7 Gaping Flaws In Famous Sci-Fi Movies
Writing sci-fi technology isn't easy: Science advances so fast that real technology can end up blowing past your "futuristic" crap in a heartbeat. Remember when electronic billboards were something you saw only in movies featuring androids and hovercars? Now there's one trying to sell you dick pills every time you look at your phone.
Even so, this doesn't excuse writers from applying common sense, deductive reasoning, and even basic OSHA practices to their worlds of tomorrow. Here are seven sci-fi technologies that were already dumb and outdated when the movies came out:
(SPOILER FOR THIS ARTICLE: It's full of spoilers.)
Jurassic World: The Security Sucks Compared To The First Jurassic Park
In Jurassic World, profits are floundering at the park, so the corporate fat cats decide to give visitors a new dinosaur to look at by genetically engineering one. The new dino, indominus rex, has super intelligence, which she uses to fool Chris Pratt (no small feat) into releasing her into the park:
But wait a second: Why the hell would they put a door big enough for their extremely dangerous dinosaur to fit through? Why didn't they put the I. rex into its pen when it was small (like John Hammond does in the original Jurassic Park) and let it grow there, thus avoiding the logistical nightmare of trying to transport a 10-ton super predator? That way, the only way she could ever escape would be to bust through the wall, Kool-Aid Man style.
Shit, they don't even bother to dig large trenches around the perimeter, like both Hammond and non-prehistoric zoos do. Another good idea Hammond has is electric fences, while Jurassic World just opts to house their raptors with superhuman speed and jumping in an enclosure built out of recycled shipping containers, apparently.
They're gonna need those containers to ship out tourist corpses, anyway.
In fact, the only animals protected by electric fences in Jurassic World are the non-violent herbivores. Even then, people in the command center still can't tell if a fence door is open or where the visitors' vehicles are (another feature Hammond has back in AOL days):
Hopefully that PC is preserved in amber somewhere and can be restored.
The Jurassic World big wigs do have one semi-innovative idea: microchipping the dinosaurs so they can track them ... and yet they manage to even fuck that up, because as soon as the indominus escapes her pen, she claws out the tracker. Unlike your local veterinarian, the geniuses at Jurassic World forgot to implant the animal's microchip in a place she can't actually reach.
And now you're imagining a T. rex trying to reach its back with its comically tiny hands.
Also, if the park is trying to save costs, why not relocate to a place like Florida instead of making everyone schlep out to an island in the middle of the Pacific? Plus, if the dinosaurs do escape there, that will only be the fourth-craziest thing to happen in Florida that week.
Star Wars: The Rebels Could Have Just Sent Each Other The Death Star Plans
Despite Star Wars' repeated insistence that it takes place in the past, it's clearly meant to look like the future -- these movies allow us to see all the fantastic ways we'll get to kill each other, travel, and even communicate one day. Darth Vader chokes a guy through a fancy video-chat screen:
An expanded universe novel reveals he actually swallowed a fly and Vader just went with it.
And there are several instances of holograms being sent and received, including when the Rebels monitor a space battle via holographic data:
After their deaths, the Emperor and Darth Maul gained great fame as a rap duo.
But wait a minute -- if people can send holoscreens and holovines and holodickpics across the infinite vastness of space, why can't they send other data? Like, say, plans for a super-secret battle station that you want to blow up (aka, the thing R2-D2 is carrying on behalf of Princess Leia in the first Star Wars, starting this whole mess).
Why bother fucking around with using people and droids to carry this information? We know they can send the plans -- the first thing Vader says to Leia is, "Several transmissions were beamed to this ship." So why use a middleman? Just send them directly to the Rebel base, and if you're worried about the Empire tracing it, send it to 5 million planets and let the Empire figure out which one is the real base. The nerds over at Wookieepedia even mention that the Rebels used "secret channels" on the galactic internet to send information. What could be more important than the plans themselves? Porn? OK, yeah. Probably porn.
"Attempting to overthrow an evil, fascist government is in direct violation
of your Comcast service agreement."
And finally, let's not forget that Leia is only captured because she's headed to pick up Obi-Wan, which she wants to do in person and then later by hologram, instead of just sending a message from a burner Gmail account.
Her LeiaOrgasmaXXX69@empire.gov account is only for official communications.
