6 Famous Movie Scenes With Horrific Scientific Implications
Movies are escapist fantasies, made to allow us a small window of relief from the harsh realities of life, such as bills, failed potential, and our crippling inability to make friends. They're not restrained by the laws of nature, physics, or common sense. That's because once you start holding them accountable to the realities of science, our favorite movies get immediately dark in hilariously grotesque ways.
The Flash: Barry Allen Would Hit Every Person He Rescues Harder Than a Speeding Car
The Flash derives his name from his lightning-fast speed and favorite form of photography. He uses this speed to zip in and out of dangerous situations, snatching people up and carrying them to safety so that they may continue to spend $18 a ticket on DC Comics movies.
The Flash moves at an average of 182 mph, which is way beyond what would be considered a safe speed for an object to collide with a human being. Getting scooped up by a man moving that speed would result in spectacularly fatal injuries, leaving ol' Barry Allen with a whole lot of 'splaining to do.
According to some fancy physics calculations, a person getting rescued by the Flash running at top speed is being pummeled by roughly six times the amount of pressure they would have to endure if they had been struck by a goddamned taxi. Rather than survive the likely broken bones, ribs, and pride such an encounter could incur, Barry's heroic efforts are likely leaving a trail of paralyzed and/or dead people in his wake. Yes, every day in the Flash's hometown of Central City would be the last 20 minutes of Man Of Steel, and the newspapers would almost undoubtedly brand him as a menace called "Smash Ghost."
Home Alone: Kevin's Traps Would've Horrifically Killed The Wet Bandits
Kevin McCallister oversleeps on the morning of his family vacation, and his terrible parents make it all the way to France before realizing that their child is missing. Now, Kevin has to spend the week home alone, which is where the title of the film comes from. Seizing on what they had to assume was an easy payday, two hapless burglars attempt to infiltrate the McCallister family's mansion to make off with their expensive goods. Kevin defends his parents' purchases with a series of inventive Rube Goldberg traps and the help of a 65-year-old man with a shovel, and saves Christmas.
Kevin's machinations are fucking brutal. According to Weill Cornell Medical College's Doctor Ryan St. Clair, the hilarious booby traps would have killed the Wet Bandits two or three times over. First of all, St. Clair assures us that taking a paint can to the front of the noggin from at least fifteen feet in the air is going to leave you with several missing teeth, along with quite a few broken face bones. Harry and/or Marv could very likely end up with a fractured orbital socket, which means that their fucking eyes would come out of their fucking heads, and the duo would be rolling around in that pile of Micro Machines, howling in impossible, relentless agony. But that pales in comparison to what would've happened if Kevin's blowtorch trap had been triggered by a real-life human being instead of cinema's Joe Pesci.
According to St. Clair, Kevin's makeshift death machine is spitting out flames reaching at least 3,000 degrees, and this petty criminal stands underneath it for seven seconds. This means that not only would Pesci's scalp be completely burned away, but also his skull would be so badly injured that it would be necrotic. He would literally need a bone transplant for the top of his head.
Then there's the silly heated doorknob trick:
St. Clair assures us that in order for the doorknob to glow red like this, it would need to be heated to at least 751 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, it takes about one second for 155-degree water to cause third-degree burns, so gripping that doorknob for as long as Pesci does would result in his hand bursting into flames. It is at this point that we all need to seriously question Kevin's sanity, because three minutes into this slapstick romp, we'd be treated to a protracted sequence of him struggling to bury two mutilated grown men (and his innocence) in his backyard. His dreams would be replaced with a rhapsody of the Wet Bandit's screams. Kevin will grow up, never leave his home, and die alone (with nobody but that Michael Jordan cardboard cutout for company).
Interstellar: The Black Hole Would've Incinerated Cooper Before He Made It Inside
Joe Cooper is on a mission to save the human race by finding an alternate planet for civilization to destroy, as Earth is now a dusty, corn-infested nightmare. Cooper's job is to hurl himself into a black hole in order to collect some data on gravity needed to get everyone floating around in outer space. He succeeds in getting the information back to his Earth-bound daughter via subspace bookshelf communication, and awakens years later in a hospital bed, the plan having worked like a charm and his face untouched by decades of wrinkles. Because science, time travel, and magic are the same thing.
Cooper's black hole (which, by the way, is way comelier than a real black hole) is surrounded by an accretion disk, a swirly collection of plasma, gas, and other fun particles that is somewhere in the realm of 65,000 degrees on the Kelvin scale, or roughly 11,6540 degrees Fahrenheit. For comparison, that is roughly 11 times hotter than the surface of the sun. Cooper is basically throwing himself into a spinning vortex of scalding gravity.
