Jump to content

Bad science in fiction Hall of Shame


Recommended Posts

18 minutes ago, ARS said:

That reminds me,  explosions on TV and movies are unusually large, visually impressive fireballs, that appear to be fueled by gasoline, propane or another similar such fuel, even when the object in question has no right to explode at all, much less spectacularly. Sometimes they are (or include) a shower of sparks while in real life, a fireball is often a minor part of an explosion (though not always, as is the case with incendiaries, like phosphorus, uranium, gelled fuels like napalm, etc). The real devastation from an explosion often comes from the force (overpressure) of the blast and the flying debris and shrapnel. Very rarely will explosions look like what they do in real life, an expanding cloud of dust and debris with very little light — and very little left behind (Grenades are very prone to this in movies, since even a "pineapple" frag grenade can produce a napalm-bomb explosion that throws people around, with ironically, no fragments) . Also, most explosions on TV also burn at a ridiculously slow rate compared to what they would on real life, which conveniently enables one to outrun it. In addition, the more powerful the explosion, the more quickly it uses up or blows apart the reactants involved in any combustion, so there's an inverse relationship between how powerful the blast is and how much fire there is. Oh, and fireballs in space. Perhaps some chemical mixtures can make fireballs in a near vacuum, but it's unlikely most space explosions are like that. This occurs in 90% of all onscreen explosions.

And the explanation here is utterly pragmatic. Actual explosions, rather than cinematic deflagrations, would, erm, destroy things and people. They are less visually satisfying while being enormously more dangerous to work with.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another simple explanation.

The (action) movies are filmed by giants. Usually deep in Mojave desert.
Every explosion in a movie has at least a kiloton yield. That's why their hand grenades explode with a fireball, and why this fireball lasts for seconds.

Every actor/actress in the movie is 200 m tall, so the explosions look proprotional..

Link to post
Share on other sites

This has probably been mentioned so many times, but when the propulsion system of a space vehicle (like the warp core in Star Trek) fails, the ship stops.
In space. Without friction.

THAT'S NOT HOW PROPULSION WORKS!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Delay said:

This has probably been mentioned so many times, but when the propulsion system of a space vehicle (like the warp core in Star Trek) fails, the ship stops.
In space. Without friction.

THAT'S NOT HOW PROPULSION WORKS!!

Actually, I can see an Alcubierre drive (which I think is what the warp in Star Trek is) doing that, because it's basically carrying the ship along on a tract of space, and if it shut down your little 'bubble' would collapse and you'd no longer be moving at superluminal speeds...but the impulse engines would work inertially.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Delay said:

This has probably been mentioned so many times, but when the propulsion system of a space vehicle (like the warp core in Star Trek) fails, the ship stops.
In space. Without friction.

THAT'S NOT HOW PROPULSION WORKS!!

Just like whenever aircraft in movies instantly plummet into vertical nosedive whenever the engine is shut down instead... You know, gliding like an actual aircraft

THAT'S NOT HOW AERODYNAMIC WORKS!!

Edited by ARS
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ARS said:

Just like whenever aircraft in movies instantly plummet into vertical nosedive whenever the engine is shut down instead... You know, gliding like an actual aircraft

THAT'S NOT HOW AERODYNAMIC WORKS!!

Well if the camera is moving in the horizontal plane along with the airplane then it would like it just fell down, but that isn’t always what happens.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/23/2019 at 10:08 PM, ARS said:

Just like whenever aircraft in movies instantly plummet into vertical nosedive whenever the engine is shut down instead...

As well as the fact that all aircraft apparently have Jericho Trumpets when they do any sort of dive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Batman: Dark Knight and possibly others.

Why does Batman lie down in his batmobile when it's going to (jump? accelerate? fly? I don't get exactly, but it definitely accelerates) ?

Does he think that the head-to-feet direction is felt better than when he just sits in a seat?

Edited by kerbiloid
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, totalitor said:

In Iron Sky The Coming race: at the end they head from moon to Mars. Their ship is so slow it takes 100 years to travel.

Yet they were able to ascent to orbit, so TWR was not so bad. What kind of trajectory they have to Mars? I don't get it.

You're right, that doesn't even make sense.  If they had the thrust to reach an orbit that only intersected mars orbit once every 100 years, then they clearly had the ability to get there sooner.   Even if they create some odd Earth/Mars resonant orbit that finally gets an encounter with Mars 100 years later, then it was just a matter of timing.  If they had waited some months for the next proper window.....

