Factual error: The surviving space shuttle takes off from the asteroid horizontally, like an airliner taking off from a runway. This is absurd. There is no air to provide lift for the wings, so the shuttle - with its engines providing thrust straight back - would simply trundle along the ground like a car. It doesn't use its maneuvering jets at any time, and they are far too feeble to lift the weight of the shuttle anyway. Nor do they gimbal the main engine, which would lift the shuttle vertically on an axis through the centre of the engine - they swoop gracefully into the air after a long take off. Second, they'd have to count on finding a clear length of ground on a debris strewn asteroid. Vertical takeoff, anyone?
Factual error: En route to the asteroid, the two space shuttles head to the Russian space station to refuel. To simulate gravity, the cosmonaut aboard the space station fires a few rockets to put the space station into the spin. How fast does it need to spin to reproduce Earth gravity? Assuming the space station's spoke arms (where the shuttles dock) are about 50 feet long, the answer is 8 revolutions a minute. That makes it impossible to dock - it'd be like trying to drive a car on ice-covered roads into a spinning parking garage. There's another, more fundamental, problem: the artificial gravity points in the wrong direction. Think of spinning rides at the amusement park. The spinning motion creates an artificial gravity, an effective outward-pushing force. On the space station, the spinning would tend to throw the astronauts down the station's spoke arms and back onto the shuttle. Also, the artificial gravity would taper off to nothing at the centre. But the movie's artificial gravity somehow points down, not outward, and appears to work equally well throughout the station.
Continuity mistake: After Sharpe and Stamper have the argument on the asteroid, Truman says they need the radio back up. When he says this, you see the countdown clock for the asteroid which is at five hours and 12 minutes. A bit later in the film, after the nuke was shut down by a technician at NASA, one of the Air Force Sergeants takes the terminal. In the background, you can see the clock again but the time on it is at six hours and 49 minutes.
01:37:00 - 01:42:50
Factual error: In the Russian space station, A.J. and Lev are running to the Independence shuttle. But as the space station is falling apart, a piece of it crashes into the other end of the hallway they are currently running through. There is no way they would make it to the shuttle even with it being a few feet away; they'd get sucked out into space almost immediately.
Continuity mistake: At the end of the movie, after the asteroid explodes, we see Grace looking through the glass and there are reflections of NASA controllers cheering. The same shot was used earlier in the film to depict Grace looking upset at some bad news. The camera zoomed into the picture a bit, but you can still see one controller cheering.
Factual error: It's explained in detail how the impact will cause a horrible freak tide, what it will do, and that one half of mankind will die in the nuclear winter. That's absolutely irrelevant. The asteroid is "the size of Texas," that means a quarter of a million square miles. Such an impact is called ELE (Extinction Level Event). A bigger part of the Pacific Ocean would evaporate immediately, so no matter if a wave or not. The earth would become "sterilized." So no lifeform will live long enough to die in a winter. (So it is nonsensical to compare that impact with the event 65 million years ago. It's much different).
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).
Continuity mistake: There are two crews boarding their spacecraft, called "Freedom" and "Independence." They are mounting a ramp and when on top, there is a crew member who directs the two different crews toward their ship: "Independence on the left, Freedom on the right." We even see the ships (in their initial launch phases) right next to each other - you can see one right next to the other as they launch. Then, once they're airborne, we see a long shot of the two bright engines, miles apart.
01:03:35 - 01:06:25
Continuity mistake: During the scene where AJ is playing with cookies on Grace's stomach on the last night before the launch, the car behind them alternately appears and disappears as well as moves around. Best example - wide shot shows them well behind the car, then in a shot of Grace her head's right by the tyre.
Factual error: In the scene with the "lunar roll" (where both shuttles Freedom and Independence are being sling-shot around the moon), they are said to be experiencing "9 and a half G's for 11 minutes". But during this time, the crew members are screaming at the top of their lungs at each other. Under that much pressure it would be nearly impossible to breathe, let alone scream. Even if they're wearing G-suits, with the helmets off, they would be directly exposed to the pressure.
Continuity mistake: Just after Harry says "prepare the world for bad news," air raid sirens start. There's a panning down shot of some air raid speakers next to a Coca-Cola ad, with a truck parked in front of it. The angle then changes to a shot down the street (same street, same speakers, same Coca-Cola ad), except the truck isn't in front of the ad any more.
Factual error: During the teams physicals, the doctor mentions Ketamine. While Ketamine is a sedative it is not strictly an animal sedative. Ketamine is a mid-range sedative that doesn't even put the patient to sleep. I use it in the ER I work in almost every day to set broken bones on children. The good doctor was a bit overly dramatic when describing the drug.
Factual error: In the beginning of the movie, in the scene when the oil well "blows out," pipe starts flying into the air and oil shoots out everywhere. It does not happen like this. When an oil well "blows out" while drilling, the drilling fluid would be the first to come out, followed by the oil. Besides, the crew would shut the blow out 'preventers' long before the fluid would fly out as forceful as in the movie. Also the pipe would not fly out unless no preventive measures were taken. In a subsequent shot, they show one of the roughnecks turning a valve to shut the well in. In real life, the blow out preventers would have to be closed by actuating a hydraulic closure ram.
