Scientific accuracies in Sci-fi movies

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (2020) is said to employ many physics theories. Compared with historical drama films, sci-fi movies tend to receive less attention on accuracy – critics and viewers alike often note historical inaccuracies in Braveheart (1995) or Gladiator (2000), but much less so do we discuss scientific inaccuracies. We all know movies to a certain extent are worlds of make-believe, but why such difference? Is it because history and most films are narratives but scientific concepts and theories are not?

  • I think scientific inaccuracies have been discussed in YouTube videos. I think that a simple examination of scientific inaccuracies in science fiction movies would suffice. If anyone had one particular one in mind, that’s fine too. – J.D. Jankowski 2 months ago
  • I agree that scientific in/accuracies are discussed over YouTube videos, but my question is why is there a bigger general disregard than accuracies in historical dramas. – KM 2 months ago
  • Interesting topic. I would wager that it has a lot to do with history being significantly more accessible to laymen than the hard sciences typically are. Anyone who's done as little "research" as skimming William Wallace's Wikipedia page can boast a relatively firm grasp on the inaccuracies plaguing Braveheart, but the same can rarely be said about doing minimal research on quantum mechanics to know if/where Tenet errs. In light of the average spectator's inability to recognize scientific inaccuracies, they'd likely have an easier time taking the film's claims at face value. Neil deGrasse Tyson owes much of his early reputation as a public intellectual to some series of tweets he made about the inaccuracies in various science fiction films; it's noteworthy that the one-two punch of his scientific credentials paired with the easily consumable quips (in 280 characters or less) made the flaws comprehensible enough for a largely scientifically illiterate general audience to suddenly feel intellectually superior to Hollywood screenwriters. – ProtoCanon 2 months ago
  • Great topic, but I have to quibble with the idea that science doesn't rely on narrative. I'm pretty sure it does, in fact. Natural selection and global warming seem to me like good examples of scientifically-grounded narrative. Scientists can complete small, controlled experiments or analyze big data for years, but in the end their findings -- if those findings are to have any larger significance -- have to be related through narrative and ultimately woven into the much larger narrative of what we call "science." – JamesBKelley 1 month ago

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