Best sci-fi movie mistakes of all time

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Superman picture

Factual error: When Clark speaks to Jor-El for the first time in the Fortress, Jor-El says "I will have been dead for many thousands of your years..." Fine in theory - Baby Kal-El travelled to Earth at above light speed so time passed differently for him. However, as such, wouldn't Jor-El have seen Earth as it was thousands of years ago? Which also makes there a problem with all the things Kal-El was taught during his voyage to Earth, as Jor-El references Einstein by name, for instance, and he would not have existed at the point when Jor-El sent him to Earth.

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Darkman picture

Other mistake: At the carnival, you can see an African-American man staring at the camera for a while. I am unsure if he is a crew-member watching over the scene, or if he is just an extra trying to get onscreen.

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Suggested correction: He isn't staring at the camera. He's glancing over at Peyton and Julie as they are joyously dancing upon exiting the ferris wheel.

Phaneron Premium member

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Westworld picture

Plot hole: There is a barely credible explanation for the fact that a guest cannot be injured or killed by being shot in Westworld, but what about the vicious fistfight we see in the bar? People are injured or killed in bar brawls all the time, and this one was incredibly violent. How do they prevent guests from being injured or killed by the cutting and stabbing weapons we see in Medieval and Roman World? Guests are supposed to fight each other, not just robots - they cannot be 'programmed' to lose! Delos is going be sued into bankruptcy within a week of the first guest arriving. Quite apart from the legal position, think about the bad publicity! Who is going to pay the huge fees demanded by the parks owners when the media is constantly reporting on the guests who wound up dead or with life changing injuries?

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Suggested correction: The explanation given in the TV show would seem to easily apply to the original film as well: guests can be injured, but not to the point that it would leave a lasting mark. The park has access to futuristic medical techniques, so they can heal most non-life-threatening injuries easily. Also the guests almost certainly sign waivers, so in the event of serious injury the park isn't liable.

Suggested correction: It's easy to nitpick the factual details of "Westworld," the screenplay of which was written on-the-fly on a fairly limited budget, even by early 1970s' standards. Author Michael Crichton (who also wrote "The Andromeda Strain," "The Terminal Man," "Congo," "Sphere," "Jurassic Park" and several other technological thrillers) himself acknowledged that Westworld was more a visual story (like a comic book) than a cerebral piece of science fiction, and he learned on this movie that suspension of disbelief outweighed technical or even factual details, if he wanted to expedite the story in an hour-and-a-half. Crichton said he was having more fun and devoting more time to shooting the film than actually writing it, comparing the experience to playing cowboys and indians as a child. So, yes, Westworld is not much more than an adult fantasy with a number of plot holes that we are supposed to gleefully overlook, rather than analyze.

Charles Austin Miller

Except for blatant continuity mistakes you just invalidated every single entry on this site.

Suggested correction: Westworld ensure that any interactions with the robots are entirely safe for the patrons of the park. They cannot prevent humans fighting amongst themselves, just as Disneyland can't prevent people fighting there. People are also injured or die all the time in horse-riding accidents, but that won't lead to people suing Westworld. Due to the nature of the park, all the guests likely sign a waiver stating that any injuries are not the fault of the park.

Utter rubbish. Guests who were completely innocent bystanders could be killed or injured by the actions of other guests, notably in the bar brawl or by the explosion used in the jailbreak. We see one guest smash a barstool against the back of another guest - not a robot - which could easily have broken his spine. There is no question whatever that the owners and managers of the park would be held liable in this and many other cases, just as amusement park owners and managers nowadays are held liable when roller coasters or other rides go awry, injuring or killing guests.

The most plausible explanation would be a waiver that visitors to the park have to sign. The waiver would explain that while the robots cannot harm humans, other humans can, and the park is not held responsible. In the event of death or serious injury, the guest who caused it would face criminal charges and possibly a civil lawsuit. But a waiver would protect the park. Also, the rules of the park may be similar to those in the HBO Westworld series, where the robots cannot cause a "permanent mark", meaning they can injure guests as long as the injury is repairable.

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Men in Black II picture Men in Black II mistake picture

Deliberate mistake: When MIB agents exit the lift to get into the main hall of the MIB Office, the lift opens halfway up the wall and they need to go down a little platform. But when K and J return during the lockdown and face the trashcan with guns, the lift opens at floor level, so it can be conveniently peppered with bullets. (01:02:05)

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Suggested correction: The building is in lockdown so it is no surprise that the lift is changed to a less flamboyant version. Even in the first scene, there are some doors there.

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Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones picture

Revealing mistake: When Amidala and Anakin are eating and he cuts her a piece of the fruit and "floats" it back to her, the bite appears in the fruit a split second before she actually eats it. [This appears to be fixed in rereleased versions]. (00:53:40)

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Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials picture

Continuity mistake: There are missing boys in the movie. At the end of The Maze Runner, there are 8 boys that get out of the maze besides Teresa. At the beginning of Scorch Trials, only 7 get in the compound. When Thomas shows the stolen card to the others, there are 6 of them and they all escape with Teresa and Aris. When they get out the mall and enter the city, there are 5 of them besides Aris and Teresa. The last boy (called 'Jack' by cast and crew) dies in a deleted scene, the other two boys simply vanish without a trace or explanation.

