Bad Movie Science

Compiled by: Aamarpali Puri

  1. Abyss (1989)

Factual errors: Even if the wind force on the Benthic Explorer is enough to drag the massive rig along the seabed, it could never be enough to accelerate it from rest to at least 1 mph in less than a second when transmitted over an umbilical cord at least 2,000 feet long. No matter how strong the cord is, over that length it would have to stretch to some extent and this would limit the acceleration.

Factual errors: The drilling rig’s submersibles are launched from a moon pool and the air inside them must therefore be at the same pressure as the water at that depth. Consequently, when Bud and Lindsey are endangered by a leak, the flooding should rise only as high as the leak, not right to the ceiling.

  1. Airborne (1998)

Revealing mistakes: At the end of the movie McNeil is riding on top of limo. Close up shots show McNeil standing, but long shots are of stunt man who is kneeling, and rising. They jump back and forth several times in this scene.

Revealing mistakes: At the end of the movie McNeil jumps onto a small plane using the same magnetic gloves he used at the beginning of the film. Smaller aircrafts are made out of aluminum and he should only have stuck to areas of the plane that had frame, and not the entire length of the outside panel.

  1. Airspeed (1998)

Factual errors: An airplane flying through a thunderstorm has virtually no chance of being structurally damaged by a lightning strike. The lightning leaves a burn mark but nothing else.

  1. Absolute Zero (2005)

Factual errors: The blizzard appears to continue even after Absolute Zero is attained. The clouds as well as the snow should have been frozen solid.

  1. Accepted (2006)

Factual errors: When the fire alarm is activated at the party all the sprinkler heads activate and spray water. Automatic sprinklers use a metal alloy with a low melting point to govern activation. Only heat can activate a sprinkler head.

  1. Anaconda (1997)

Factual errors: The barrels of fuel that go overboard would not sink, they would float.

Factual errors: At the end of the movie as a final scare we see eggs that are being hatched. However, anacondas are oviviparous – their eggs hatch inside them and the young come out of the mother immediately after, giving the illusion of a live birth.

  1. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Factual errors: The maximum gross weight of a Huey helicopter is 10,500 pounds. It would be impossible for such an aircraft to lift a Patrol Boat, Riverine (PBR) which weighs anywhere between 15,000 and 19,000 pounds.

  1. Apocalypto (2006)

Factual errors: A nearly-full moon is shown the first night after a solar eclipse; this is impossible as solar eclipses only occur during a new moon.

  1. The Arrival (1996)

Plot holes: First the extraterrestrial message is sent, then one back from earth. Later the extraterrestrial source responds to that message. However Zane Zaminski tells us that the star is 14 light years away, meaning it would take the message 14 years to travel between the star and earth.

Miscellaneous: The large black scorpion above the light switch in Llana’s room has no stinger.

  1. Awake (2007)

Factual errors: Multiple breaches in sterile procedure, including at the end when the doctors “clean up” over Hayden’s surgical area.

Factual errors: SPOILER: Lilith’s heart would not be available for transplant in the scenario as it is shown. In real life, she would have been intubated and had multiple IV access and monitoring sites, and the hospital would have had to go through the process of having her declared brain dead before her organs could be removed. Also, her heart would have had to be functioning properly at the time of removal, and as shown it probably would have been useless as several minutes had passed without oxygen.

Factual errors: SPOILER: By overdosing on isosorbide or any other of her son’s medications, Lillith would have caused her own blood pressure to drop, therefore jeopardizing the health of her heart. It’s likely that she would have known the effects of the medication, and not chosen to use them for an overdose.

Revealing mistakes: SPOILER: In the operating room, the visible vein on Lillith’s forehead indicates that blood is still flowing through it, even though she is supposed to be dead.



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