But of course, that’s hardly an exhaustive list. Let me tell you a bit more about the kinds of scientific inaccuracies I’ve noted in Hollywood films–this by way of leading up to an ultimate question.
Hurricanes vs Tornadoes. The two meteorological phenomena are pretty dang different. One occurs over ocean, after all, and the other over land. One could fit in the eye of the other. Nevertheless, they’re constantly, carelessly confused. Films that I’ve seen which do this include 16 Blocks (where the Mos Def character repeatedly gives an idiotic speech that confuses them) and Next (in which a TV newscaster refers to a hurricane’s strength by using the Fujita scale, which of course measures tornadoes).
Instantaneous Evolution of Magical Powers. I can’t tell you how many movies use evolution and mutation as a justification for all manner of absurdities, from X-Men to Spider Man to trash like The Cave–in which human beings transform into giant batlike monsters just by being trapped underground. Um, it doesn’t happen that way. Not ever.
Now, is this stuff a huge deal? Not really, no. It’s not something to get angry about. It’s just entertainment.
But on the other hand, given the massive budgets of some of these films, don’t you think somebody could have paid a consultant to check on a few facts? And for that matter, don’t you think somebody might have hired screenwriters with a bit more creativity, who could actually deliver a good story that’s consistent with scientific knowledge and still entertaining? (It’s hardly impossible to do.)
That this doesn’t happen at all suggests there’s something fundamental going on here. I suspect those on the entertainment side of the fence simply don’t care about the details–they care about the story, period. And I’m damn sure that those on the business side of the industry don’t care.
But still…I’m surprised by how prevalent this kind of dumbness is–and how unnecessary. So what do people think: Is there any deeper way of explaining it?