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Here at Cracked we hold our heroes to a higher standard than most. Especially our fictional heroes because, well, they have the freaking advantage of being fictional. Yet, so, so many of them still manage to screw it up.

For instance, look at some of the most brilliant scientists in movie history and you find a bunch of guys who should never have been allowed near a Bunsen burner. Like:

Tony Stark from Iron Man

Why He's A Genius:

Tony Stark built a killer battle suit, which was badass and all. But then Jeff Bridges found the prototype and built a bigger, far more awesome suit. As a general rule, when you get out-scienced by the guy who played The Dude in The Big Lebowski, you'd better have something else up your sleeve.

Preparing to activate his White Russian arm cannons.

Stark's ticket to movie science credibility was actually located in his chest: A tiny, stable, almost limitless energy source. So powerful it can do the job of massive generators and jet engines simultaneously, and can go years without refueling. So simple it could be slapped together out of spare parts by two guys in a cave.

It's the miniature arc reactor, a device that by all rights should've revolutionized the world. Give the man a Nobel Prize!

Why He Should Not Have Been Allowed To Do Science:

The more you look at Tony Stark, the more you realize he developed the mini arc reactor only to play God, or at least a shitfaced version of Shaquille O'Neal's Steel.

We'd so pay to see that movie.

Case in point: After first discovering this world changing energy source, he makes exactly one more arc reactor, and uses it to power his pizza-colored murder suit. He doesn't make any demonstration models for his company. Hell, he doesn't even draw up any blueprints. In fact, he's so damn Howard Hughes about the whole operation, that he instructs Pepper Potts to destroy the original model, rather than turn it over to his company's engineers to mass produce and solve all of the world's resource problems forever.

Wait a second. Who throws away the only backup power source for the machine that's keeping him from having a heart attack?

Comic books have a name for brilliant scientists with nearly debilitating Messiah complexes. They're called supervillains.

Dr. Henry Wu from Jurassic Park

In Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs weren't resurrected by the rich old guy (he was just the CEO), Samuel L. Jackson or even the mailman from Seinfeld. No, Dr. Wu, the guy responsible for all those scene-stealing sauropods, only got a measly 10 minutes of screen time. Ouch.

Why He's A Genius:

Dr. Wu fulfilled every child's dream of seeing a real live Triceratops. He also fulfilled every Internet denizen's dream of watching two lesbian T-Rexes bumping uglies in an orgiastic fury.


Why He Should Not Have Been Allowed To Do Science:

Wait, lesbian T-Rexes? Yeah, remember, Dr. Wu bred all the dinosaurs as females to prevent any prehistoric hanky-panky. He also spliced the dinosaur DNA with frog DNA. Sounds fine, except that after discovering hatched dinosaur eggs in the wild, it took Allen Grant five seconds to figure out that certain species of frog can spontaneously change sex in the absence of a mate.

And Dr. Grant was just a paleontologist--his job was to dig up dino bones. The man was a frog gene novice. How in the hell did this eensy-weensy detail elude Dr. Wu, who spent his career reverse engineering all those 65-million-year-old killing machines?

Perhaps he was distracted by his own handsomeness.

But the frog DNA flub is just the slack-jawed tip Dr. Wu's mentally retarded iceberg. No, his most unforgivable fuck-up was to breed Velociraptors.

Raising intelligent, sickle-toed murder-lizards for a children's theme park would give even the most bastardly supervillain pause. Remember, no one had ever heard of Velociraptors before the release of Jurassic Park, so unlike the carnivorous T-Rex, there was no money in breeding them.

So why the hell did Dr. Wu need Velociraptors? The only logical explanation is that he needed extra contestants for a little pastime we at the Cracked offices like to call "Lasersaurus Battle Derby."

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Dr. Otto Octavius from Spiderman 2

Note that we're not criticizing Dr. Octavius for becoming the supervillain Doc Ock later. That was his own choice and we respect that. No, we're talking about before, when he was a scientist yet somehow quite a bit more dangerous to the world than when he took up supervillaining.

Why He's A Genius:

Dr. Octavius devised a renewable fusion energy source from the radioactive isotope Tritium. Despite the immense power generated by this reaction, the only safety gear required was a set of off-gray pajamas...

...and four metal tentacles partially controlled by the Doc's brain, and partially having minds of their own.

Why He Should Not Have Been Allowed To Do Science:

Quick question: What do the New Mexican desert and the Soviet steppe have in common?

If you answered, "They're reasonably safe places to test nuclear devices," then bingo. If you inexplicably added "but a quaint prewar loft in the middle of Manhattan would also do nicely," then you're either Doctor Octopus or the world's evilest interior designer.

The gamma accelerator should always match the drapes.

Let's put it this way: As of the last U.S. census, New York City had perhaps 26,000 people per square mile. A nuke's effective radius is about six miles. By our rough comedy article math, approximately 2.9 million people would be instantly obliterated if the good doctor paused to scratch his ass.

Mind you, this figure doesn't even account for those millions in the outlying area sickened by radiation or horrifically mutated by fallout. On the plus side, New Jerseyans would barely notice, as they're used to living in a miasma of toxic crap.

Ah, another spring morning in Hoboken.

