5 Geography Errors In Famous Movies/TV Shows
Not even the coolest of elementary school teachers will teach geography by popping a Michael Bay movie into the old DVD player. These productions don't spend much, if any, of their budgets on fact-checking. Still, it's fun to point out just how hilariously various movies and shows will stretch and bend the map to make the story work, even when other options were easily available. Like how ...
Lost Mixed Up Its Oceans
For those who didn't spend six seasons of their life finding out that, like, maybe everyone was always dead, or possibly it was a dream all along, or perhaps the "island" was actually a metaphor for friendship, the premise of Lost can be boiled down to "The characters were stranded on a magic island after surviving a plane crash."
In Season 4, we learn that some bad guys headed off the search for the survivors by faking that the wreckage of their plane had been found at the bottom of the Sunda Trench. Only a handful of people ever suspect it's not the real thing. Even though the fake wreck is in the wrong ocean.
The Sunda Trench lies south of the Indonesian archipelago, in the Indian Ocean, here:
Oceanic Flight 815, on the other hand, was from Sydney to Los Angeles, a route that flies in the opposite direction, and solely over the Pacific Ocean:
"But the plane flew off-course!" you might be saying. Sure, but for the plane to have gone down off the coast of Indonesia, it would have to have flown in the complete opposite direction from the very outset and somehow confused the entire landmass of Australia (which is a big reddish-brown thing) for the Pacific Ocean (which is a big blue thing) without any of the crew or passengers noticing.
In fact, in the first episode of the show, the pilot claims to have lost contact with ground control, and so altered his course, putting the plane some 1,000 km off its route. However, this still puts 815 firmly in the Pacific. Yet no questions are ever asked as to why the plane's "wreckage" is found literally an ocean away from where it was supposed to have been.
The "Oceanic Six" -- six survivors who manage to return to civilization -- end up corroborating the cover-up after they "wash up" on the Indonesian island of Sumba, which only serves to exacerbate the issue. Why, someone should have asked, would hundreds of people looking to get to LA sit quietly while their plane is obviously going the wrong way for hours? You don't need sophisticated equipment to know you're not heading to LA from Sydney when there's dirt below you the entire time you're in the air. "We just assumed the tide was out that day. Way, way out."
Indiana Jones Flies Several Hundred Miles Off-Course, Fails To Notice
Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom has one of the greatest cold openings in cinema history. Indiana Jones trades the remains of Emperor Nurhachi for a diamond, gets poisoned, then finds the antidote to save his own life -- all against the backdrop of a 1930s cabaret show. There's death, there's drama, there's an annoying orphan wearing blocks on his shoes so he can drive a car. Anything goes, really.
Indy ultimately manages to escape his foe, Lao Che, but does so by unwittingly boarding one of the gangster's planes. The pilots give their boss a nod as it takes off, making it clear that this flight isn't reaching its destination.
Still, as Dr. Jones travels, we see the iconic map montage showing the flight path -- from Shanghai toward the city of Chongking -- against images of what is seen from the plane's windows. Naturally, since we're in China, we see the plane pass over the Great Wall:
Except that's not anywhere near the plane's location. And it's not like this is some random, obscure structure nobody from out of town will notice or care about, or that its location isn't really important. Built to keep out Mongolian raiders, the Great Wall is in the north of China, some 750 miles north of Shanghai. Chongking is to the southwest, as the film's own map shows us:
Admittedly, flying past the Great Wall would help the pilots' plan to run the plane's fuel supply low and cause it to crash. But it would also give the game away, what with Jones being an educated, worldly adventurer who probably would tell they were off-course even without running into one of the world's most famous landmarks.
Robin Hood (Prince Of Thieves) Walks A Few Hundred Miles Out Of His Way
After escaping prison in the Holy Lands, Kevin Costner's Robin of Locksley and his new buddy Azeem head to England, washing up on the shore next to the White Cliffs of Dover. It's not only great scenery, but it makes sense. The shortest route from Europe to Britain is to cross the English Channel from Calais to Dover.
At this point, Robin turns to Azeem and says, "By nightfall, we'll celebrate with my father." Fair enough. The guy's excited to be home (which is made clear when he acts as if he's on the verge of performing cunnilingus on the sands of merry ol' England). But this brings up the first problem, which is that Nottingham is 200 miles from Dover. Even if they can somehow get a couple of horses (they're only shown on foot), that's going to be a few days' journey. But hey, we'll give them that. Maybe they do get horses at some point. Maybe they find a great paved road and haul ass the whole day.
