ears - practically impossible.


Understandably , due of monetary constraints and for entertainment purposes , these anomalies are generally overlooked , with the odd tip of the hat to reality with giving the odd attractive female blue skin , pointy ears or a Cornish pasties strapped to their heads.

What really makes me laugh though are when characters are portrayed as 'evil'. Like in Star Trek , they either have a scar , leering grin , or -worst of all - a goatee!
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Old 13th October 2009, 10:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

The running away from explosions always bugged me. Just once I'd like to see someone get toasted - kinda like how Michael Douglas swings across a ravine in Romancing the Stone only to get greeted by a face full of cliff.
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Old 14th October 2009, 07:46 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

SF Related:- It's also amazing that every planet you visit on Star Wars or Star Trek with alien life forms have perfectly balanced O2 levels therefore humans can breathe on any of the planets they visit without any breathing aids.

Why are starships shaped so sleek with wings in a vacuuous environment, are they not starships and not planetships?

In Star Trek, why is it only one person calls on the computer and responds to that person. What if 40 other people access the same computer at the same time, do I have to wait in a queue like on a call centre line?

If you open all Hailing Frequencies should you not get other ships chatter as well besides the one you really want to speak to?

Non SF related:- I found it quite strange that in the 80's movies and tv shows all cars have tyre squeal when on dirt roads ahem I have never heard a car do that ever!!

The mercs or soldiers are so good at what they do they can't even hit the main baddy while spraying 5000 bullets in his direction but the baddy fires one shot from his gun and wounds the good guy.

Lets give away our secret hiding place by sneezing so that baddies can capture us.

I always cringe when people are trying to log into someone elses PC and get ACCESS DENIED and by some miracle they figure out the persons password after 2 tries. Does not happen in real life and by the 3rd time the system will lock you out if typed in more than X times.

Why does Indiana Jones only sometimes bleed after the 15th solid punch that would knock a heavy weight champ out cold.

I like this one, just when you thought the good guy is about to be defeated he suddenly has this great second wind to give him all the strength when 5 seconds ago he could barely stand and lift his head.
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Old 14th October 2009, 09:19 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

I was always troubled by the uniformity of alien planets. The aliens all had the same language, religion, physiognomy and were one planetary nation.

No I know it's a simplifying assumption but given the diversity of Earth; constantly landing on the planet Easy to Explain, becomes unlikely.



... I know Star Trek and a couple of others on rare occasions gave a planet as many as two races/religions etc.
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Old 14th October 2009, 09:30 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

As a sound engineer, frequently involved in adding these effects to films, I'm worried about noise pollution. Spaceships that whooosh in vacuum, lasers that swish in atmosphere, monsters that make acceleration noises, footsteps in microgravity environments. "It has to be thus," sayeth the director "to make things more believable."

Sound travels at the speed of light in a vacuum; when a spaceship blows up, half a million kilometres away, the bang is synchronised with the flash, and nobody else thinks it odd. (I will, hesitantly, accept the possibility of a bang, as the shock wave will contain a fair percentage of the atmosphere and vaporised personnel of the ship; but there are never micrometeorites, the enemy's coffee pot and the bits of his armour plating that set off in your direction during the explosion rattling off your windows half an hour later - presumably atmospheric friction and gravity have taken care of these as they would on Earth.
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Old 14th October 2009, 01:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

Have you noticed that when two spaceships "meet", they're always in exactly the same plane, as in "face-to-face"? Given the 3d nature of space, what are the odds of this happening?



And when a planet or moon is blown up, why is there a shock-ring of energy and matter given off? Surely it should be a sphere!

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Old 14th October 2009, 02:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: The Twenty Worst Science and Technology Errors in Films.

Ooooohhh pretty pictures; a graphic post. Now I have post envy.

Damn you Pyan, damn you to hellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllllllllllllllllllllll.


Beat this then:




... and these terrifying aliens


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