The best sci-fi movies emphasize the ‘science’ in science fiction, extrapolating real-world principles to their logical conclusion to create a believable vision of the future. Unfortunately, most films in the genre fall short of this ideal. Either for narrative convince or a lack of research, some Sci-Fi movies just aren’t all that tethered to the “science” part of the genre’s name.
Redditors recently got together on r/movies, the largest film subreddit, to discuss the Sci-Fi films with the worst science. These movies feature silly scientists, nonsensical physics, and plot developments that make absolutely no sense.
10 ‘Prometheus’ (2012)
This Alien spinoff follows a team of scientists and explorers who travel to a distant planet in search of the origins of human life. Along the way, they discover a terrifying threat that could endanger the entire human race. Visually stunning and thought-provoking, Prometheus eschews horror to instead explore themes such as creation, evolution, and the nature of humanity.
Nevertheless, some of its science is decidedly shaky. “Prometheus with all the scientists not having common sense. One example is from that scene where the biologist gets too close to the hammerpede even after it did its intimidation thing to basically tell him to back off, and the geologist who got himself and the biologist lost,” said user JeyDeeArr.
9 ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (2004)
This disaster movie tells the story of a sudden and catastrophic climatic event that triggers a new Ice Age and forces the world to face an apocalyptic scenario. As the world plunges into chaos, a climatologist (Dennis Quaid) and his son (Jake Gyllenhaal) embark on a dangerous journey to New York City to rescue his other son (Austin Nichols) and to try to survive the harsh conditions.
While it deserves kudos for being an early film about the perils of global warming, some Redditors took issue with a lot of the science. According to user kgunnar, the most ridiculous part was when some of the characters try “outrunning climate change on foot.”
8 ‘Moonfall’ (2022)
Two astronauts (played by Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson) team up with a conspiracy theorist (John Bradley) to investigate the true nature of the moon. Critically panned, Moonfall was one of 2022’s biggest box office bombs, grossing just $67m against a budget of more than $138m.
When it comes to shocking science, Moonfall is one of the worst offenders in recent years. “Moonfall is amazing. I doubled over laughing in the cinema,” said user NotMothMan9817. According to user Bender7777, the worst part is a scene where the main characters are “hiding from gravity in a barn.”
7 ‘The Core’ (2003)
The Core revolves around a team of scientists who embark on a dangerous mission to save the Earth from a catastrophic event caused by the planet’s core stopping its rotation. They travel to the center of the planet in a high-tech drilling machine, but various obstacles threaten this mission.
“Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still an entertaining movie with one of the most badass death scenes ever, but if you’re in it for the realism, then this is not what you’re looking for,” said the Redditor Snowbattt.
6 ‘Lucy’ (2014)
Scarlett Johansson is Lucy, a woman who is unwittingly caught in a dangerous drug deal and ends up being implanted with a synthetic drug that unlocks the full potential of her brain. As her mental capacity increases, Lucy becomes increasingly powerful and seeks revenge on those who wronged her.
It has its moments, but ultimately far falls short of director Luc Besson‘s best work, and also wastes the talents of Morgan Freeman. “The whole ‘10% of your brain’ BS just ruined the whole thing for me,” said user truckturner5164.
5 ‘Armageddon’ (1998)
In this Michael Bay flick, a team of oil drillers are sent by NASA to destroy an asteroid the size of Texas that is on a collision course with Earth. As they face They must navigate the dangers of space, as well as their own personal conflicts and emotional drama on Earth.
“Armageddon is used in NASA training as a ‘how many wrong scientific things can you find?’ exercise. I think the record so far has been just shy of 200,” said user ceallaig. “Pretty much everything in [the film] is nonsense,” said user MovieMike007.
4 ‘The Wandering Earth’ (2019)
This Chinese sci-fi takes place in a distant future in which the Sun is dying, and humanity must undertake a massive project to move the Earth out of the Solar System to a new home. Despite overwhelming odds, a group of brave individuals must work together to save the planet and ensure the survival of mankind.
“To save the Earth from being engulfed by an expanding sun they put engines on one side to move the Earth like a spaceship. I think there’s a sequel coming out this year. I’m just interested to see what crazy idea they’ll have to top the first one,” said user_RTan_”It’s still a somewhat enjoyable movie. I think it’s so far-fetched that my brain just moves it into a fantasy movie.”
3 ‘K-19: The Widowmaker’ (2002)
K-19: The Widowmaker is a historical drama directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson. It revolves around the Soviet Union’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the K-19, and its crew’s struggle to prevent a nuclear disaster. As the sub faces various technical problems, including a leak in the reactor coolant system, the crew must make difficult decisions to save their own lives and prevent a global catastrophe.
“They talk about how the core of the submarine will melt through the reactor and start a thermonuclear explosion since it’d set off the various warheads on board the submarine, but nuclear warheads, even back then, are specifically designed to explode under certain conditions and circumstances,” said user Yookie-Mookie. “There ultimately wouldn’t have been an explosion. The submarine would’ve just sunk to the bottom of the sea and the crew would drown.”
2 ‘Underwater’ (2020)
This sci-fi horror movie centers on a team of researchers who find themselves trapped and under attack by mysterious creatures after an earthquake destroys their underwater drilling station. As the survivors struggle to make their way to safety, they uncover a sinister conspiracy and must fight for their lives against the deadly beasts and the elements.
“They are like [five] MILES down. That’s something like 15,000 PSI. If there was a ‘leak’ it would be like an explosion. You would have 15,000 PSI instantly on you. There is no ‘running for a door’ etc. There is no ‘diving’ in that etc. It’s all BS,” said user ruat_caelum.
1 ‘Pacific Rim’ (2013)
This Guillermo del Toro monster mash takes place in the near future where humanity is under threat from giant monsters called Kaiju that emerge from a portal in the Pacific Ocean. To combat the Kaiju, humans build giant robots called Jaegers that require two pilots to operate. As the Kaiju attacks become more frequent and intense, a washed-up pilot and a trainee must team up to pilot a legendary but outdated Jaeger and save humanity from extinction.
“Weirdly the one that always get me, despite the whole movie having laughable science, is the scientist in Pacific Rim saying dinosaurs had two brains,” said the user SkullBearer “I am willing to suspend my disbelief this far to enjoy kaiju vs robot battle, but this is just gratuitous.”
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