Link to post
Share on other sites

From Godzilla (1998):

1. The movie claims that heat-seeking missiles can't track Godzilla because, being a giant iguana, he's cold-blooded. An animal as huge as Godzilla would be warm-blooded simply due to the sheer mass of its body making heat take a long time to escape, much like the largest dinosaurs. The process is called gigantothermy and is already seen in animals like large crocodiles and sharks, all of which are tiny compared to Godzilla.

2. There is no way a human pregnancy test would work on a lizard, much less a giant radioactive lizard, as human (and mammal) pregnancy tests are searching for the presence of a hormone called Chorionic Gonadotrophin, which is only produced in placental animals, as the 'chorion' is another word for the placenta. Reptiles are not placental animals, and do not produce CG. Thus, the test wouldn't work. Even Nick notes that the test shouldn't have worked.

3. Iguanas, from which Godzilla mutated, are herbivorous (eat plants), not piscivorous (eat fish). Though to be fair, they aren't skyscraper sized, either. Also, The prologue shows nuclear testing in French Polynesia interspersed with shots of various lizards that implicitly live on the island chain. The only problem is that none of the shown species are native to French Polynesia (Marine iguanas are native to the Galapagos, Komodo dragons are native to Indonesia, the Chinese water dragon is native to mainland Southeast Asia, the green iguana is native to Central and South America, and bearded dragons are native to Australia) In fact, French Polynesia has no reptile species, native or otherwise, making Godzilla's origin something of a mystery. Also, despite the movie claims the origin of Godzilla is from the French nuclear test on French polynesia (Philippe and his colleagues planned to cover up their country's role in the nuclear testing that created Godzilla in the first place) the footage shown instead was the Operation Crossroads nuclear test (Specifically Able and Baker test), which is conducted by US and located on Bikini Atoll, almost 6000 kilometers away

4. When all the destruction from Godzilla's first appearance is looked over, the MetLife building is seen with a huge hole through it, implying that Godzilla somehow jumped through it. It looks cool, but it's still difficult to believe that it would be standing after that, especially with the entire middle section essentially gone. The remaining upper section of the building being held up by the perimeter structural members would have buckled almost immediately.

5. During the first helicopter chase, Manhattan doesn't have extremely high, Coruscant-style corridors of skyscrapers taller than Godzilla that stretch for blocks and blocks. Also, the way the movie potrays Apache helicopter is wrong on so many levels. First of all, Sidewinder missiles aren't possible to mount on an Apache, the warheads on Sidewinders are tiny compared to, say, tank shells. They contain only a couple of pounds of explosive, and wouldn't cause monumental damage to any building they hit; they would in no way would cause the top of the Chrysler Building to be chopped off, and probably wouldn't hurt Godzilla either (The Chrysler Building's destruction itself, while highly memorable, still sees the spire float very slowly and unconvincingly off its base, and then flattening like a pancake when it hits the streets). Anti-tank missiles like the Hellfire would be more practical; Sidewinders are designed for small, fast-moving aircraft. Apaches also don't have a pair of guns bracketing the cockpit; they have a single 30mm chaingun in a chin mount beneath the front of the fuselage. Ironically, attempts WERE made to increase the Apache's air to air capabilities by making it able to launch the Sidewinder, complete with test firings. These were ceased in favor of a modified Stinger missile design (also a heat-seeking design; every Stinger variant after the FIM-92A, including all ATAS variants, uses the same seeker head used in the AIM-9X Sidewinder). The Apaches is also depicted to carry far more weapons than realistically possible; real Apaches have two wing-mounted hardpoints that traditionally carry 70mm Hydra rocket pods on the inner pylons and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles in racks of eight on the outer pylons, with a 30mm M230 chaingun under the nose. The movie Apaches feature longer wings, fitting two sets of Hydra rocket pods on each wing, a Hellfire missile rack with wing-tip mounted Sidewinder missiles and forward facing chainguns under the cockpit windows, with the aforementioned undernose chaingun still there but unused. The film Apaches are also depicted as maneuvering more like jet aircraft, with sharp banking maneuvers while flying straight and flying forwards at high speeds, with multiple helicopters flying around each other with precision. The helicopter pilots seem to always stay at mouth-level of the monster they're attacking, despite the fact that Apaches can fly as high as 20,000 feet above sea level, meaning there was no reason for them to be flying that low to begin with.

