6 Dumb Background Details You Now See In Every Sci-Fi Movie
From cellphones and tablets to laser cannons and freeze rays, countless sci-fi inventions have ended up dropping the "fi" and come into the real world. One of mankind's most impressive talents is taking something one nerd wrote into a story and making another nerd build it for real. Who knows which far-out, awesome-looking tech will cross over into our reality next?
Hopefully not one of these things ...
Space Helmets With Lights Inexplicably Pointed At Your Face
Hollywood has been making movies about astronauts since before there were astronauts, so it's completely understandable that they had to bullshit around a little when it came to designing their getups. All the way back in 1951's The Day The Earth Stood Still, for instance, space helmets were skintight, face-hugging pain-hats, because those Lindy-hopping Jitterbuggers figured that other planets were like Russia: cold and terrifying.
"Klaatu barada nikto" means "can't see shit."
Even though we know what they look like now, modern sci-fi movies are just as full of shit when it comes to helmets. The problem is, actors are supposed to be sexy and brooding so audiences will buy tickets for their terrible movies ... and if you put that sexy, brooding face inside a metal sleeve, nobody will see it. That's why all the helmets in current movies have lights in them. Not on them, because that's logical and actually a thing NASA does all the time -- these lights have to be inside the helmet, pointing directly at the actor's stupid, handsome face.
"Mission control, one of the bulbs went out and no one can see my gorgeous cheekbones!"
"ABORT MISSION! ABORT MISSION!"
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon even retconned some face lights into the helmets of the Apollo 11 astronauts, which would have resulted in them staring at their own reflections.
It was imperative that you knew Neil Armstrong was being played by, you know, that guy.
Obviously, even without reflective helmets, these things would function like pure dogshit. Rather than being able to see their way around dangerous and unknown terrain, these helpless astrohunks are going to have a constant beam of bright white light pointed at their eyeballs. They'll be fumbling around the moon like Mr. Magoo, except when you trip in zero gravity, you fall forever.
"How are we gonna blow up that asteroid, Matt Damon?"
"No idea, Ving Rhames."
Pointlessly Ball-Shaped Vehicles
One of the simplest methods Hollywood uses to let us know we're watching a sci-fi story is to make all vehicles look all futuristic and badass. Doesn't matter if it's a regular Toronto street or the middle of the desert; as soon as you see some weird-ass car rolling around, you know some laser shit will be coming out sooner or later. Unfortunately, sometimes the "rolling around" part is a little too literal.
Hopefully, the Men in Black are paying royalties to Mr. Garrison from South Park.
Look at that silly crap. Monowheels were already outdated in the 1930s -- society has officially relegated them to clown accessory status by now. And yet sci-fi movie writers are obsessed with making completely circular vehicles, like they're all still cavemen and the most mind-blowing form of transportation they can think of is a huge goddamn tire.
Speaking of prehistoric baloney, Jurassic World put a new spin on the Big Wheel concept by putting tourists inside some oversized hamster balls so they could get up close and personal with a bunch of dinosaurs. Now imagine the mounds of dino dung littering those fields, and then picture what that stupid ball is going to look like by the time they're done with their little jaunt.
At least they won't be able to see the dung through all the puke covering the inside.
The Star Wars universe, meanwhile, has a long-standing appreciation for this trope.
Alternate headline for this article: BB-8's Parents REVEALED? Click To Find Out!
Oh yeah, we're going there. While it's undeniable that BB-8 has got more charm and personality than many real actors in the franchise (including most of the principals in the prequels), even NASA thinks it's a garbage droid. It looks modern because Hollywood has trained us to think "balls = future," but its mobility leaves much to be desired. The rule of thumb is: If you can't play a soccer match there, BB-8 is shit out of luck. If only there were a way to get BB-8 up off the ground a little bit so it could more easily navigate difficult terrain. What would such a clearly superior design even look like?
"Body" Armor That Only Covers The Chest
Wardrobe designers working on sci-fi dystopian action franchises have it pretty tough. How do you make the characters look A) like they're prepared for a war zone where lasers could be flying everywhere and B) stylish at the same time? The solution they've found is: Fuck A), just give them a tiny chest plate thing and call it a day. Jennifer Lawrence knows this better than anyone:
"They really only shoot at the nipple area, anyway."
In X-Men: Apocalypse, this stupid conceit extends to every freaking character in the movie, like all the mutants got together before the fight and agreed that the torso is the only place anyone will take a swing at.
"And remember, no touching anyone's hair. We all spent a long time on it."
Again, we get why they won't cover the actors' faces (that's what the studio is paying for, after all), but what about the other 80 percent of their bodies? All these characters look utterly unconcerned about getting a bullet to the dick/vagina. However, this trend makes a little more sense when you realize modern sports clothes tend to highlight the chest area:
Because we won't have true equality until men get to say, "Hey, my eyes are up here!" too.
Along with the various designs, color shading, and contouring drawing your attention to the upper torso, you may have also noticed "shitloads of mesh" as a recurring design theme. This trend has also made its way into modern sci-fi, making everyone look like they're trying to steal Jason Momoa's new job:
"To be honest, when they said I'll get to play the greatest hero of all time, I thought 'Nice, Aquaman.'"