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Thor: Ragnarok picture

Continuity mistake: When Karl Urban is defending the Asgardians, the dust covers on his rifles vary between being open and closed several times. M16 dust covers are sprung loaded - they open on the first shot and have to be manually closed afterwards.

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2001: A Space Odyssey picture

Other mistake: There is something drastically wrong with the design of the spherical 'Aries' moon shuttle. Some seats and many fixtures are 'upside down' relative to the up-down orientation of the shuttle itself, and we see loose food trays and equipment about the place as if this is routine. But - the shuttle is designed to land on the moon. What happens then? The moon has gravity, remember? There are going to be quite a few very disgruntled people dangling upside down like spiders, and there will be loose gear (and perhaps a stewardess or two) bouncing about all over the place. It is not a matter of stowing loose gear or lying flat on landing - some parts of the shuttle are upside down relative to others, which is why the stewardess has to do that famous 180 degree upside down walk. Whichever way you look at it the shuttle is going to encounter serious problems when it reaches a gravity well, which will occur whenever the engines are fired up, never mind landing on the moon.

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Suggested correction: The shuttle lands "on its back" with legs extending beyond the engines. As in most traditional sci-fi, and ALL actual, space flights to date, the launch (and landing) orientation for humans is to be on one's back. This minimizes blood being sucked down to your feet if you were sitting upright at launch - you could pass out. So we see this when the shuttle lands on the moon - the cockpit (red window) faces up (pilots on their backs, facing out the window). When we presume that the passenger cabin was 180 degrees spun around from the cockpit seating, they're still on their backs. Any loose objects would have been stowed before landing - the airlines don't lock down your bags, newspapers and coffee cups, right? They're loose in the cabin during flight, but put away on takeoff and landing.

Airliners do not fly upside down. The Orion shuttle cannot possibly operate the way it does if it lands in a gravity environment - some rooms are upside down relative to others - why else would the stewardess do the 180 degree vertical walk? It is an idiotic design flaw, and the posting is 100% correct.

The Aries passengers sit and stand with their feet down towards the moon. The pilots sit with their back down to the moon, as conventional astronauts do on Earth. But the attendant's 180-degree walk is completely wrong to the orientation of the shuttle's interior: it should have been only 90° if you look at the Aries exterior. One assumes that Kubrick preferred a longer, more cinematic shot, over a technically accurate shot. But nobody was upside-down to the moon.

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Capricorn One picture

Plot hole: The "death" of the three astronauts and the requirement to then fake the whole scenario of the failed mission was obviously unplanned - it came about because of an unexpected computer glitch which reported that they had burned up on reentry, causing a mad scramble to cover up the fake mission and kill the astronauts. Obviously it was planned to have the astronauts "return" to Earth as heroes after their supposed trip to Mars, maintaining their deception (under threat if necessary) for the rest of their lives. One problem. Every scientist on earth would be champing at the bit to get their hands on a sample of Martian rock. Samples would be worth billions, worth far more than Moon rocks are worth today. How was NASA going to explain they didn't have any? They could not possibly fake the rocks - Martian soil and rocks would have a number of identifiable characteristics that a smart first year college student could identify. Using Martian meteorites collected from the Earth's surface won't work, either - prolonged exposure to the Earth's atmosphere would leave tell tale weathering and chemical changes that would be instantly detectable. NASA have painted themselves into a corner and that is not something they would have failed to realise well in advance.

PEDAUNT

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Suggested correction: They could use meteors that had landed on Earth. This is one of the theories for the "faked" moon landing, that they either created the moon rocks from scratch, or collected meteors. As for the death of the astronauts, that's not a plot hole, it's the plot of the movie; the powers that be wanted the men to fake everything and return as heroes. When they wouldn't play along, it was decided they needed to be eliminated.

It is clear from the narrative of the film that it was planned that the astronauts would "land" safely. Using meteorites would not work - exposure to the Earth's atmosphere would mean (and has meant) that the rocks would show weathering and chemical changes that anyone would be able to detect.

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The Matrix Reloaded picture The Matrix Reloaded mistake picture

Visible crew/equipment: During the scene where Neo is talking to Agent Smith in the park area where Neo was talking to the Oracle, there is a close-up on Agent Smith's face. In his sunglasses you can see a bright white screen to reflect the light onto the faces of the actors. This isn't visible in any non-reflected angles. You can also see the cameraman on the other side. (00:51:15)

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The Nutty Professor picture

Visible crew/equipment: At the party towards the end, Sherman leaves and Carla comes after him. As she runs toward him, the battery pack slides down her leg.