6. The idea that Godzilla can disappear by burrowing into New York's subway system and sewers is ridiculous; the subway tunnels are not that deep under the streets, with the deepest station being 180 feet underground. Godzilla would have to burrow past the subway tunnels into the ground underneath to remain hidden, as his size would mean he would be disturb and collapse the streets and would be easily visible.

7. Godzilla is also shown diving into the Hudson River, where he is engaged by three US Navy submarines. The Hudson River is shallow; it can be anywhere from 32 to 200 feet deep at most depending on location, yet Godzilla is shown swimming well below the surface, and is nowhere close to the bottom as if he were out in the middle of the ocean. There is no way submarines would be able to conduct operations in the Hudson as well. On a side note, if you pause the movie at the right moment during the submarine scene, you can see that Navy officers on the submarines that engage Godzilla are shown wearing "SSBN" hats. SSBN is the US Navy designation for a nuclear submarine, which would be far too big and impractical for operations in the Hudson. A fast attack submarine (SSN) would be more appropriate given the situation.

8. The F/A-18 pilot that destroys Madison Square Garden is shown disengaging master arm and selecting LGBs which stand for laser-guided bombs. However he is shown selecting his plane's AGM-84 Harpoon missiles and stating that he has a good laser track on the target. The Harpoon is a radar-guided, anti-ship missile, not laser-guided. The Harpoon missiles that the F/A-18s use are also woefully impractical for destroying a large building, and would not be effective against a large stationary target such as Madison Square Garden, as the Harpoon is designed for anti-ship use. Harpoons are also not practical for engaging land targets; their seeker heads are designed for use over water, which has minimal obstacles and radar interference. Ground terrain creates a chaotic radar picture, which can confuse a Harpoon's seeker head. A variant of the Harpoon was developed for ground targets, but it didn't enter service until 2000, two years after movie's release. The F/A-18 squadron leader says to his wingmen before launching his missiles "save your Mavericks", referring to the AGM-65 Maverick air to ground missile. However, when shots of the planes are shown, none of the F/A-18s are shown carrying any such missiles. The lead F/A-18 is the only one that deploys Harpoons to destroy Madison Square Garden, yet without returning to base to resupply, is able to fire two more salvos of Harpoons from his underwing pylons at Godzilla on the Brooklyn Bridge.

9. Although the filmmakers apparently tried to make Godzilla more realistic in his design, ironically his more dinosaur-like design is far less plausible than the old bulky design. The traditional Godzilla design has pillar-like legs and is built in an upright stance with a low-center of gravity, with massive thighs and thick tail support that you'd expect for an animal weighing thousands of tonnes. This Godzilla has a sleek, raptor-like body held horizontally that basically threw all remaining logic out the window. No 300-foot tall bipedal animal would be able to hold a horizontal position all of the time.

10. The US Army inquiring what a Frenchman is doing at the scene of the clawed freighter. The problem? It's in Tahiti, a French overseas territory. The US troops are the ones who shouldn't be there. No wonder the French sent their secret service after them. Also, during the "Godzilla's footprint" scene, a geiger counter is shown beeping around the footprint, which implies it has a trace of radiation. With how long Godzilla spends tromping about Manhattan, he'd have turned it into a uninhabitable ghost island if he were at all radioactive like his Japanese namesake (And indeed, the original Godzilla WAS radioactive). And with the leftover fallout from the nuclear bomb tests, he should be.

Edited by ARS
Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, ARS said:

First of all, Sidewinder missiles aren't possible to mount on an Apache,

While not a system that really went into production, sidewinders were tested on Apaches.  Most UH-64's that do use AA Missiles, instead use Stingers.  But it's not unbelievable for an Apache to be carrying an AIM-9, especially since this a movie and the sidewinder is far more recognizable than a stinger.  But the rest of your statement about them is spot on.   AA missiles are not designed to be penetrators nor really damage heavily armored targets, they usually explode in proximity to a target, and let shrapnel tear into various fragile air frame components.   Hitting godzilla with an AA missile would be akin to shooting it with bird shot, more likely to just anger it more.   (And continuing to read your post, you say pretty much that)

Quote

Starting in the 1980s, the Stinger and AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and the AGM-122 Sidearm anti-radiation missile were evaluated for use upon the AH-64.[71][72] The Stinger was initially selected; the U.S. Army was also considering the Starstreak air-to-air missile.[71][73] External fuel tanks can also be carried on the stub wings to increase range and mission time.[42] The stub-wing pylons have mounting points for maintenance access; these mountings can be used to secure externally personnel for emergency transportation.[74] Stinger missiles are often used on non-U.S. Apaches, as foreign forces do not have as many air superiority aircraft to control the skies.[75] The AH-64E initially lacked the ability to use the Stinger to make room for self-defense equipment, but the capability was re-added following a South Korean demand.[76]

 

54 minutes ago, ARS said:

A fast attack submarine (SSN) would be more appropriate given the situation.

