1. Jurassic World ignored new dino discoveries

The premise behind the Jurassic Park series of films is well-known: scientists figure out a way to clone dinosaurs based on DNA remnants found in an amber fossil. Corporate greed twists the tech into an over-the-top amusement park. The result is a franchise filled with dino-disaster thrills.

The Verge

The idea of manipulating dormant DNA is not entirely outlandish. It’s conceivable that science can one day enable recreating tissue or somehow reprogram the genetic code of similar animals. The problem lies in how the movie depicts the dinosaurs. Since the first Jurassic Park was released in 1993, we’ve learned quite a bit more from new fossil record findings.

2. Where are the feathers?

Over the past few decades, scientists have found evidence that most dinosaurs weren’t covered in scaly skin. They more likely resembled Big Bird than a giant alligator or Godzilla. Since the discovery occurred between sequels, the filmmakers probably just ran with their original mistake, figuring that a reversal would confuse film continuity.

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Dinosaur science holds that the animals were likely made extinct by an asteroid hitting the planet. And archaeologists are still digging up amazing fossils that further our knowledge of these ancient beasts. Their relationship to the chicken is not far off and the dinosaurs-with-feathers evidence continues to solidify.

The next movie got a lot wrong about asteroid science.

3. Armageddon and some of the worst movie science

No one watching 1998’s Armageddon is expecting an accurate lecture on space science. The film is rumored to be used in NASA recruitment and training, with a whopping 168 noted scientific flubs illustrating how space does not work in reality. The reality-minded movie goers can be quite the buzzkill sometimes.

Touchstone Pictures

Even many casual critics have questioned the movie’s plot line, stating that it would be easier to train astronauts how to drill an asteroid rather than the reversal of roles we see in the film. Additionally, numerous errors include problems with gravity and how ships would maneuver in the vacuum of space. The most glaring error—but one also seen in a lot of space films—is how explosions would work outside of Earth.

4. Fire needs oxygen

In the movie, the heroes encounter fire a few times. The space station explodes into a firey ball, and while on the surface of the doomsday asteroid, flames are everywhere. Explosions in space would be fire-free since fire requires oxygen. But explosions are just too cool to leave out of your summer action blockbuster, we get it.

Touchstone Films

For those of you still saying, “I see fire in space movies all the time!”—nah, you’ve just been watching too much TV. This bit of simple chemistry and physics is often disregarded. One film that sparked a bunch of space inaccuracies is beloved by nerds worldwide.

5. Star Wars space physics fails

There are innumerable things scientifically wrong with the Star Wars universe. Of course, the films are purely fictional space operas, but there are many tradeoffs between reality and moviemaking excitement. Like, how does a hyperdrive actually work? What technology allows for the laser rifles to actually shoot perfect little beams?

Lucasfilm

Similar to Armageddon, Star Wars features questionable spaceship acrobatics. In the vacuum of space, X-Wing fighters would not bank and pivot like a jet fighter a la Top Gun. Aerial dogfights as seen in the Star Wars flicks are unfortunately not an accurate portrayal of space craft movement. For that we need to use our imaginations a bit more.

6. Lack of gravity would make action slower

Who wants to watch a slow drifting battle between real-life space shuttles anyways (*cough* The Last Jedi *cough*)? In space, the lack of air resistance would mean much less excitement. And explosions? They’d also not be anywhere near as dramatic. Ah, but the thrill of watching those X-Wings take down Star Destroyer is a love of many.

Lucasfilm

Really any film that implements warp-speed or a hyperdrive spacecraft is reaching. Launching a crew to the speed of light would virtually be impossible for humans to survive. Yet Han Solo can sit there in casual command of the Millenium Falcon as it hurdles across the galaxy at maximum velocity. *Snorting laugh* yeah, right! Some movies depict real planets in a less-than-scientific way.

7. Total Recall confuses moviegoers

Primarily a mind-bending tale of a man whose memories are fiddled with, 1990’s Total Recall is filled with some cool special effects. You might remember the mutated oracle who popped out of a man’s chest, or the robotic-like disguise employed by Arnold Schwarzenegger to evade officials. Or perhaps the famous line, “Get your [self] to Mars.”

Tristar Pictures

Humanity is indeed closer to the reality of the Total Recall universe as we’ve got big plans to colonize Mars someday. But just like the movie suggests, there are prevalent dangers. When the action does indeed shift to the planet Mars, several characters either die when exposed to the planet’s atmosphere or come close to death. 

8. Decompression would be less dramatic

The movie depicts decompression in an over-the-top manner, with distorted cartoon-like faces. Eyes bulge out like in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. In reality, symptoms upon exposure to the Martian elements would be a bit more subtle. The temperature would cause freezing, and a slower, less-exciting death would follow.

