This week’s Ask a ScienceBlogger is right up my alley:
What movie do you think does something admirable (though not necessarily accurate) regarding science? Bonus points for answering whether the chosen movie is any good generally….
A bunch of my co-bloggers have weighed in already, and it’s hard not to duplicate thier choices, so I won’t even try. (Unoriginal answers below the fold…)
There are a bunch of different ways to take this question, so I’ll suggest a few different movies.
The most fun of any of the science-based movies I can think of would be Real Genius. The actual science content is complete crap, but no other movie captures the sheer exuberant joy of nerd-dom. Val Kilmer alternates between deadpan and manic, the villainous professor is entertainingly smarmy, and the geeks inherit the earth. And, hey, lasers!
If you prefer serious movies, I’d probably go with Apollo 13. Yeah, fine, it’s more engineering than science, but there’s no “Ask an EngineeringBlogger,” so I’m claiming it for Science. And anyway, the important thing is that the real heroes of the film are the guys with the pocket protectors who work out how to get the capsule back to Earth safely.
In a similar vein, there’s also October Sky, about a bunch of kids in a West Virginia coal-mining town who take up rocketry after Sputnik. As with Real Genius, there’s some great “joy of nerd-dom” stuff, and as with Apollo 13, it’s based on a true story, which is a ncie bonus.
The other classic category of science stories would be the disaster/dystopia movie, where science is portrayed as threatening, or at least ambiguous. The problem with this category is that the vast majority of such movies are really, really stupid. Probably the best of the lot (that I’ve seen, anyway) would be Gattaca, which does a nice triumph-of-the-human-spirit thing in a world ruled by genetic screening.
I’m sure I’m forgetting something obvious, though… Remind me in the comments.