Adrian Helmsley: The moment we stop fighting for each other, that's the moment we lose our humanity.
It's not an accident that Wisconsin was chosen as the new South Pole in the movie, its position being 44N/90W, 44 being a number that Roland Emmerich tries to sneak into every movie he makes since his 'Moon 44' days. See more...
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Factual error: Given that the main characters are from southern California, it is unreasonable to believe that a father and his two children would drive the 1000 miles one way to spend a weekend camping in Yellowstone National Park, nor would they be able to return home in only a few hours, following the call from the mother.
Other: When the monk arrives with Jackson and the others at the gate leading into the secret entrance of the ships, the countdown to impact timer reads about 28 minutes. It is highly implausible that the group, which contains elderly and small children, are able to get to the top of what looks to be a 100 story staircase in less than 15 minutes without breaking a sweat. Once they are inside the hatch, the countdown to impact timer reads about 13 minutes.
Factual error: About an hour into the movie the plane with our heroes in it is being chased by a pyroclastic flow from the Yellowstone eruption. The flow at one point fully overtakes the plane. A pyroclastic flow is comprised of hot gas and rock sometimes over 1000 decrees Celcius. It not just dust and smoke. The plane would have been ripped apart by both the temperature and the fast flying rocks. Instead it came out of the flow without a scratch.
Audio problem: An early scene in the movie has Chinese soldiers recruiting Tibetans to work on a secret project which they are told is a dam. As the scene ends, the sound of explosives draws everyone's eyes towards the mountains, where the explosions can be seen several miles in the distance. The sight and sound of these explosions take place simultaneously. Sound travels much slower than light. In reality, there should have been some delay before the sound of the explosions was heard.
Continuity: When the decision to open the gates to let everyone in is made, the countdown is at 15 minutes. When the gate is fully lowered and people start running in, the timer is at 4 minutes. How can they get all the thousands of people on and raise the gates in 4 minutes? It took 11 minutes to go down and 30 seconds to get back up.
Factual error: The astrophysicists talk about the solar neutrinos "mutating" into new particles. This is pure pseudoscientific nonsense- there are only three possible types of neutrino, none of which interact with normal matter to any significant effect. Neutrinos regularly switch between these types. Also, particles don't "mutate", which is a genetic change. No physicist would use this term.
Factual error: In the poster shot and in the film, the wave carrying the carrier JFK into a collision with the White House comes crashing in from the west because the south portico of the White House is seen. The Atlantic Ocean is east of Washington, so the wave should come from the other direction.
Revealing: The scene of rioting in the UK features a load of police officers running through a crowd. All the officers shown are wearing black tunics and custodian helmets worn with chinstraps. This is obviously old stock footage from a protest in the 80's or early 90's as nowadays, (and especially in 2012) the tunic has not been worn as general wear for well over 15 years, and Brit cops are now better equipped for protests with body armour, NATO helmets, flame retardant overalls, etc.
Factual error: American officials, including the president himself, continually refer to the other G8 leaders as "heads of state". They are, in fact, heads of government. The United States is the only G8 country which combines the head of state and head of government into a single position. The others have a separate prime minister (or chancellor in Germany) and president (or sovereign in the UK, Canada and Japan). No American official is likely to make this mistake in reality.
Factual error: Little over an hour into the movie, Yellowstone blows up into a huge volcano. The pyroclastic flow that follows the camper is going at such a speed (the speed of the flow can be seen when the plane is in the air) that it would have overtaken the camper well before it has reached the plane. Even if the cloud would have been slowed down by hills, it would have, after the camper reached the plane, overtaken the plane long before it could take off.
Factual error: It's stated after the Yellowstone Caldera explodes that the Ash Cloud would hit Las Vegas first, then St. Louis, Chicago and so on. We see Jackson and his family land in Vegas, then the action moves to D.C., where we learn the V.P.'s chopper goes down in the ash cloud in Pittsburgh. A pyroclastic cloud that we see moves at 450mph. It would reach Vegas long before it reaches Pittsburgh. Vegas would have been long gone before Jackson and family could reach it.
Factual error: Air Force One is still complete when it strikes Ark 4 which is simply not possible. The aircraft would have been obliterated by the air pressure wave and the resulting huge tidal wave that hit it, so that only debris would have hit the Ark, certainly not the complete intact aircraft we saw.
Continuity: Right before the scene where the earthquake happens at the supermarket, we see the crack moving through the parking lot. The cars are parked parallel to the store. We see car after car shake, etc, until it gets close to the front door of the store. After the earthquake, when the news is on the TV, it shows the store after the crack has gone all the way through. The parking spaces and cars are facing a completely different direction.
Other: In the scene with the G8 meeting the American President is talking to the G8 members. The Russian President turns to his translator and speaks in clear Serbian language (not Russian!) 'do not go out, stay' (nemoj da izadjes, ostani). Then in the next moment the Russian President tells his translator in clear Serbian 'You can go now' (mozes da izadjes).
Plot hole: During the later parts of this movie there is much talk about 'continental displacement' and this appears to be happening in the film. The Earth's crust is falling apart because of the heating of the inner core, and all the cities seems to be falling apart since the ground can no longer hold them. When our cast finds themselves surprised to be already over China when they figured to be over the ocean, it is explained that Asia has actually moved from where it was. If this phenomenon is taking place globally, how come the monks in China don't seem to have been disturbed at all? In fact the bell the monk rings as the ocean approaches hasn't even been shaken. The arks are built in between the mountains, but the mountains are apparently fine. Shouldn't they be falling like the rest of the crust?
Factual error: When the plane takes off from Yellowstone after refueling, it begins its takeoff roll on runway 15. This means the heading is 150 degrees (South southeast). As it lifts off and clears the other end of the runway, we see it is runway 32 (320 degrees). The opposing ends of runways are 180 degrees apart. So the opposite end of runway 15 (150 degrees) should be 33 (330 degrees), not 32.
Factual error: Right when the plane takes off from the airport in Las Vegas, the plane barely misses the Wynn Venetian and hits the Eiffel tower at the Paris. This is impossible as the airport is at the far south end of Las Vegas Blvd. and these hotels are at the far north. They would have had to fly over four miles of other casinos before ever reaching them.
Continuity: When the door opens on the ark to let the mass of people in, there is a large yellow arm that starts to close in on Jackson and his family. The tunnel that his son is pushed into last minute had a large metal door open on it that instantly disappears like it was never there when the arm passes the opening.
Factual error: In the film, the world is falling apart because the earth's neutrino particles have mutated and are heating up the earth's core intensely. The top surface of the world would have been utterly destroyed under the pressure of such power before the core could have come close to beginning to boil.
Factual error: After taking off from Las Vegas for Tibet, our heroes try to refuel the Antonov in Hawaii, only to find the islands devastated. The route from Las Vegas to Tibet takes you nowhere near Hawaii. In fact, Hawaii is only 500 km (300 miles) closer to Tibet than Las Vegas. Also, they expect to go down somewhere in the South China Sea, but the route from Hawaii to Tibet would take them just north of Japan and nowhere near the South China Sea, which is 3000 km (1900 miles) further south.