Best sci-fi movie factual errors of all time
Factual error: During the revolt, Carlo (Kim Coates) is attacked by several Psychlo gunships on the dome's roof. He then uses a Carl Gustav recoilless rifle to destroy one of them. Strangely, the missile he fires is heat seeking, evidenced by it missing the target and arcing back around to strike the gunship from behind. Carl Gustavs are not designed to fire heat seeking missiles, as they lack the tracking systems necessary to do so, since the weapon is an anti-tank rifle in real life.
Factual error: Twice in the film it is made clear that the Pym particle works by reducing the space between atoms in order to shrink an object, and by increasing it to enlarge them. This means that the object will weigh the same, whether shrunk or enlarged - it cannot be otherwise. A 90kg man the size of an ant would punch a hole through any surface upon which he stood (and couldn't ride ants), Doctor Pym has been walking about with a 60 tonne tank in his pocket, Darren Cross lifts a full grown sheep between finger and thumb, and the supersized Thomas The Tank Engine would be far too light to crush the police car (in fact it would float harmlessly away as it would probably weigh less than the air it displaced).
Factual error: In the scene where Neo is shot at by the French guy's henchmen, they shoot with different types of guns. 4 of these are submachine guns which would fire 9mm. Another is a M1928 Thompson would fire .45 APC. Lastly there is a Heckler and Koch G36K which would fire the drastically different 5.56x45mm NATO. When Neo stops the bullets, they are all 9mm Parabellum rounds.
Factual error: Trevor - a Professor of Geology - boasts about having an article published in Scientific American, and that is not something any scientist would do. Scientific American is looked upon with slight disdain by the scientific community, considered to be a populist crowd pleaser. It is not even peer reviewed. Considering that he has just turned the geological and archaeological worlds on their heads he would have been better off publishing in Journal of Geological Research or Geology, both prestigious professional journals.
Factual error: Not so much of a mistake, but I want one of those satellite phones. I have a mobile which I can't hear in my pocket, let alone a hundred meters away in the belly of a dinosaur or later buried in a mound of dino dung. There is no way a 2001 phone's tiny speaker could penetrate that much insulation.
Factual error: After Watney patches the blow out of one of the HAB's airlocks with plastic sheeting, tie down straps, and duct tape, he pressurizes the HAB and the plastic sheeting pushes out like an inflated balloon. Assuming the plastic and duct tape would hold this is correct, however the plastic would be much more taut given the pressure difference inside and outside. The real mistake is later in the scene during a sand storm the plastic flops in and out. The plastic would remain tautly inflated, since the inside pressure is much greater than outside, and since the HAB is airtight the storm would have no equalizing effect to cause the plastic to be sucked inward.
Factual error: During the final battle over Area 51, Russell Casse appears in his F-18 and states he is armed. After he attempts to acquire radar lock on the alien's primary weapon, he states he is locked on and has tone. He then says the tactical brevity code Fox-2, which indicates the launch of an infrared-guided missile. However, the missile he is actually attempting to launch is an AIM-54 Phoenix, which is an active radar guided missile, designated by the launch code Fox-3. The master monitor display also incorrectly shows the missile mounted on the port wingtip launcher of the aircraft where the AIM-9 Sidewinder would normally be mounted, instead of on the port wing's weapon pylon where the missile actually is. Historically, the F-14 Tomcat was the only fighter capable of carrying the AIM-54, as it was such a heavy missile; the AIM-54 was never used on the F/A-18. Instead, they carry the AIM-120 AMRAAMs, not the AIM-54 Phoenix that were shown in the film.
Factual error: Considering the brightness of the fusion process, Dr. Octavius has to wear special goggles to be able to see it. Yet no one else in the room is wearing such goggles or seem hurt by watching the whole process, just as at the end of the movie. When welding something, no one can look at the arc that's created, as it would hurt his eyes and burn his retina; presumably, the fusion process would be brighter and more powerful than that, and so should have some kind of damaging effect on everyone's eyesight (except Spider Man's, maybe).
Factual error: In the poster shot and in the film, the wave from the Atlantic 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. And even a wave coming from the east could not have made the JFK (CV-67) crash into the White House because the carrier has been retired in 2005 and is berthed in Philadelphia, which is northeast of Washington DC.
Factual error: The aircraft flying to rescue the British Royal Family are described as belonging to "an RAF search and rescue squadron." However the middle aircraft has white and green striped camouflage painted on it, which is a pattern only used by aircraft in 845 Naval Air Squadron (a Royal Navy unit).
Factual error: In the original Transformers, Tyrese Gibson's character is credited as and wears the rank insignia of a USAF Technical Sergeant. In Revenge of the Fallen, set two years later, Gibson's character now wears the insignia of a USAF Chief Master Sergeant, three ranks higher than his rank in the first movie. The USAF would not jump someone three grades into the top 1% of the enlisted force no matter what his heroics or experience (that does not even happen to Medal of Honor awardees). Clearly the screenwriters recognized this as Captain Lennox is bumped only one grade to Major despite his actions in the first film and Gibson's character, as noted in another mistake, is credited as Master Sergeant Epps, a reasonable promotion. The costume department simply got the insignia wrong.
Factual error: Take a look at Google Earth - the section of the Golden Gate Bridge Magneto breaks off (tower to tower, with a bit of overhang, 0.9 miles at most, more like 0.85) is not long enough to reach Alcatraz - the two closest points are 0.96 miles apart, and that's the very end of a pier, which most likely couldn't support the weight of the bridge anyway.
Factual error: When they first pick up the Mona Lisa, they show the back. There you can see a canvas sheet over a wooden framework. However, the Mona Lisa is painted directly onto wood, no canvas at all. The scan they run even says it's painted onto wood, despite visual evidence to the contrary.
Factual error: After the train crash, the teen characters discover cube-like items. One of them states it looks like a Rubik's Cube. The movie itself takes place in 1979, but the Rubik's Cube, although invented in 1974, was not licensed to sell in the USA until 1980. It was not even called a "Rubik's cube" until 1980 (prior to this, it was known as a "Magic Cube").