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7 Movies That Ignored World Changing Discoveries

Writing movies is hard. We're guessing it is, anyway, because there seems to be a lot that can go wrong. For instance, occasionally in a movie the characters will wind up in a jam where they can be rescued only by some new science, device or technology. Then, once they're out of trouble, the tech is usually immediately forgotten.

The problem is, sometimes the device or technology itself should have been far more important than what the heroes were trying to accomplish in the movie. Consider ...

#7.
Spider-Man Has Gene-Splicing Spiders

Before teenager Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man, his class goes on a field trip to a genetics laboratory. A tour guide explains that they've genetically engineered 15 superpowered spiders. When one gets out and bites Peter, the venom rewrites his DNA to give him all sorts of weird spiderlike abilities. He stoically accepts the ramifications of being part-spider for the rest of his life.


"I have seen my future, and it involves a pian- oh what the fuck, Sam?"

Hang on a second ...

Uh, Peter, you don't think somebody needs to know about the spiders? You know, the fact that scientists have accidentally created something that can completely and irreversibly rewrite DNA with one bite? That would make them pretty much the most dangerous creatures on the planet. Think about it: At best, the results are unpredictable -- who's to say the next victim won't just turn into a deformed horror instead, or die -- but at worst, the bite victims will gain superpowers and maybe also become deranged or violent. These spiders could easily transform any person into a weapon of mass destruction.


Who wouldn't let this thing bite them?

And clearly the scientists didn't know the spiders could do it -- when Mary Jane pointed out that one had escaped, the lab didn't exactly go into lockdown.

No, only Peter knows, and he doesn't bother to tell anyone. And it's not out of ignorance; it's clear that Peter is some kind of science prodigy, so when he suddenly develops spider-powers immediately after being bitten by a genetically altered spider, it's unlikely he chalks it up to coincidence. It's not like he just developed a rash; a single spider bite rewired his genome. Yet the rest of the film is devoted to Peter's efforts to impress a girl.

You could say that Peter is afraid of getting turned into a human guinea pig or is afraid of divulging his secret identity. But nobody knows Peter got bitten; he can make the announcement as Spider-Man. He can write a letter to the lab on Spider-Man letterhead saying, "Guys, look at the venom of those spiders under a microscope. It's serious shit. And wear gloves when you handle them. Also, enjoy your Nobel Prize."


"For outstanding achievements in giving absolutely everyone superpowers."

#6.
Star Trek (2009 version) Has Eliminated the Need for Starships

After young Kirk gets marooned on an ice planet, he enlists the help of Spock Classic and young Scotty (who are there for no adequately explored reason) to teleport aboard the Enterprise.

Hang on a second ...

For about 40 years, smartasses have been saying, "If the transporters have the ability to teleport people from place to place, why do they need ships?" And, through every episode and every film since the 1960s, the show explained it away as the transporters having some basic limitations: namely that they have a relatively short range -- only 40,000 kilometers, max. Essentially, it's useful only for getting on and off the Enterprise without the producers having to acquire the kind of budget they would need to animate the ship actually landing.


Above: Roddenberry's gift to screenwriters.

Now, the 2009 film has a major plot point where Kirk needs to be teleported onto the Enterprise, but the Enterprise is moving at warp speed at the time. Scotty figures out a way to do it, and the movie celebrates this achievement as being the first time anyone has ever been transported to an object moving that fast. But that isn't the point.

The Enterprise is shooting off at Warp 3 just before Scotty and Kirk beam aboard. Warp 3, by the way, is 27 times the speed of light. Or 5 million miles a second. That means that by the time Kirk has finished saying, "I really liked you in Shaun of the Dead," the Enterprise would be out of the solar system. A distance Scotty has no trouble overcoming with his transporter.

So, uh, why do we need spaceships again?


For the same reason we need classic cars and the Beastie Boys.

The characters don't seem to realize that what Scotty has actually done for space travel here is what e-mail did for the envelope industry. Any means of transportation that has more than zero mass and moves slower than literally instantaneously has suddenly become obsolete. We're only halfway through the first film of a new Star Trek franchise, and already we don't need the Enterprise anymore. By the time Picard is born, spaceships will be a relic of an older era.


Basically, they'll be the Star Trek equivalent of Betamax.

