11 Sci-Fi Movies That Got Science Completely Wrong

Some of (science) fiction's most glaring mistakes.

Armageddon We Won't Always Have Paris
Touchstone Pictures

Science fiction is a tricky genre.

By its very nature, it's contradictory: mixing science with fiction is hard enough to do, and the resulting juxtaposition is likely what attracts so many of us to the otherworldly and fantastical stories of interplanetary travel, exotic aliens and the dangers of technological advancements.

While many of the biggest sci-fi blockbusters often employ scientists as consultants to lend a little credence to their scientific elements, that doesn't mean that the experts' advice is always followed.

The results are often small, throwaway inaccuracies that don't take much from the movie in general, but there are a number of occasions where science was asked to step outside so that the story might move itself forward.

The worst offenders are those movies whose entire plot revolves around a piece of particularly flimsy science. But there are also tropes that have become so commonplace in movies that audiences have come to believe them as fact. After all, why would the movies lie to us?

While many of these entries certainly made their respective movies vastly more interesting, that doesn't excuse the fact that we've been sold nonsense dressed as scientific fact.

11. Total Recall – Exploding Humans

Armageddon We Won't Always Have Paris
TriStar Pictures

Total Recall is a sci-fi classic. Set on Mars in the late 21st century, it tells the story of Douglas Quaid as he finds himself caught up in an ordeal that may or may not be the result of synthetic memory implants.

Towards the movie's climax, antagonist Vilos Cohaagen is ejected to the surface of Mars where he dies a grisly, cartoonish death by decompression.

His body bloats dramatically and threatens to explode, which is something that is often shown to happen when the human body is sent unprotected into the vacuum of space.

Well, that's something that sci-fi has all wrong. While it might seem more dramatic that way, in reality, the most horrific aspects of decompression would be frostbite around the eyes, nose and mouth, and your blood pressure would drop so low that your blood would literally begin to boil in your veins.

Total Recall isn't necessarily the worst offender for this, but it's become a common trope in sci-fi, owing in part to its dramatic (and untrue) depiction in the 1990 classic.


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