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6 High-Tech Movie Facilities That Make No Sense

#3. Elysium -- Elysium

Media Rights Capital/TriStar Pictures

Elysium is about white people hoarding food and medicine from the poor and denigrating an entire impoverished population to nothing more than a spectacular balcony view from their income-restricted resort community nestled safely behind miles of impenetrable security. Essentially, it's about building a Sandals in space.

Media Rights Capital/TriStar Pictures
"We did it, everyone!"

The Problem:

The richest people in the world live on Elysium, a massive space station full of mansions and palm trees, protected by the best technology in the world. Matt Damon rocket-boots his way up there with a couple of crazy mercenaries, who proceed to conquer the floating paradise almost immediately and nearly install their psychopathic leader as the new President of Space.

Media Rights Capital/TriStar Pictures
In fairness, I would vote for this man based on this picture.

That fancy orbiting tax shelter has to be hundreds of miles across at the very least. So why, inside Elysium headquarters, do they keep the prison, the armory, the medical bay, and the computer controls for every single one of the station's operating functions close enough together that you can reach them all in a modest jogging circuit? Three guys are able to take over the entire station in about five minutes, because every important facility and personnel member is within a baseball's throw of each other.

Media Rights Capital/TriStar Pictures
For example, here we see one man wiping out the majority of Elysium's governing body with a single grenade.

You'd think that in a station as vast and important to the upper echelon of society as Elysium, they would spread all those things out over a few miles. That's the primary reason the Capitol Building, the White House, and the Pentagon aren't just three different floors in the same shopping mall. Otherwise the A-Team could've busted in and annexed America back in the 1980s.

Media Rights Capital/TriStar Pictures
"No, just keep everything in one building. Nobody wants to have to fight afternoon space traffic."

#2. Star Trek -- Nero's Ship

Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios

Star Trek is about J.J. Abrams taking classic science-fiction (normally concerned with psychological horror and the suspense inherent in the discovery of the unknown) and sculpting it into a spaceship-detonating explosion fest with the cunning use of lens flares and lead-actor sprinting. In the movie, Nero, a Romulan from the future, accidentally travels back in time and seeks to destroy the Federation's home base of Earth as punishment for allowing his planet to get consumed by a solar flare, although honestly I have no idea what he expected Tyler Perry to do about an emotionless astrological event.

Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios
"I don't know why I'm here, either."

The Problem:

Nero's ship, ostensibly a mining vessel, looks like someone tried to build a LEGO pirate ship out of dinosaur teeth. Everything is unnecessarily sharp, and there are hoses dangling everywhere, apparently by design.

Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios
"She'll never fly like this, boys! We need more hoses!"

Furthermore, the interior is laid out like a honeycombing skyscraper, with absolutely no railings to speak of.

Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios
Nero prefers his workplace to look like a dangerous riddle.

In the show, every time the Enterprise takes damage from enemy laser blasts, the crew gets tossed around the flight deck like socks in a dryer. So what's going to happen to Nero's crew when their ship gets attacked by space pirates, or if they suddenly have to hit the brakes and make a hard right turn? Every Romulan on board would either go rocketing off a hundred-foot balcony to their deaths or get filleted by a jagged wall sconce.

Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios
This should not be present in any flying machine.

Also, why does a mining ship have an endless arsenal of weaponry? I get that it's a Romulan ship, and Romulans are the kinds of aliens that would outfit a taxi cab with laser cannons and a missile launcher, but Nero has been floating around in space, trapped in the past, for 25 years. Where the hell is he going to buy a bunch of rockets that haven't been invented yet? He has to be out of ammo -- he destroys both a Klingon fleet and a Federation fleet after using entirely too much ordinance to kill Kirk's dad in the beginning of the movie.

Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios
Image presented without comment.

Also, yet again, there's water everywhere. We see Nero sloshing through a freaking lagoon while he's interrogating a prisoner, like he's wading into a creek to find his fishing rod. Why is there water on all of these spaceships? Are they hydroelectric?

Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios
"We pulled a handbrake turn and my waterbed exploded."

#1. RoboCop -- OCP Headquarters

Orion Pictures

There is no plot description for RoboCop that cannot be immediately understood by reading the film's title.

The Problem:

The company responsible for RoboCop, Omni Consumer Products (OCP), has their headquarters in a futuristic skyscraper.

Orion Pictures

In one of the film's first scenes, we see them showcasing ED-209, a herculean murderbot, in a boardroom meeting on what has to be the 100th floor of the building. However, as we observe in a later sequence, ED-209 cannot navigate a staircase, and clearly weighs several tons.

Orion Pictures
Although he has been doing Pilates and would appreciate it if you acknowledged his effort.

How the hell did they get him up there for that meeting, and how did they expect to get him back down once they broke for lunch? He's too freaking big to ride the elevator we see the other characters use.

Orion Pictures
"Guys, this ... this isn't going to happen."

The only way they could've gotten him to the top floor is if he were assembled entirely in the boardroom like a ship in a bottle. Once the meeting is explosively adjourned, he could've maybe parachuted out the window, but there's no way ED-209 is taking that tiny glass peanut whistle of an elevator down to the ground floor to turn in his valet ticket.

Orion Pictures
"Five bucks? I was here for 10 minutes!"

Also, this is a technologically advanced future city, policed by robot centurions manufactured by OCP, the wealthiest company in the world, and yet OCP still uses a freaking stenographer at their board meetings?

Orion Pictures
"Let's start by reviewing last quarter's profits. Everyone get out your adding machines."

It's not like the idea of tape recorders was too far-fetched for the writers of this movie. The ability to record random shit that people say comes preloaded on RoboCop's hard drive like Windows, so OCP clearly recognized how useful that is. And they're obviously not worried about having a record of their meetings, because they have a person in attendance whose specific purpose is to write down everything that is being said. Why don't they just have RoboCop sit in on every meeting and keep the minutes?

Orion Pictures
In OCP's defense, their "robots in the workplace" policy needs some adjustments.

Later, we see RoboCop visit the computer archives of the police station, which for some reason has a terminal that can be accessed only by RoboCop punching it with his data-harvesting daggerfist.

Orion Pictures
"Read the file? What an amusing concept. No, fellow officer, RoboCop stabs the knowledge he requires."

RoboCop can use a keyboard just like anyone else -- why take the time to design a completely new system that precisely one law enforcement official in the entire world can use? Even more baffling is the fact that several people try to stop RoboCop from entering, insisting that he isn't allowed to be back there. If he's not allowed to be in the police archives, why did they install a terminal that only he is capable of operating? That's like buying a bunch of Super Nintendo games for your Sega Genesis.

Orion Pictures
"This is bullshit. I just want to play NBA Jam."

More importantly, RoboCop is a fucking robot -- the entire purpose behind his creation is to make an exponentially more efficient police officer. Shouldn't he be able to remotely access the database with his robot brain whenever he feels like it? Having to drunk-shuffle your way down to a basement to solve mysteries is the opposite of efficiency.

Orion Pictures
"Everyone stand back. I have robotic police work to attend to."


While rewatching Face/Off for this column, Tom was suddenly reminded that there was a brief period wherein an $80 million action movie with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage was a smart investment. Read his novel Stitches and follow him on Twitter and Tumblr.

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