#5.
Big Has a Machine That Grants Godlike Powers

After getting turned down by both the girl and the roller coaster of his dreams on account of his size, 13-year-old Josh Baskin finds a lame mechanical sideshow called the Zoltar machine, which promises to grant wishes. After wishing to be "big," the kid discovers that he is now multiple Academy Award-winner Tom Hanks.

This leads to a sequence of events that led us to write an entire other article on why the movie is so unintentionally disturbing.


Is Zoltar hinting at something?

Hang on a second ...

The whole "child in the body of an adult" plot is actually kind of its own genre since Freaky Friday set the bar. In the vast majority of these movies, the writers explain away the body-switching shenanigans as some kind of one-off magic trick of God that you're not supposed to think too much about.

But in Big, it's all because of this carnival machine. A machine that somebody built, deliberately, with the express and stated purpose of being able to grant wishes. It doesn't even try to hide that fact. It's an actual, concrete object with the reality-fucking powers of a genie, and it's just sitting there.


Thankfully, the smell of funnel cake provokes amnesia in small children.

So after the initial shock of Hanksification wears off, surely he puts two and two together, right? Well, actually, he forgets about the Zoltar machine altogether, shrugs his shoulders and decides to settle into his new life as an adult by getting a job to pay his bills. After all, shit happens. When life gives you Tom Hanks, you make Hanksinade.

The Zoltar machine doesn't even come back into the story until near the end, when Hanks decides he wants to be a normal kid again and suddenly remembers it exists. Of course, the most powerful device ever created is still just sitting there, waiting patiently for absolutely anyone to give a shit.

Considering that the entire plot of man-child Hanks' adventures as a toymaker rests upon the premise that his boundless imagination and childlike sense of wonder make him the perfect toy designer, it's downright bizarre that he never realizes the potential of a machine that can grant him literally anything he desires. Even when he finally tracks the Zoltar machine down, he just wishes to be small again without adding "with a working lightsaber" to the end of his request.


Making him unlike any other kid on the planet.

So, just to get this straight: There's a machine that grants multiple wishes exactly as you intend them, whose existence and powers have been verified by several people ... and everyone just ignores it. This thing could end world hunger or make you the richest man in the world. Instead, it's just going to get thrown out once the carnival acquires a Pepsi machine.

#4.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Introduces Terminators

In the middle of a movie about giant robots punching each other, it's easy to forget one scene not involving giant robots that, oh by the way, should have changed the entire fictional universe.

At one point, Alice, a sexy blonde with no personality who has been trying to get into Shia LaBeouf's pants for most of the movie, suddenly transforms into a marauding killbot. Megan Fox kills it in order to give her something to do in this film, and everyone forgets about the whole "making out with a robot" thing, probably by mutual consent.


Who doesn't love this charming hunk of orange peels and Brillo pads?

Hang on a second ...

Michael Bay is too busy trying to wedge more explosions into the film at this point to notice that this just became an entirely different kind of movie, because holy shit the robots can look like us now.

Seriously. Fuck everything else. Up until this point, the Transformers were all giant, lumbering golems hitting each other over the head with steel beams. As soon as they learn to convincingly pass off as human, the whole tone of the conflict changes from blunt-force trauma and explosions to paranoia and suspicion, and a movie about giant robots punching each other takes a one-way trip into The Thing territory.


"Wow, Shia, you look a lot less gross right now!"

Worse yet, the Decepticons have figured out that LaBeouf's greatest weakness is T&A, so now he has to be suspicious of any incredibly attractive women who are desperately gagging for his junk, for the rest of his life. Like LaBeouf shouldn't already have been suspicious of that.


"OK, so you don't like kissing."

But in the film, nobody ever mentions the fact that the Decepticons now have access to Terminators, except for an offhand remark by LaBeouf that she tasted like diesel. And though LaBeouf seems willing to trust everyone he sees (including his college roommate, and an actual retired Decepticon) to help him in his quest, the bad guys never see the benefit in perhaps dropping another fake human or two into his merry band of adventurers.

Instead, the giant robots just go straight back to punching each other, and Megatron gets his shit wrecked when the humans bring Optimus Prime to the fight. Good work, buddy -- maybe this is why Starscream keeps trying to steal your job.

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