Neil Oseman

No, decompression is not a fun experience, whether it happens due to the ocean’s depths or the Martian atmosphere. But your tongue won’t try to fly out of your mouth.

Alien movies often require us to throw science out the window. In Independence Day, gigantic metal ships the size of a city hover above. Gravity would see them crash down without dramatic fire-fights.

9. Independence Day’s iffy science

The alien ships were powered by some sort of gravity-repelling technology which is barely explained. Similar to Star Wars or really any other action/sci-fi story, ships that can hover indefinitely over a planet’s surface are quite a stretch to explain. We can accept the possibility that alien tech operates under a different set of physical laws, but other parts of the movie make much less sense.

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Even the obviously light weight hover board from Back to the Future Part II could float a few inches off the ground, yet we haven’t come up with this wicked fun tech quite yet. As far as Independence Day goes, the climax of the film involves Jeff Goldblum’s character using a little bit of hacker know-how to take down the alien invader’s defenses.

10. Alien computer science glitches

How could an Earth-based computer scientist create a virus that could compromise an alien ship’s technology? If this advanced race has developed anti-gravity interstellar flight—both of which are considered near-impossible by science—you’d think that their vessels would have at least 2018-level cybersecurity.

0th Century Fox

Although there is the possibility that aliens still operate their computer systems from binary code. But it’s a reach. Out of all of the recent space movies, two are based more on reality than bad science. The Martian is considered by many to be spot-on in the science department. Another reality-based film, however, contained genuine elements but also had its share of flubs.

11. A more grounded space tale still fails

2011’s Gravity is a compelling tale of an astronaut who has to deal with being marooned at space. Her only hope is gravity itself. All she needs to do is figure out how to safely drift back to Earth. What follows is a stressful but cinematically satisfying display of physics gone haywire high above Earth’s surface.

Hollywood Reporter

The problem with Gravity is how it disregards the effect of the force—or the lack of it—in a critical scene. Star Sandra Bullock is initially not alone in space. Her partner, played by George Clooney, dramatically cuts his tether with her during a spacewalk to avoid jeopardizing her life.

12. Gravity forgets about space drifting

The concept that an object (or person) would be difficult to reel into safety wouldn’t apply here. In the vacuum of space, Bullock’s character would have been able to stop his drifting and reel him back to her quickly. In the absence of gravity, he would have weighed nothing. Poor, poor George Clooney. 

Warner Brothers

We shouldn’t see the forest for the trees, however. Gravity was quite the impressive display of how a disaster might look in space, in all its harrowing glory. A lot of science fiction happens out in space. This makes sense as the unknown world of the stars is exciting and entertaining. Back on Earth, there is a large mass of unexplored area below our feet.

13. Science problems on Earth

In The Core, a problem with the Earth’s core requires a team of scientists to pilot a drill-tipped craft through the planet. This entire concept opens a Pandora’s Box of inaccurate movie science. Instead of exciting drama, the movie just churns out nonsense. C’mon, Hollywood, you’re better than that. 

Dailymotion

Just think of the setup of this movie: a drill is going to zip through the planet. Where are the displaced dirt, rock, and other materials supposed to go? It takes drilling teams months to dig a mile into the Earth’s crust, and these characters have to go almost 8,000 miles. You can just envision scientists everywhere rolling their eyes. 

14. The Core just makes no sense at all

Improbable digging is not the film’s worst problem. Once the team is hurtling through the planet’s core—in hot molten lava-like material—one character hops outside the vessel to save the day. He dies, but not as he would in reality, which would likely see him quickly vaporize. Yeah, it’s that hot down there. 

The i535 project

The film is also big on associating the Earth’s core with magnetic pulses that shield our planet from microwaves (not the ones in your kitchen). While that is somewhat true, these microwaves wouldn’t incinerate the Golden Gate Bridge or the Roman Coliseum in a giant explosion.

These other films take a real dilemma and ratchet up timelines to make them more dramatic and suspenseful. This escalation is common in natural disaster films.

15. The Day After Tomorrow escalates things quickly

2004’s The Day After Tomorrow has been criticized as violating every known rule of thermodynamics, among other errors. Some of the criticism is the stuff of high-level climate science. Dennis Quaid plays a scientist that discovers there was a period of rapid warming that already occurred 10,000 years ago. That part was on the money.

Fanpop

Things go down a rabbit hole of inaccurate science quickly, however, when a superstorm threatens to send Earth into another ice age in a ridiculously short time frame. It’s the most glaring problem evident to those with a little scientific background. In the movie, weather patterns are the villain. And global warming creates the scenario for a far-fetched disaster plot.

