TV shows for kids need not necessarily be only about fairy tales and animation shows. Most present-generation toddlers and teens love a sense of thrill – and that’s precisely why they so love to catch science fiction flicks on the tele. Movies like ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ and (for the slightly more courageous ones!) ‘Alien’ have become cult classics. On the flipside though, Hollywood has, over the years, churned out many sci-fi movies – where imagination has taken precedence over attention to details. If you wish your child to watch scientifically authentic movies, theses inaccurate sci-fi Hollywood flicks should not figure in your list of choices:
- Armageddon (1998) – Four Oscar nominations and plenty of box-office moolah notwithstanding, ‘Armageddon’ remains one of weakest sci-fi films ever. Even adventure-based mobile apps for kids won’t include the idea of blasting a single, violent asteroid with a nuclear bomb – the central plot of this film. According to NASA, Armageddon had nearly 170 other inaccuracies. Now, that’s something!
- Plan 9 From Outer Sapce (1959) – This Ed Wood monstrosity is a classic example that a category of ‘so bad that it’s good’ category of films indeed exists. In the movie, we meet an alien spaceship commander – who takes it upon himself to raise the undead on Earth and wreck havoc. For a horror movie, it was absurdly funny – and it was definitely not science fiction from any angle.
- Vanilla Sky (2001) – Many cite ‘Knight and Day’ (2008) as Tom Cruise’s biggest box-office bomb in recent times – but the immensely popular matinee idol had already starred in ‘Vanilla Sky’, a thoroughly improbable, wannabe sci-fi film. The few viewers who did see the movie were left wondering how the protagonist could be put in a cryonic sleep for 150 years, while his neurons could freely roam about. Star-power (it had Cameron Diaz too) saved ‘Vanilla Sky’ from the big-time flop it deserved to be.
- The Matrix (1999) – The trilogy made Keanu Reeves a sought-after star, and the cool action sequences (the bullet-dodgings, remember?) set the bar for special effects in movies worldwide. Many mobile games and iPhone apps for kids also had activities based on the Matrix virtual world. However, the basic premise of the film is flawed – human beings cannot be harnessed for that ridiculously large amount of energy. Style over substance would be just the right way to describe this flick.
- Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977) – Letting your li’l son/daughter watch a movie about a ghostly bed might give him/her sleepless nights – and you should steer clear of this one too. Horror and science-fiction meet in a laughably bad way in ‘Death Bed’ – where a cursed bed of a demon simply bumps off anyone who lies down on it!
- I Am Legend (2007) – So, the Earth has been infested with an all-conquering virus – turning humans into blood-sucking beings. God (and the filmmakers!) have been wise enough though, to send along a virologist – who is immune to the virus, and can create an effective antidote. But, wait a second! Shouldn’t the virologist have to be infected in the first place, to be able to develop antibodies? The movie was super-successful though, and even spawned a ho-hum sequel.
- Outbreak (1995) – The happy animated animals present in most popular mobile storytelling apps for kids are nothing close to the evil, virus-spewing monkeys in this medical disaster film. Probably to highlight the seriousness of the spreading epidemic, director Wolfgang Peterson showed that the virus killed infected people almost instantly. One question though – if the victims did not get the time to contaminate others, how was the virus spreading?
- 2012 (2009) – Global warming is a phenomenon based on facts. The hogwash that formed the storyline of this sci-fi movie isn’t. Granted that the sun is indeed causing the glaciers to melt at an alarming rate – it is impossible for the amount of water to be released, as it is shown in the movie. Reviews, understandably, were mixed to negative – but the makers did manage to laugh their way to the bank.
- Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964) – So, Mars has living beings on it, the inhabitants of the planet watch television (!), and the Martian parents are even worried about the ill-effects of the ‘idiot-box’ on their kids. If all this was not ludicrous enough, check this out – Santa Claus is kidnapped to provide the children on Mars clean, bright, wholesome entertainment. There is no ‘science’ in this, and the ‘fiction’ portion is pretty bad too.
- The Core (2003) – If the Earth’s innermost core indeed stopped rotating someday, it would indeed be doomsday – but not in the way that this Hillary Swank-Aaron Eckhart movie suggests. Firstly, there is no mention of the tremendous (read: fatal) amounts of energy that would be released. Instead, what the viewers are informed is that microwave radiations and the planet’s magnetism are somehow related (which is not true). An interesting watch, but not if you are a stickler for scientific accuracy.
- The Day After Tomorrow (2004) – Rotten tomatoes, arguably the most referred to aggregate movie review site, referred to ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ as a ludicrous popcorn flick’ – and it was not far off the mark. It is, by no stretch of the imagination, possible for the air from the stratosphere to be cold enough to literally freeze human beings. Changes in weather conditions cannot be glossed over, but this was stretching the premise too far.
- Independence Day (1996) – Even in the present age of sophisticated video games and interactive iPhone gaming apps for kids, children love watching re-runs of this Roland Emmerich disaster classic. While the film gets full marks for special effects and presentation, the lack of attention to scientific details is glaring in it. In Independence Day, people panic on seeing a mammoth alien spaceship (complete with aliens and their guns) hovering on the sky. Such a huge spaceship would obviously have an enormous gravitational effect – setting off a series of earthquakes and tidal floods. Humans won’t need to be afraid – they would probably already be dead by drowning!
- The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1959) – It would have been great if the grey cells of all the brilliant innovators and literary geniuses of the world could be preserved. However, it’s as yet not possible – and it won’t be a good idea either, if the concept shown in this 1959 howler turns out to be true. The wife of a mad scientist has a fatal accident in the film, loses her body, but her brain remains intact. How exactly this miracle occurred remained unexplained, and most viewers found the flick unintentionally funny.
- The Black Hole (1979) – Dr. Alex Durrant and Captain Dan Holland’s spaceship mistakenly strays into a black hole of the universe – where everything is blasted to smithereens. So, do the crew members of this ship also die a violent death? Nothing of the sort – they only have some psychedelic visions, before walking out of the disaster zone – all in one piece!
- Starship Troopers (1997) – The idea of insects getting mutated to abnormally large sizes can still be accepted, but can they really become intelligent enough to launch a planned attack on Buenos Aires? Anyone with an iota of scientific knowledge would not think so – and the idea of insects accurately aiming rocks at the landmass area of the city is truly outlandish. The movie was a major success though, and all the scientific bloopers were overlooked by most.
Robot Monster (1953) is yet another horror-meets-science fiction movie that you can give a miss. Total Recall (1990) – an otherwise enjoyable film – totally ignored the fact that Mars’ gravitational force was way less than that of Earth. Most of the films mentioned in this list are not bad as one-time watches – but there is not much in the way of scientific accuracy in any of them!
Source by Ross Smythe