But that journey is made substantially longer if, say, Robin decides to take his new pal sightseeing all over the country. Which is what he does. Our next scene takes place around another historic landmark, Hadrian's Wall. There Robin -- a grown man -- ridicules Azeem for being so pathetic as to have fallen in love with a woman, before saving a young boy who is being chased by Guy of Gisbourne and his men for poaching deer.
That's a long way to go to kill a couple of bad guys. Because Dover is on England's south coast, while Hadrian's Wall was built on the country's northern border. Nottingham? It's pretty much in the dead center of the country. That's a hell of a detour, even if you're in a car.
So Robin and Azeem travel 200 miles from Dover to Nottingham, but keep going for another 150 or so miles, all the way to the northern border, get in a fight, then double back on themselves. And true to Robin's word, they're in Nottingham by nightfall. This also serves to make the Locksleys the wealthiest landowners in the country, since Robin claims Hadrian's Wall is "my land" -- meaning his family owns basically everything in the north. Maybe he had his people send a helicopter?
Gladiator's Maximus Rides A Horse For 1,500 Miles
Ridley Scott's sword and sandals epic opens with the Romans fighting and conquering the savage Germanic people in the Battle of Vindobona. After securing victory, General Maximus Decimus Meridius is asked by Marcus Aurelius to become the regent of the Roman Empire, because the Emperor's son Commodus is that special kind of sociopath who stares lustfully at his sister, threatens his young nephew, and would probably murder his father.
Things happen pretty quickly for Maximus from there, as Commodus does indeed kill his own father, then calls for his "brother" Maximus to still be his loyal friend -- which Maximus is immediately suspicious of, because Commodus isn't exactly the "loving family man" type -- then tries to have Maximus and his wife and son executed.
Maximus manages to escape his death sentence, although not without taking a sword to the shoulder, before jumping onto the closest four-legged beast and heading for home. He does spend a night resting and tending to his wounds, but sets off the next day riding so hard that his poor doomed horse keels over and dies from exhaustion.
So Maximus gets up and sprints the rest of the way. And of course you would. It's your family's life at stake, so for sure you'd go as fast humanly possible. But let's talk humanly possible. Because travelling from Vindobona to Trujillo is a ... substantial ride.
While it's long gone, Vindobona was a Roman fort situated pretty much on the site of modern-day Vienna, which is in Austria's northeast. Trujillo is in Spain's west. So this is a journey across Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, and Spain. We're talking roughly 1,500 miles, as the crow flies.
That's three days solid driving if you're in a car on smooth European roads, and we're pretty sure the autobahn wasn't quite finished in 180 CE. This is a trip that would take weeks, yet Maximus does it so fast that me manages to ride his horse literally to death, then gets up and runs the remainder of the trip. Dead horse or not, that's the kind of primitive instant-travel you rarely see outside of Game Of Thrones.
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen Fails As Only This Franchise Can
Alright, pointing out the geographic issues with this movie is like complaining that someone didn't sort the recycling in a dumpster fire. Still, it's instructive just how spectacularly it disregards the concept of time and space in the name of getting a cool visual.
Let's start with Sam Witwicky and his crew finding Jetfire, a Decepticon who has been hiding in plain sight at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.
After he's awakened, the aging Transformer breaks one of the hangar's doors and walks out into a vast desert field full of Air Force jets, with huge mountains visible in the background.
From there, they head to Egypt, which is possible in a matter of seconds, since Jetfire can teleport. (Although this particular skill isn't how they got from Virginia to a desert -- that's just apparently where the Smithsonian is now.) Jetfire says it's because they need to find a particular artifact in "This desert." Teleporting them to Egypt is a pretty crappy thing for Jetfire to do, though, considering they actually need to be in another cool-looking location, Petra, to get their MacGuffin. Petra is in fact in a completely different desert, in a completely different country -- Jordan, which has an entire other country between it and Egypt.
Still, Sam and co. make the 350-mile journey, over mountainous terrain, across two countries and some of the tightest borders in the world, in a couple of hours. Which, again, is only more ridiculous when you remember that there's a character who can literally teleport all over the world in seconds. It seems oddly appropriate that instead of changing a couple of lines in the script, Bay just reshuffled the layout of the actual world to make it fit.
For more, check out 7 Ways You're Completely Wrong About Egypt's Pyramids:
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