Now reading: Hollywood physics: grading movies on scientific accuracy

Hollywood physics: grading movies on scientific accuracy

In space, no one can hear you nitpicking.

Time travel. Warp speed. Epic space battles in galaxies far, far away. If you can dream it, Hollywood can turn it into an escapist big-screen experience.

Sometimes filmmakers base plotlines and special effects on well-established science. Sometimes they’re even prescient, anticipating or inspiring later scientific and technological advances (remember when a videophone was the stuff of Jetsons-like fantasy?).

Other times, filmmakers take a bit (or a lot) of creative license with science, resulting in scenes or entire films that are considerably more “fi” than “sci.” We focused a scientific lens on some of our favourite films (and some duds) and graded them for accuracy.

What did we miss? Comment below, or tweet your favourite movie-science wins and fails to @Perimeter.

Watch a great MinutePhysics video explaining time dilation and the so-called twins paradox.

HowStuffWorks has a great explanation of how Faraday cages work.

angels and demons science

indiana jones science


2 Replies to “Hollywood physics: grading movies on scientific accuracy”

  1. This is awesome, more please!
    Also, having “Contact” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” in the list, requires an add on with “Arrival”. Would like to see a grade on that as well.

  2. I’m told that the Millennium Falcon now canonically contains an emergency hyperdrive that can be used for short hops to local systems. So someone at LucasArts took the trouble to patch up that hole in the story. Now, about all that sound in space…

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