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2012 picture

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?

polaris

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Captain Marvel picture

Factual error: Carol Danvers' name appears on her dog tags as "Carol Danvers," but US military dog tags list the surname first, then given name. E.g. "Danvers, Carol."

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Cube picture

Deliberate mistake: Leaven spends too much time thinking about if 645 and 372 are prime numbers to be believable. But she knows the factors of 649 and the result of 26 to the power of 3 almost immediately. Plus anyone with any maths knowledge whatsoever would know that any even number (or one divisible by 5) can't be prime, so 645 and 372 could be dismissed without even thinking about it.

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Dune picture

Other mistake: There is a scene in which Piter DeVries is talking about the Landsraad (one of the governmental organizations in Dune). Twice he mispronounces the name, saying "Lansdraad" instead.

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Armageddon picture

Factual error: The idea of two spacecraft blasting off together so close to each other at the same time is a joke. One would put the other at great risk. Not only is there massive fire and heat, but the vibrations from the noise of the exhaust do great damage to the surroundings. And there is great inconsistency about just how close the two spacecraft really are. The first still shot taken in the dark has them at different towers about 150 yards apart. But, then all the men take an elevator up ONE tower and are split apart into the two groups at the top of the tower. Furthermore, the launch takes place at Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39: the fixed and rotating service structures built for the Space Shuttle are visible. The pads at LC 39 are 8,700 feet apart (just over 1.5 miles). (01:00:00)

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier picture

Other mistake: Spock lifts his crew mates with the rocket boots. He passes deck numbers 35 through 78 from bottom to top. First off, deck numbers go from top to bottom. The bridge is on deck 1. Second, the Enterprise of that class only had 23 decks.

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The Day After Tomorrow picture

Other mistake: At the end of the film when they arrive in NYC looking for the library, we know that they survived because they are inside with a roaring fire burning. But where is the smoke up above, as Jack Hall approaches? There must be a chimney, or else they would have all died of asphyxiation.

kiazersoza

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Suggested correction: As already corrected, just because we can't see an outlet for the smoke doesn't mean there isn't one. White smoke against white snow is very hard to see.

Nik Rolls

But they were still burning the books, which meant the smoke should be black, if they stop burning the books, the smoke would have been white, which isn't the case in the movie.

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Planet of the Apes picture

Plot hole: The "video history" of the crashed USAF ship makes it very clear that the planet is uninhabited when they "landed". I can understand how a race of apes develops - they had a bunch of them on board. I can understand how a race of humans develops - they are descendants of the original crew. What I don't understand is...where the heck did all the horses come from?

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Suggested correction: Humans refer to parts of their own planet as uninhabited even though they are crawling with animals - vast areas of the Arctic are "uninhabited" even though polar bears and seals are found there. Were we to find a planet with nothing but primitive horses on it, we would label it as uninhabited. Apes and humans came from the crashed spaceship, horses were always there.

I agree with you Charles. Horses are native to Earth but, the Oberon lands on a planet light years from Earth so it's a big plot hole how horses from one planet could end up on another when the planet was not only uninhabited but, the Oberon was believed to be lost.

Again, the Oberon was a massive space station, genetically experimenting with many earthly lifeforms, including horses, apparently. The time/space-rift was very near Earth (Mark Wahlberg made the journey in about 25 seconds at the end of the film. Not years but seconds). The implication is that the Oberon passed through the rift, and much of the crew survived to continue their genetic research on what later became the Ape Planet. So, the Oberon initially arrived on a barren planet and introduced all of the biological and botanical species, including apes, horses, and everything else.

Charles Austin Miller

Suggested correction: According to the backstory, the space station Oberon was dedicated to genetic modification sciences. They were actually experimenting with animal genes in the safety of space (which kind of makes sense). Given that the Oberon was a truly gigantic space station, it's not too much of a speculation that they were experimenting on many different types of animals (not just apes). When the Oberon crashed on Ashlar, half its crew was killed, but half survived with a number of ship's systems still functional, and they continued their genetic research, possibly producing a number of Earthly species on the otherwise uninhabited planet.

Charles Austin Miller

That's just a wild guess. There hasn't been a single mention of horses on board the Oberon. Even if there were, why only horses?

lionhead

Wild guess? The Oberon was experimenting in genetic modification, which implies a broad range of research...and not just on great apes. The Oberon was gigantic enough to be an Ark.

Charles Austin Miller

So where are all the other animals?

lionhead

Exactly. Where are the birds, lions, lizards, etc?

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Resident Evil: Afterlife picture

Continuity mistake: Right after Bennett takes off in the plane, Claire throws a gun to Alice. Between the slow-motion shots, the gun switches position in mid-air before Alice catches it. In the shot of Claire throwing it, the barrel is facing to the right, meaning that it should be facing to the left in the shot of Alice catching it. But it still faces the right when she does. (00:58:30)

THGhost

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