So, fantastical science sorcery notwithstanding, Cooper would not have even made it inside the black hole before being flash burned into a tiny little crisp of nonexistence. Of course, then his daughter's bookshelf would have never been haunted with the riddle of space travel in the first place, so the movie kind of falls apart at that point.
Pinocchio's Head Would've Snapped Off After Too Many Lies
All lonely old toymaker Geppetto wants is a son, so he builds a sentient wooden puppet named Pinocchio to avoid dealing with the fact that he is far too old to find a wife and father some real children without putting them at serious risk of birth defects. The Blue Fairy promises to turn Pinocchio into a real boy if he embarks on a typical Hero's Journey and proves that he can be honest and forthright -- which you may notice is a test that no other human being is required to pass before they are permitted to exist. Every time Pinocchio does something dishonest, his nose increases in length as punishment, because the Blue Fairy has been gripped by a specific form of madness.
The neck can only take so much weight before it buckles under the strain. That's why humans don't have giant awesome horns. As a humanoid puppet, Pinocchio is no different. Taking into the account the wood type, exponential nose growth, and the amount of weight his neck can carry before his center of mass shifts to an impossible degree, Pinocchio's head would snap clean off after only thirteen lies.
However, we're given no indication that this would kill Pinocchio, as he is essentially a homunculus powered by fairy magic. He would just be a headless boy, skipping off to school. Although Geppetto would probably reconsider enrolling Pinocchio in the public school system if he was nothing but a talking wooden head, so in all likelihood, he would simply keep the puppet at home. This might actually be better for them both, as Geppetto would never be swallowed by a whale after inexplicably looking for Pinocchio on the open ocean, and Pinocchio would never have made friends with the insufferable Lampwick before being turned into a donkey by an obvious pederast.
Skyfall: Getting Shot By A Uranium Shell Would've Killed James Bond Before The Opening Credits
International Disease Farm of Mystery James Bond fights a villain on top of moving train (as one does) whilst trying to retrieve a stolen hard drive. His opponent shoots him in the shoulder with a uranium bullet, and then his partner accidentally shoots him in the chest with a sniper rifle, and he falls off of the train into the water below. However, mere bullets and high falls cannot destroy James Bond, and he turns up alive and well, ready to drink and have sex and murder people in the name of global intrigue.
Unless Bond is carrying a new form of HPV that grants him immunity to radiation poisoning, there is zero chance of walking away from all that. The absolute best-case scenario for Bond after being shot full of uranium is that he now has cancer and will have to undergo constant intense treatment. The worst-case scenario is that the force of the uranium shell exploding would turn his lungs inside out.
That's not to mention the fall from the train, which almost certainly should have killed him, radioactive bullet or not. Some kids would've discovered Bond's bloated, uranium-soaked body washed up on the riverbank before Adele even finished singing the theme song.
The Empire Strikes Back: Luke Probably Still Would've Died Inside That Tauntaun
In his one and only foray into lightsabering, professional badass Han Solo slices open the alien equivalent of a camel and stuffs a freezing Luke Skywalker inside its steamy stomach. He saves Luke's life, despite the extremely convenient opportunity to remove the competition in their weirdly incestuous love triangle with Princess Leia.
For starters, Luke probably would have still frozen to death before Han had time to build a shelter. We have no way of knowing for sure without knowing the exact cause of the Tauntaun's death. It seems like it dies from a mixture of hypothermia and exhaustion. If the Tauntaun died of hypothermia itself, Luke is immediately screwed, because the animal's body would be as cold as his, and only getting colder thanks to the sweet embrace of death. Even if that weren't the case, if Han allowed just one bit of the Tauntaun's innards to remain exposed after tucking Luke in there, then whatever body part is left hanging out will start cooling down the rest of Luke's body, still putting him at risk of hypothermia. Barring all of that, Han still has only one hour to build that shelter before Luke succumbs to the already-extreme exposure he's suffering from and dies.
Say Solo did manage to get Luke fully stashed away in a Tauntaun gut cocoon, and the creature was at a suitable temperature, and Han managed to construct a warm, insulated shelter in time. He still would've had to have been surgically careful of how he packed Luke into the lifesaving animal carcass in the first place. If the Tauntaun resembles an Earth creature even the slightest bit, it's going to have a bunch of gooey innards floating around inside its freshly-opened stomach. Should any part of that get all over Luke's face while he's riding around inside, which it very likely would, his mouth and nose would be frozen shut, suffocating him to death.
So Han could've built a fucking Mariott and still unpacked his Tauntaun burrito to find a thoroughly dead Luke. At which point we imagine he would've returned to Echo Base and merely told everyone that he never found him.
Carolyn chronicles her own horrifying existence on Twitter.
Want us to ruin more pop culture staples? We thought you'd never ask! Just check out 7 Awesome Super Powers (Ruined By Science) and 5 Awesome Sci-Fi Inventions (That Would Actually Suck).
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