16. Climate change is a bit more subtle

The problem with this ice age scenario is that even under the worst-case climate change scenarios, a global freeze would take years to develop—not mere days as depicted in the film. It’s true that the ocean has a special current like a “conveyor belt,” as accurately described in the film. And it is true that this current may stop if global warming gets out of hand. But again this would take decades or even a century to occur.

20th Century Fox

Look, we understand. A movie depicting its main characters waiting around for the temperature to slowly creep up one degree at a time would be lame. Instead it’s preferred that Jake Gyllenhaal is given an excuse to leap from a collapsing iceberg.

We often are asked to suspend our disbelief in more than just science fiction films. Fight scenes and dramatic car chases push limits of how the real world plays out.

17. Action movies also twist reality

Adventure films like those in the Indiana Jones series can get away with a lot, but some outlandish scenarios, such as one infamous scene in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, are almost unforgivable. The film, like others in the series, deals with an archaeologist adventurer. He doesn’t have superpowers, but he somehow becomes impervious to real-life dangers at a critical moment.

Lucasfilm

In the film, an atomic device is detonated. Indiana Jones takes shelter in a refrigerator, sparing his life in the process. The science community was much offended, with one member going to great lengths to debunk the myth. After all, we don’t want a generation growing up believing that their nuclear salvation is hiding where you store the Lunchables™.

18. Refrigerators as impromptu bomb shelters

Simply put, a metal box would disintegrate at worst and get shattered into bits and pieces at best. Either way, Indiana Jones would be toast. This scene famously coined the term “Nuking the Fridge.” It’s perfect for describing when a movie or TV show has broken the wall of disbelief, causing audiences of even the mildly scientific persuasion to collectively say okay, that’s just stupid

Sputnik International

Other action movie mistakes include tons of scenes where inertia and other natural forces are disregarded. One big offender is the Transformers series of films. We’re not saying that movies about alien robots that turn into cars are anywhere near being grounded in reality, but still.

19. Transformers and science cannot coexist

Movies like Transformers are intended to dazzle with spectacular action scenes. Robots battle in a big city, knocking down skyscrapers in their wake. Given the popularity of this franchise and subsequent sequels, it’s no secret that everyone is in love with giant robots turning the world into a childish playground of destruction and explosions. 

Paramount Pictures

The problem with Transformers and other over-the-top action films is how they show humans falling from great heights only to be rescued at the last minute by a hero, ship, or robot. These films rely on the thrill of urban chaos and disasters, so characters often plummet from tall buildings and other high places. 

20. Action movie physics fails are common

Imagine falling off of a building. You’d be traveling at terminal velocity, which for an average adult male is 120 mph. Imagine driving a car that speed, then getting scooped up by a giant robot’s hand. It’d be the same as crashing into a metal wall. Even if Superman or Iron-Man or some other superhero swooped in an plucked you out of the sky, it’d be like slamming into another person at the same speed.

Paramount Pictures

The Transformers universe also suggests that the robots are able to Transform by manipulating the chemical composition of their metal bodies using their some sort of sentient life force. But this goes against every law of physics and thermodynamics.

Some movies are beloved but entirely questionable. The Matrix is a unique, mind-bending entry in the science fiction genre. But poke away a bit at its science, and all that’s left is the fiction.

21. The entire premise is flawed

In The Matrix, we learn that machines revolted and enslaved humankind. Incredibly complex robot technology is coming on strong lately, and since the days of Terminator, we’ve entertained the thought of a day when the robots take over. While this is not impossible—and according to many critics of AI, entirely likely—the problems of the film are more basic.

Warner Brothers

The robots and artificial intelligence villains in The Matrix lock up humans to use them as a power source. This plot point is where science and fiction clash. Morpheus famously tells Neo that humans are nothing more than just power cells for charging up the charred Earth, allowing the Matrix program to function. 

22. Humans cannot power the world

As biological batteries, humans are not very efficient. The amount of power generated by a human would be insignificant and likely not enough to power the necessary life-support systems for the scenario. Some have said that the battery concept is a falsehood told to the humans by the machines, though. But that’s a bad take, because why would the robots keep the humans around at all at that point?

Warner Brothers

There certainly are other films that deal with human biology and bend the rules to make things play out with more excitement in theaters. Superhero movies are, of course, fictional. And while we have to use our imagination to enjoy these films, some just get the basic science wrong.

23. Super hero movies flirt with scientific reality

One example is the X-Men series of films. Much like climate disaster movies, these films show a greatly accelerated version of natural phenomena. Superhero mutants would be a fun concept if true: humans in the movie sprout incredible wings with just a simple genetic mutation. Instead, real human evolution is working on the elimination of the pinky toe, as if that’s exciting.

