Is it okay for films and TV to blatantly disregard science for the sake of a story?

Discuss the pros and cons of a work showing disregard for a well-known or basic scientific fact. The most notorious offender is Michael Bay’s "Armageddon", in which an asteroid can supposedly be split apart and sent flying by anything less than 100 billion megatons of TNT. More recently, Luc Besson’s "Lucy" centers on the false premise that humans only use 10% of our brains.

  • To start off fairly pedantically, there are, of course, several genres that negate/change/disregard the rules of science. There's obviously sci-fi, but you've got things like horror and it's sub-genres, fantasy, superhero/comic book films, films that exploit magic realism (inluding black magic realism films like Trainspotting). From a writing perspective you'll have to be careful of that and pedants, like myself, nitpicking at that specific point. But in other films I believe it depends on what type of film it is. If it is trying to be authentic/realistic it should stick to scientific facts and rules. However the main objective of a film should be to entertain, if that means science should suffer a little because of this I, for one, have no qualms with that. – Jamie 9 years ago
  • To be quite honest, society wouldn't be where it is today if authors and artist didn't write about or create things that "defied science." These are entertainment mediums, and are not presented in a way that is meant to be factual. The only area I see this being a problem would be if something was presented as scientific fact, like in a documentary capacity. For the most part it has to be okay for authors and creators to write and create without regards for natural law. – G Anderson Lake 9 years ago
  • It depends in what way science is defied. Armageddon doesn't defy science as much as it simply proposes a way to get rid of an Asteroid. Jurassic World does the same. But defying an established fact, like having a human fly without any explanation as to how he is defying gravity doesn't work well. – SpectreWriter 9 years ago
  • A little bending of the facts of science is alright as long as you know how to pull it off and how large a fact it is your bending. It's alright to disregard reality sometimes, as literature and entertainment would be quite boring if they were entirely realistic, but when your story is completely based on something completely scientifically false, like in "Lucy", it becomes a much harder task to write a compelling story as it is becomes more difficult to relate to the characters and plot with such an astounding lack of foundation in realism. There comes a point where even suspension of disbelief isn't enough to save a story. – dreamingair 9 years ago
  • It is more important to train people/audiences to recognize what falls into the realm of fiction and how it (fiction) can often take licenses that should not be taken seriously. – T. Palomino 2 years ago

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