Terminator Genisys: Skynet Is Confusingly User-Friendly
Early in Terminator Genisys, we see the defeat of the machines for like the eighth time, when John Connor and Kyle Reese sneak into a Skynet stronghold by remote-controlling a T-800 and driving a truck into the compound.
To make it believable, they have to stop at a T-800 trucker bar and get a virus
from a slutty vending machine.
And then they ... immediately get caught? Nope, it works! Somehow, Skynet, which is connected to all Terminators (we know this for sure, because when it blows up, they all collapse), fails to realize that it's not controlling one of its units. And why would Skynet's cargo vehicles need to look and function like human trucks, anyway? This thing has entire factories spitting out killbots and it can't think of a more efficient configuration? Wouldn't it be hilarious if Skynet made giant robot eels?
Also, why in the name of James Cameron's ballsack are there searchlights all over the base?
They were throwing a big rave, but no one showed up.
There's absolutely no point for those lights to be there. Humans have some of the worst night vision in the animal kingdom, so we need bright lights to help us not die -- but machines don't, as evidenced in T2 when Arnie rides a motorcycle at night, wearing sunglasses, with the headlight off.
"It's all dark ...? Shit, I'm 30 years early to the rave."
On a related subject, look at this Skynet control center from Terminator Salvation:
Who are all these buttons and screens for? Terminators shouldn't need a button; Skynet should just be able to think "kill(humans.all) = 1" and it's done. There's no need to have someone actually press a button. If someone had created a computer brain implant that could transcribe your thoughts to text, why would you need a keyboard? Why do you need computer monitors at all when you're the computer?
It almost feels like your heart isn't really in this anymore, Skynet.
Star Trek Into Darkness: The Enterprise Is Shockingly Unprepared To Deal With Radiation
In Star Trek Into Darkness, the Enterprise's reactor is acting up and Captain Kirk takes it upon himself to run inside and restart it by kicking it a whole bunch. It works, but the resulting radiation kills Kirk, turning this into a stealth remake of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (with Kirk taking Spock's place).
"Wait, does this mean a bridge is gonna fall on me? Asshole."
But, hey, question: Why does this have to be done by the captain of the ship? When Kirk and Simon Pegg, er, Scotty find out the reactor isn't working and run down to the engine room, they pass Chekov (who is, at that point, chief engineer) and dozens of toadies:
"I'm wearing a red shirt. No way I'm going anywhere near a reactor."
So, couldn't they have just radioed those guys and said, "Uh, hey, anyone wanna fix that?" Apparently, Scotty is the only one who knows to pull a single lever to divert the power and figure out what's wrong with the reactor -- no one else in the ship can do that?
"Dammit, Jim! I'm a doctor, not some sort of lever-pulling specialist!"
We get that Scotty is supposed to be the super-geek techno-wizard, but that's kind of the point -- this shouldn't be a hack that only one person knows about. Day 1 of Starfleet Academy should teach all cadets that this is the "Pull To Not Die" switch.
But whoever ended up fixing the reactor would have died anyway, right? Because it's not like there's something that can be used to protect humans from radia-
-tion, right? These are anti-contamination suits used by nuclear power plants to limit radiation exposure when working near the reactor. You know where they're kept? Right by the goddamn reactor. And, sure, Kirk would have needed something more potent than that, but if the Enterprise crew has suits that allow them to survive in space:
Is that the sound guy under the ship?
And if they can create a suit that lets people stand in the middle of an active volcano:
Starfleet: 1. Jedi: 0.
Then there's no reason they wouldn't have one to block radiation, particularly for the engineers who work around the extremely dangerous reactor all day. (Those guys are super sterile, by the way.)
Ex Machina: The Robots Have No Off Switch
Ex Machina is a slow-paced, cerebral movie full of naked women that will make you more afraid of artificial intelligence than any Terminator film could ever hope to. Oscar Isaac plays Nathan, a reclusive billionaire who created some cross between Google and Facebook, while Domhnall Gleeson plays Caleb, a coder who works for Goobook (or Facegle). Nathan invites Caleb out to his remote Unabomber mansion in Bumblefuck, Alaska, to administer a Turing test to a female robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander). Spoiler alert: It does not go well.
This is probably what Facebook would do to Zuckerberg if it had arms.
