11 Wildly Inaccurate Movie Science Tropes

Never let the facts ruin a good story.


Yeah yeah, we get it, movies are supposed to be an entertaining bit of escapism. If they were exactly like real life then what would be the point in going to see them?

All very valid, but it doesn't mean that we're not allowed to be equal parts smug and outraged at the travesty that is scientific accuracy in Hollywood.

There are some things that we can reasonably suspend disbelief for, but when sci-fi directors start firing nuclear weapons into the sun to "restart" it (looking at you, Sunshine) it becomes perfectly reasonable to start throwing handfuls of popcorn at the screen.

Whilst it's obviously unfair to expect filmmakers to all get PhDs in astrophysics before shooting a good old space romp, there are some tropes out there that have been so thoroughly overdone that it's beginning to look a bit like laziness. If we have to sit through one more dramatic climax that involves just nuking the baddies, regardless of the proximity to an innocent population, then we might start throwing things heavier than popcorn.

Everybody knows by now that that spaceships don't go "whoosh", silencers don't actually silence, and neutrinos most certainly don't mutate, but try telling that to a director with a "vision".

11. Dodge And Roll


Dogfights in outer space are always exciting stuff. Those pilots have got to have super sharp reflexes and nerves of steel to be able to dodge the (admittedly inaccurate) incoming lasers like that.

Except they don't. 

The common movie scene of space battles, with the little ships swooping around like futuristic fighter planes, is sadly just not how it works.

To be fair, we can see why they do this one. It's because the reality is inescapably lame.

Things don't fly the same way they do in space. Without an atmosphere to provide resistance and lift, it just doesn't make any sense for spaceships to "bank" when they turn. 

The way you change direction in the vacuum of space is by firing a thruster in the opposite direction to where you want to go. This produces a motion more akin to Space Invaders than Star Wars and is a world away from the slick manoeuvrability that we're used to seeing both on screen and off it.

On second thoughts, maybe they can keep this one.


Writer. Raconteur. Gardeners' World Enthusiast.