And when you think about it, futuristic clothing has always been a tighter, sexier version of whatever we all find trendy at the moment. That's why the modern stuff looks like something you'd wear when you want to convince people you totally, like, live at the gym, while the '60s version of those very same Star Trek outfits were all miniskirts and Mr. Rogers sweaters.
Unfortunately, there can be no neighbors where no man has gone before.
Hey, Quit It With The Stupid Blue Holograms Already
Seriously, stop it. They don't make sense. Nobody has ever wanted a map of something to fill an entire room and be blue. That's objectively worse than Google Maps. And yet:
"The rebels are in the blue sector! No, the other blue sector! No, the ... and I'm dead."
How on God's green Earth are they ever supposed to find anything with this malarkey? It's all sparkles and swirls and negative space. Maps are hard enough to navigate without all the sad Picasso surrealism bullshit. There's no possible way anyone in any of these rooms has any inkling of what they're looking at. There aren't any distinguishing landmarks or location names. There's isn't even a compass -- how do they even know they have this crap right side up? Do they know they have this crap the right side up?
"Where are her nipples supposed to be? I don't ... this is the worst porno I've ever seen."
We can probably trace this back to Princess Leia's little holo-message in the first Star Wars. The shitty single-color quality of the recording contributed to the movie's "space vintage" look, and made sense, since R2-D2 only had a tiny little projector. But then we saw Darth Vader Facetiming with the Emperor in the next movie, and the hologram was equally blue and shitty, even though the Empire presumably had access to way better technology.
"Sorry, I'm about to reach my monthly data cap."
And so blue became the official color for Star Wars holograms, and for all sci-fi movies ripping off Star Wars (so, all sci-fi movies). They slowly expanded it over time from one person to an entire galaxy.
You'd have found Luke a lot quicker if you used paper, like normal people.
Every Modern Killer Robot Has Killer Abs
What does Hollywood do when the main draw of a movie isn't a hot actor? Sub in a hot killer robot, of course. The original Robocop mirrored the Day The Earth Stood Still helmet and suit with bulky, uncomfortable steel that fully covered the body inside, plus an added motorcycle engine stomach for posterity.
Not the nicest pair of boobs in this movie, but close.
The new Robocop couldn't very well show more skin (because he doesn't have a whole lot), so they sexed things up a bit by giving him some sick-ass abs.
The only pair of boobs seen in this movie.
Which, of course, makes no fucking sense. Those abs serve no purpose whatsoever, beyond making passing trucks oil themselves in arousal. Every criminal is gonna be too busy looking at his giant guns to even notice, let alone be impressed by, that metallic six pack.
And yet every sci-fi robot or robot armor out there suddenly has to look like it has 50 gym memberships and a decade-long case of the dry heaves. Every.
Even Iron Man's kids have abs.
Not even robots of the building-sized category are exempted. Pacific Rim, for example, should have been called Pacific Ripped -- we count three levels of abs-ception here:
The lice living on his head have abs bigger than yours.
Give it a rest, guys. Eat a doughnut or three. We'd love to see a chubby spacebot with a grudge against humanity bulldozing through throngs of frightened citizens, laser gun in one hand and cheeseburger pizza in the other. Please, Hollywood, make this happen.
Why Would We Ever Want See-Through Monitors?
At some point, some genius in Hollywood realized it would be neat if you could have a touchscreen on your windshield, or your glasses, or the little mirror you use to snort cocaine. That's OK, we can buy that -- you're taking something that exists and enhancing it with productive upgrades. This is the opposite of "productive" or an "upgrade," though:
Are ... are people in Avatar looking up YouTube videos of Avatar?
Turning every fucking monitor transparent is yet another instance of Hollywood missing what made an idea cool and overdoing it to ridiculous extents (see also: the Terminator franchise).
Minority Report started this trend, and it looked rad as hell, but the reason it didn't look dumb was that Tom Cruise didn't have a whole bunch of shit going on behind his big transparent screen. Now that other movies are doing it, we're seeing this in the middle of busy command centers and such, rendering the always-super-tiny text even more impossible to read. And it's more than monitors. Tony Stark even had a transparent cellphone in Captain America: A Better Avengers Movie Than The Last Avengers Movie.
"We must find Zemo before ... I just flashed a dick pic at everyone, didn't I?"
How is anyone supposed to get anything done with this crap? The only thing Tony's working toward with that is a lifelong dependency on contacts and a massive migraine. Worse yet, in the films' context, these gadgets are supposed to be designed by super geniuses. We guess it's true what they say: Book smarts ain't the same as common sense, son.
Extra points deducted for making it fucking blue.
Carolyn tweets about her killer abs on Twitter.
Zoroastrianism used to be one of the biggest religions in the world, but their idea of heaven had a slight twist on it: To get there, you'd have to cross a bridge. Sometimes rickety, sometimes wide and sturdy, and if you fell off, you'd go to the House of Lies for eternity. Fun! Not terrifying at all! This month, join Jack, Dan, and Michael, along with comedians Casey Jane Ellison and Ramin Nazer, as they discuss their favorite afterlife scenarios from movies, sci-fi, and lesser-known religions. Get your tickets here, and we'll see you on the other side of the bridge!
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