Fox Pictures

But the evolution experienced in X-Men is far too disparate and fast. Under the theory of evolution, individuals do not evolve. Species do. Groups of humans will adapt to their environment better with changes in endurance, circulatory health, or other traits dependent on our surroundings, cultivated slowly over time. 

24. Evolution is not as rapid-rire as in X-Men

In the X-Men universe, then, it’d be more scientifically accurate for a group of people to grow claws in their hands or develop telekinesis. And the process would take thousands of years to take place, with several stops in-between. Genetic mutations can occur at random, but its the group’s adaptability that allows them to spread their new trait. 

Fox Piictures

Could we start sprouting wings or fangs or develop laser vision? Eons from now, perhaps. Although then we wouldn’t be human anymore necessarily, but an entirely different species.

That’s not to say all of the Marvel universe is entirely unscientific. Sure, Tony Stark’s Iron-Man suit uses an improbable power source, and the Hulk’s invincibility makes no sense, but some of the concepts are grounded.

25. Marvel comes close to scientific reality

Take Ant-Man, for example. The idea of a person shrinking to become powerful seems silly at first. We can all just step on an ant if it ever posed a genuine threat. Similar to the Transformers of shape-shifting matter being wildly fictional, sci-fi stories have often revolved around making people shrink (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) or making people huge (Honey, I Blew Up the Kid).

Marvel

Quantum physics actually validates Ant-Man’s powers, though, and the movie’s production crew included a scientific consultant to advise on which effects might be somewhat feasible in the realm of scientific possibility. When super concentrated, mass becomes exponential. So on a quantum level, Ant-Man would be stronger than Superman.

26. Ant-Man has some flaws

However, there is a significant flaw that relates to this power. Ant-Man’s concentrated mass would see him plummet through the floor and ground below him due to his weight. A scientist calculated the concentrated mass if a 160-pound man shrunk to ant size, and the result was on the scale of a white-dwarf star. Ant-Man would shrink once, split the Earth in two and be lost in space or at the center of the planet.

Marvel

This film also at least attempts to explain another conundrum concerning the shrinking power: Ant-Man’s helmet has a mouthpiece that somehow allows the relatively large air molecules to be consumed properly by the superhero in his smaller form.

Another common movie misconception involves the power of the human mind. Some say we only use a small percentage of our brains. This has been repeatedly debunked.

27. Do humans really have untapped brain powers?

We use 100 percent of our brains, just different parts at different times. Those behind the 2014 sci-fi action flick Lucy persisted with the myth. In the film, a woman acting as a drug mule accidentally ingests a super drug that lets her tap into 100 percent of her brain power.

Letterboxd.com

With this hyperpower, Lucy can do all sorts of things beyond quick math tricks. She can make objects levitate, which seems like a big jump from using “10 percent” of the brain just to memorize grocery lists. The theme of harnessing extra brain function was even addressed in the movie Limitless.

28. Myths of Lucy

In reality, tapping into more brainpower would likely leave you in a catatonic state. Your neurological system regulates the use of certain parts of your brain so you don’t get overloaded. There’s more information we can’t access at every moment, but that’s a good thing: all synapses firing/misfiring at the same time would result in a dangerous seizure response. 

Universal Pictures

Many of the errors noted in this list were either big gaffes or the kind that probably should be ignored since the entire film is so unrealistic from the get-go. We enjoy these movies because they are admitted fantasies.

But films that purportedly pride themselves on their accuracy can sometimes get a small detail wrong that drives a scientist batty.

29. Some film science errors are subtle

Take, for instance, Titanic. This iconic movie is based on real events. There are many controversies about the film—such as whether or not Jack could fit on that piece of floating wood—but noted astrophysicist and avid movie buff Neil Degrasse Tyson had an entirely different criticism.

Paramount Pictures

The starry sky perched above the Titanic as it sunk was part of a movie set. The actors and the set pieces were all safely inside a massive water-filled building. When Rose looks up at the night sky, we see a view of the constellations from her perspective that most of us wouldn’t think twice about. 

30. Titanic phoned in its nighttime sky sets

This view of the sky was inaccurate, it appears. The error jumped out to Tyson who saw a mirror-like pattern. The image of half of the night sky was doubled, with a center line running down the middle of the screen. Not only that, it wasn’t an accurate portrayal of how the constellations would appear from the location of the Titanic at the time. 

Virtual Crate

James Cameron actually heard of Tyson’s gripe regarding this astronomical error. When future home DVD and digital releases of Titanic were slated to go on sale, Cameron ordered that the sky in this scene be accurately portrayed in post editing. Score another one for the scientists.

At the movies, we are probably not supposed to overthink these things. Entertainment is the goal, not scientific education. But sorry, not sorry, Hollywood. The science-minded will always be here to nitpick.