Watching and enjoying films always comes with a certain degree of the suspension of disbelief. On an obvious level, there's fantasical elements like alien invasions, high-profile conspiracy, or basic magical formulae. But to look at things in a more subtle light, real life is unlikely to bring about such specific events will occur in such a specific order that fantastical outcomes prevail. That applies to your Wonka's golden tickets, your Bruce Almighty "chosen by God for the meme," or the intricate planning that brought about the Murder on the Orient Express.
As an audience, we can get on board with all of these phenomena quite easily, as long as everything is logical. Sadly, sometimes a film takes a step outside its self-contained boundaries that we start to have issues. As soon as you have to ask, "Wait, why did that happen?" or, "Shouldn't they have just done xyz?" you're in trouble. And if a plot couldn't progress without a specific McGuffin, chances are there'll be some quizzical looks on the faces of viewers.
Maybe it's time we had a look at some movie moments that had us scratching our heads at plot curiousities or, worse still, table-flipping at the downright idiocy of those on screen characters.
10. Gravity - You Can't Name Your Film After A Law Of Physics Only To Defy It
Sci-fi films usually are the best films for smudging reality a little bit. Would Tony Stark really be able to synthesise a new element in his basement with some PVC pipes, as he does in Iron Man 2? Nope. Can the Men in Black really wipe your memory with a little blinky light? Probably not. But as long as it all fits into the internal logic of the movie, the filmmakers really do have quite a bit of free reign.
Sci-fi films grounded in some sort of realism, though - they can be a bit tricky. Take the 2013 space thriller Gravity for instance. Hyperrealistic graphics and real world settings (or maybe real space setting to be more accurate) made Sandra Bullock and George Clooney's space-walk-gone-wrong all the more captivating. Space is super dangerous, and Gravity encapsulated the horrors of very possible events should those flimsy space stations encounter a problem. But there's something else that those astronauts don't want you to know, and it's that space can be kind of mundane.
Sure, seeing the rotation of the Earth might be cool, but have you ever looked into how pooping works up there? Without gravity, it's... messy. And I'm sure floating around weightlessly gets old once you've strapped yourself into bed a couple of times.
To counteract the ultimate banality of daily life in space, Gravity had to spice things up with the aforementioned horrific space-debris related accident that sees our two main characters Dr Stone and Lieutenant Kawolski almost jettisoned into space. During a space walk where the two are working on the Hubble Telescope, debris crashes into them and destroys their shuttle. Now, they have to make it across a considerable amount of space to a space station (first the ISS, then the Chinese Tiangong station) in order to have any chance at survival.
In the middle of this treacherous expedition, calamity ensues and Stone and Kawolski end up tumbling through the vacuum. Stone gets caught on some cables coming from a defunct parachute, and manages to grab Kawolski as he nearly flies straight past. But the ropes won't hold them both! And so, we say goodbye to George Clooney as he valiantly sacrifices himself so that Sandra Bullock might have a chance at making it back to Earth.
Is this scene dramatic? Yes. Is it a heartbreaking display of selflessness? Absolutely. Could Kawolski have been very easily saved, if either had even a rudimentary understanding of the laws of motion? Unfortunately, this is the case. With no gravity, comes no momentum. Gently pulling on the rope would have been enough to nudge Clooney back in the right direction, instead of letting him continue to drift away into the abyss. It's such a fundamental misunderstanding of physics that it's even annoyed Neil deGrasse Tyson.
I'm not saying we need to have all out 100% accurate portrayals of space exploration - no one needs to see their pooping situation on the big screen. But maybe a little more consultation with some clever science people might mean fewer misconceptions about space. Like, you know, that there are people whizzing about the stratosphere and running out of oxygen.