Caleb eventually discovers that Nathan created several sex robots before Ava, and they all failed in various ways, whereupon Nathan deactivated the robots by beating the ever-loving shit out of them. Now, we're clearly in no position to be telling a tech genius his business, but why didn't Nathan just install a power switch? Or power them with a six-foot extension cord? Nathan keeps all of them in a specially constructed cell, with the exception of one robot that he uses as a servant/fuck-puppet. There's no reason they need to be able to operate outside of their cell.
This would come in handy later when Nathan decides to shut Ava down by beating her with a steel bar, only to have this happen:
"Windows was not shut down properly."
For some fucking reason, Nathan equipped Ava with hydraulics that enable her to outrun and overpower him -- maybe he likes being dominated? Who knows; we're not here to judge him (at least not for that). The point is, Ava and Kyoko (Nathan's bangbot maid, played by Sonoya Mizuno) stab him to death. A reset button would have really come in handy then. On the other hand, maybe this is exactly why Apple chargers suck: It's a fail-safe so they don't murder you.
Moon: The Whole Job Could Have Been Done By Robots
In Moon, Sam Rockwell plays a guy named Sam who lives alone on the moon and spends his days mining helium, which is then sent back to Earth in order to provide humanity with a clean, plentiful source of energy and Chipmunks impressions. Sam eventually discovers that his three-year contract was involuntarily extended by 12 years ... because his employer keeps killing him and replacing him with clones while the station's computer, GERTY, convinces the new clone that his contract is just starting. The lengths companies will go to avoid giving an employee an annual pay raise.
GERTY communicates through emoticons and Kevin Spacey's voice -- we're not sure
which is more unsettling.
Why would a corporation go through so much trouble to keep their station staffed? you have to understand that space mining is a very complicated job -- so complex, in fact, that the actual mining is done by a completely autonomous harvester. Sam's job is actually to drive out to the harvesters in his rover, collect the helium canisters, and ship them back to Earth via USPS flat rate rockets.
Still cheaper than regular FedEx.
So, why the hell isn't this all fully automated? GERTY can move around the base, communicate with Earth, and repair things, all without Sam's input. GERTY can load the helium into the rockets -- at one point, it tries to help Sam, only for Sam to insist that he should do it himself because he's got to justify his paycheck somehow.
"There are ... other ways you could make it up to me, Sam." -DIRTY, from the porn parody.
The rovers could easily be automated since they've already done that with the harvesters -- the only step that Sam actually needs to do is to move the helium from the harvesters to the rover. Slap some robot arms on the rover and you've got a completely autonomous moon base with no need for food, water, oxygen, or breathtakingly expensive and unethical human cloning. Plus, a kickass-looking rover. Maybe Sam has good people skills?
The Avengers: What Happened To All The Medium-Powered Weapons?
In the first Iron Man, we see Tony Stark demonstrating his Jericho missile system to a bunch of military brass who are duly impressed:
"Hey, you guys remember how there was a super-strong guy who fought magic Nazis in WWII?
We don't mention that often enough."
So, where are those missiles when these shenanigans are going on?
It's true that by The Avengers Tony has stopped manufacturing munitions, but what about the other hundred or so defense contractors the U.S. uses to score weapons? Are we relying on only The Avengers for defense now? Ignoring the strategic problem of what happens if Loki decides to attack eight different places at the same time, we also get to see what the escalation of force looks like. When it seems that The Avengers aren't going to be able to stop the invasion on their own, the Pentagon jumps straight to the (literal) nuclear option:
On the upside, the fallout will probably take out New Jersey too.
Holy shit, is there nothing between "flying man, arrows" and "nuclear missiles"? Sure, those leviathan creatures are big and scary, but you know what else is big and scary? A Spectre gunship:
Basically, someone looked at an artillery battery and said, "OK, but what if it could fly?"
Or how about an A-10 Warthog, where the airplane was an afterthought to a gigantic cannon, which is very appropriately called "The Avenger":
For some reason we feel like we're falling behind on Mario Kart.
This is all technology that is decades old; we're not even talking about laser-guided bombs or sophisticated air-to-air missiles here. And it's not like S.H.I.E.L.D. is picking up the slack. Their two contributions are a slightly more powerful assault rifle:
If he'd known The Avengers would stop talking to him after this movie,
he probably would have picked a smaller one.
And one helicarrier, which isn't all that bad, but then again we already have 13 normal aircraft carriers that can go to 75 percent of the same places the helicarrier can, so, maybe S.H.I.E.L.D.'s R&D department should aim more toward the middle.
Also, follow us on Facebook, and let's be best friends forever.