What's even stranger is that of all of the guests and press present for his experiment, no one suggested moving it to Los Alamos instead of conducting an unstable, free-floating nuclear reaction in what was basically a Pottery Barn showroom. Even Peter Parker--the guy whose alter-ego is supposed to protect the city--didn't say a damn thing. He could've ended the movie right there and saved us an hour of staring at Alfred Molina's man-boobs.

But the most damning thing is that when his "evil" robotic arms take over (turning him into Doc Ock) and subsequently recreate the Tritium reaction at the film's climax, even they had enough sense to move the freaking experiment to an abandoned wharf away from from a heavily populated area.

When your criminally insane prosthetics displayed a greater concern for human life than you, you are a shitty scientist.

Dr. Lawrence Angelo from The Lawnmower Man

Why He's A Genius:

Dr. Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) invented Project 5, a virtual-reality program that transforms its users into telekinetic gods. Unfortunately, godhood isn't all that it's cracked up to be, since you end up looking like Max Headroom on angel dust.

Not that this would hinder your chances of getting laid. The film's portrayals of VR sex are so disturbing that a man's penis would invert itself.

Why He Should Not Have Been Allowed To Do Science:

The film opens with the good doctor unsuccessfully testing Project 5 on chimps. After failing to create psychic ape-messiahs, Dr. Angelo recruits Jobe (a.k.a. Frank Lapidus on Lost), the titular, mentally retarded groundskeeper, to test Project 5.

"My experiment will make you smarter..."

And when we say "Dr. Angelo recruits Jobe," we actually mean "Dr. Angelo hops the unwitting schmo up on IQ-boosting video games and smart drugs for laughs."

"...or an episode of ReBoot directed by David Cronenberg."

Dr. Angelo had good intentions but a miserable grasp of scientific ethics. The ability to read at a middle-school level would be mind-blowing enough for Jobe, but giving him the ability to blow up a middle school with his mind? Please. We'd be better off with the chimps. The worst they'd do is transmogrify reality into a giant banana.

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Dr. Herbert West from Re-Animator

Why He's A Genius:

Dr. West concocted the Re-Agent, a serum that resurrects the dead as mindless zombies. At first, the Re-Agent sounds like a truly awful idea. But think about it: Zombies are tireless, have no use for money and have crossed the unknowable chasm between life and death. In sum: They're the ultimate migrant laborers.

Sure, people would probably protest that these undead abominations are taking jobs away from living Americans, but that's simply because they don't have a zombie butler yet.

Why He Should Not Have Been Allowed To Do Science:

The Re-Agent raises some profound ethical questions, such as "Where's the dignity in dying if your rotting corpse is forced to work at Arby's?"

Regardless of a societally suitable answer (frankly, we'd only settle for nothing less than In-N-Out), Dr. West said, "Screw that noise!" and tested his serum in secret. This meant sneaking into morgues, reanimating disgruntled zombies and then reanimating any poor bastard unlucky enough to wander into the undead's path.

Needless to say, West racks up a sizable body count by the film's end. Had he just told someone what the fuck he invented, we're sure the N.I.H. would've provided him with a dump truck full of overripe old folks to un-birth. The movie would then be exactly like Cocoon if all the senior citizens ate each other.

Heck, West could've held a press conference to demonstrate the Re-Agent. Sure, there's the chance one of his test subjects would strangle an audience member with its zombie intestines, but that's the kind of stuff that gets your driveway paved in Nobel Prizes.

The Ghostbusters

Why They're Geniuses:

For those two readers who have never seen Ghostbusters: drive to your nearest mall and buy it. Now. Drive in the left lane if it's quicker. And don't worry about fatalities, the cops will understand. They've seen Ghostbusters.

For the rest of humanity: In no time and for little cost, they slapped together the Psycho-Kinetic Energy Meter, the Proton Packs, ghost-capturing technology and had the foresight to buy up cheap downtown New York real estate during the pre-Giuliani years.

14 North Moore Street. Google Map it.

Why They Should Not Have Been Allowed To Do Science:

When faced with irrefutable proof of mankind's ultimate question--the existence of ghosts and thus life after death and the soul--the Ghostbusters did what absolutely no ethical scientist would do: declare war on the spirits and imprison them in tiny boxes.

The theological and philosophical ramifications of an afterlife? Poppycock. The fact that most apparitions are just looking for earthly closure? Bosh. What about the possibility of reconnecting with dead loved ones? Screw that noise! Treat those bastards like we're exterminators and they're a roach infestation!

So let's just that say that if Grandpa Jim materializes in your home, DON'T call the Ghostbusters. Otherwise Peter Venkman will show up stinking of Campari, bark a witticism to no one in particular and unceremoniously Proton Pack the shit out of your living room.

Once all your earthly possessions are charred and radioactive, Venkman will slap you with a $1,000 invoice and ship Gramps off to ghost jail, where he'll spend eternity getting buggered by poltergeists in a firehouse basement.

And about those Proton Packs? These "unlicensed nuclear accelerators" have a fairly important design flaw: If you cross the streams, you'll destroy the universe.

This means that, at any given moment, reality as we know it rests in the hands of three clumsy, out-of-shape scientists.

Say Venkman trips. End of the universe. Stantz sneezes. End of the universe. Egon prolapses. End of the universe.

Winston was not a scientist.

Holy crap, the dickless EPA guy was right!

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And check out some actually terrifying scientists, in 9 Real Life Mad Scientists. Or check out some people that are making science cool, in The 6 Most Badass Stunts Ever Pulled in the Name of Science.

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