Even an SSN would be too big for river work, and I would posit even most diesel-electrics (et al) would also be too big.   Not enough room to maneuver and hide, so they wouldn't even be going in there to start with.   A specially designed littoral submarine might be doable, but then I would doubt it would have the punch to be effective. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gargamel said:

Even an SSN would be too big for river work, and I would posit even most diesel-electrics (et al) would also be too big

Well, I mean on the river depth depicted in movie, not the "real" depth of Hudson river

Edited by ARS
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gargamel said:
2 hours ago, ARS said:

First of all, Sidewinder missiles aren't possible to mount on an Apache,

While not a system that really went into production, sidewinders were tested on Apaches

But I used them, since early 1990s.
Look:

Spoiler

Apache with Sidewinders.

2nlh861.jpg

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, ARS said:

2. There is no way a human pregnancy test would work on a lizard, much less a giant radioactive lizard, as human (and mammal) pregnancy tests are searching for the presence of a hormone called Chorionic Gonadotrophin, which is only produced in placental animals, as the 'chorion' is another word for the placenta. Reptiles are not placental animals, and do not produce CG. Thus, the test wouldn't work. Even Nick notes that the test shouldn't have worked.

Well, I'm not an expert with this particular protein, but that hormone is active in amphibians and induces ovulation in frogs (which was the basis of the first "modern" pregnancy tests in the 20th century). So its clearly similar to something conserved among tetrapods. Now a more modern test would use an antibody, not injecting bodily fluid into a frog and seeing if the hormones inside cause it to lay eggs. So, assuming that there are homologous hormones in the reptiles (as the hormones even have an effect in Frogs), and that the antibody used is cross reactive, its at least plausible.

I don't know how specific the antibodies are in modern tests, nor how similar the hormones are in reptiles.

Quote

3. Iguanas, from which Godzilla mutated, are herbivorous (eat plants), not piscivorous (eat fish). Though to be fair, they aren't skyscraper sized, either. Also, The prologue shows nuclear testing in French Polynesia interspersed with shots of various lizards that implicitly live on the island chain. The only problem is that none of the shown species are native to French Polynesia (Marine iguanas are native to the Galapagos, Komodo dragons are native to Indonesia, the Chinese water dragon is native to mainland Southeast Asia, the green iguana is native to Central and South America, and bearded dragons are native to Australia) In fact, French Polynesia has no reptile species, native or otherwise, making Godzilla's origin something of a mystery. Also, despite the movie claims the origin of Godzilla is from the French nuclear test on French polynesia (Philippe and his colleagues planned to cover up their country's role in the nuclear testing that created Godzilla in the first place) the footage shown instead was the Operation Crossroads nuclear test (Specifically Able and Baker test), which is conducted by US and located on Bikini Atoll, almost 6000 kilometers away

I wouldn't call using stock footage of bomb tests something worth of the "hall of shame". At least they did show a nuke blast... its not like they showed a MOAB/fuel air explosive, or some independence day like effect for the nukes.

Quote

5. During the first helicopter chase, Manhattan doesn't have extremely high, Coruscant-style corridors of skyscrapers taller than Godzilla that stretch for blocks and blocks. Also, the way the movie potrays Apache helicopter is wrong on so many levels. First of all, Sidewinder missiles aren't possible to mount on an Apache, the warheads on Sidewinders are tiny compared to, say, tank shells. They contain only a couple of pounds of explosive, and wouldn't cause monumental damage to any building they hit; they would in no way would cause the top of the Chrysler Building to be chopped off, and probably wouldn't hurt Godzilla either (The Chrysler Building's destruction itself, while highly memorable, still sees the spire float very slowly and unconvincingly off its base, and then flattening like a pancake when it hits the streets). Anti-tank missiles like the Hellfire would be more practical; Sidewinders are designed for small, fast-moving aircraft. Apaches also don't have a pair of guns bracketing the cockpit; they have a single 30mm chaingun in a chin mount beneath the front of the fuselage. Ironically, attempts WERE made to increase the Apache's air to air capabilities by making it able to launch the Sidewinder, complete with test firings. These were ceased in favor of a modified Stinger missile design (also a heat-seeking design; every Stinger variant after the FIM-92A, including all ATAS variants, uses the same seeker head used in the AIM-9X Sidewinder). The Apaches is also depicted to carry far more weapons than realistically possible; real Apaches have two wing-mounted hardpoints that traditionally carry 70mm Hydra rocket pods on the inner pylons and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles in racks of eight on the outer pylons, with a 30mm M230 chaingun under the nose. The movie Apaches feature longer wings, fitting two sets of Hydra rocket pods on each wing, a Hellfire missile rack with wing-tip mounted Sidewinder missiles and forward facing chainguns under the cockpit windows, with the aforementioned undernose chaingun still there but unused. The film Apaches are also depicted as maneuvering more like jet aircraft, with sharp banking maneuvers while flying straight and flying forwards at high speeds, with multiple helicopters flying around each other with precision. The helicopter pilots seem to always stay at mouth-level of the monster they're attacking, despite the fact that Apaches can fly as high as 20,000 feet above sea level, meaning there was no reason for them to be flying that low to begin with.

I haven't watched the film since 1998, I remember thinking how dumb it was that the helicopters never flew up... but... what you describe... holy **** that sounds bad, so I looked for images:

Concept art shows the apachies with just 4 underwing pylons: https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMTc3ZjAzYjct[email protected]._V1_.jpg

fine...

Here I see 4 rocket pods, and tip mounted sidewinders: https://c8.alamy.com/compfr/bpgdp4/mise-de-larmee-de-piege-pour-monster-godzilla-1998-bpgdp4.jpg

That's ... ok, tip mounted sidewinders were never adopted, but they existed. 4 rocket pods (2 per wing) is fine, I don't see the additional hellfire rack on each with that you describe... but its a bad picture.

Still, I don't think that is bad science fiction... its just inaccurate. There's nothing scientifically wrong with an attack helicopter based on the apache with longer stubs wings with more hardpoints, and fixed forward firing cannons.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

Still, I don't think that is bad science fiction...

This can easily bring us into a very unproductive discussion about what science-fiction is... but worse yet, the thread had already been derailed into even less sci-fi cliches, e.g. exploding cars.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/27/2019 at 4:26 PM, razark said:

The thread is "bad science in fiction", not "bad science fiction".  Exploding cars is on topic.

This, now Godzilla brings some more serious issues like how it survived long in 1998. Modern airplanes would splat him even if having an battleship level protection and that killed off battleships after WW2. 
An WW 2 battleship is +40K ton and has no moving parts outside of rotation of propellers, rudders, turrets and guns and only having to float making them easy to armor up. 
Having legs to support you is an obvious weak spot. 

In 1998 planes could drop laser guided armor piercing bombs from 10 km up, they could hit moving targets pretty well.  
You only defense is to have some high level air defense, fighter jets on your own or not getting spotted. 

See serious issue with an flexible skin even if made out out boron / tungsten against anti tank weapons. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

Having legs to support you is an obvious weak spot. 

My first thoughts were related to issues surrounding being a 500ft tall lizard in the first place.

For example, it cant have bones made of bone otherwise it would be a dead puddle of flesh.

It could have solid, monolithic steel bones but would probably sink into the ground. Its debatable whether any material would be able to support its structure, especially with the movements it would want to make. 

It must have solid metal wires as nerves as well because with biological nerve conduction speeds (~100m/s give or take) it would have crippling coordination problems.

 

So in other words, in the real world, Godzilla is a dead, twitching puddle of liquified flesh. That much meat would literally flow like a fluid, which would be a small catastrophe in itself.

Unless it was literally a skyscraper. Or its made of impossible materials. In which case screw it, all bets are off. Lets give it wings and an electric guitar.

Edited by p1t1o
Link to post
Share on other sites

A physical explanation.

Gawdzilla is actually a small iguana living in a fishtank.
It's harmless, and it likes to walk around a toy city and eat worms and crickets (or what the iguanas eat).

Once it swallowed a cigarette roach and started spitting fire and smoke.

It even didn't know that the fishtank is dimensionally entangled with Japan coast.
And every time when Gawdzie is  having a lazy walk, people see a giant fire-breathing iguana walking out from the ocean.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...