Continuity mistake: When the two shuttles are trying to land on the asteroid, the shuttle Independence crashes, and it is shown crashing upside down and sliding across the surface of the asteroid. Later, having survived the crash, AJ and the Russian are outside the shuttle and it shows it sitting on it's belly, right-side up, with the words United States visible. How did the shuttle suddenly flip itself upright when moments before it was upside down?
Continuity mistake: When the astronaut Sharp comes to his senses and decides to disarm the bomb while it is counting down, the digital readout is just all wrong. Bruce Willis is talking to him and the time reads 40 seconds left. After a good 20 seconds of talking, he starts working on the bomb with a screwdriver and the time reads 35 seconds. Next time we see it, it reads 30 seconds, then when the cover that holds the timer is removed it looks like it reads 45 seconds.
Continuity mistake: When Harry is golfing off of the oil rig, the holes on the golf ball are spaced about a yard away. In the next shot, before he hits it, the holes are right together. It also goes from saying just "Srixon" to "3 Srixon," then the lettering gets angled, then he finally hits it.
Continuity mistake: Truman is seen in Florida talking with the astronauts prior to lift-off. From the same command center, he controls the entire mission. But Mission Control for all missions is in Houston, Texas. Once the rocket "clears the tower," Mission Control in Houston takes over. How can Truman be in Florida, then appear in Texas a few seconds later?
Factual error: Steve Buscemi opens fire with what appears to be a variant of a General Electric GAU-8/A Gatling Gun which has an effective recoil of approximately 10,000 pounds-force (45 kN) per round discharge of armor-piercing ammunition. The vehicle carrying the cannon does not buck upwards or backwards at all. When the significantly decreased gravity of the asteroid is factored into consideration, at the very least the vehicle should have rocketed backwards or flipped upside down! Additionally, the barrels would have been cold-soaked to something close to -273° Celcius when the spinning asteroid was pointed away from the Sun, the heat generated by the rapid fire rate (combined with the friction of the slugs passing through the barrels) would certainly cause the frigid barrels to shatter like glass. And why would NASA fit a Gatling-Gun on a drilling platform in the first place? There are chemical lasers that would be much more effective and certainly lighter in weight should a mission call for the option of blasting one's way through an obstacle.
Continuity mistake: The montages around the world show a boy listening to a transistor radio. In order to make it look truly Americana the boy has an old-fashioned earphone in one ear but continues to hold the transistor radio up to his ear as though the speaker were working in addition to the headphone.
Factual error: During the movie's opening scene, you watch the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs some 65 million years hitting Earth near the Caribbean (you can see Cuba and Yucatan). 65 million years ago, Earth's continents were in different locations and most of the Caribbean looked very different.
Continuity mistake: At the beginning of landing shuttles on the asteroid, Col. Sharp, pilot of Freedom, was wearing a black short sleeve T-shirt. At the moment of landing on the ground, he's wearing a flying jacket even not leaving his seat yet. Did he have enough time to put on his jacket during such an emergent situation?
Character mistake: In the President's speech he says that 'The Bible calls this day Armageddon'. That is not correct. In John's Revelation 16 verse 16 it says 'And he gathered them on the place which in Hebrew is called Harmageddon'. Even aside from spelling variations, Armageddon is a place, not a point in time.
Add timeJacob La Cour
Other mistake: In the scene where the asteroids are hitting New York, there is an exterior shot of one of them hitting the South end of Grand Central Terminal. Another shot goes by and the film cuts to the main area inside the station, which is close to where the first asteroid hit. There is not one hint of damage, or any discernible reaction from the people inside from the first impact.
Deliberate mistake: Before the two shuttles dock to the MIR station, Lev initiates a rotation to simulate gravity. The shuttles then dock with their side hatch pointing to the anchorage. As the gravity is pointing away from the centre of revolution and the station is revolving around its main corridor, the gravity would push the astronauts back in to the shuttle and not towards the floor of the gangways leading to the shuttle or towards the floor of the shuttle. Also, the artificial gravity would be reduced to almost nothing at the main corridor. But here the artificial gravity somehow points down in every part of the station, and appears to work equally well throughout the station.
Continuity mistake: The front of the space shuttle explodes twice. After we see it explode the first time after it first gets bombarded with projectiles, in the very next shot, we see the front half of the plane with two crew members floating around inside at which point we hear: "Houston!". Then the front part of the shuttle blows up again.
Visible crew/equipment: During the scene when the crew is trying to disable the bomb, the camera pans in from a wider shot to a close up twice, once at the start of the scene and once towards the end. During the second pan, on the left side of the screen, the matte box or some other part of the camera can be seen.
Continuity mistake: When AJ bumps into Bear his shirt is very dirty on his right side, but as he runs up the stairs it is much cleaner and has a sweat mark around the neck line. Next shot on the tower and the sweat is not in the same pattern. After he slides down the cable the dirt is in a different pattern again.
00:14:10 - 00:15:00Bill McIntyre
Factual error: When the first shuttle has crashed, you can see that one of the characters (I think it was Liv Tyler's fiancé) has torn gloves. Together with the issue of decompression, in space it is about -260 degrees celcius - he would lose his fingers and could even die.
Revealing mistake: When Ben Affleck riddles the shuttle's fuselage with the bullets from armadillo's gatling and then rams it to get outside, it can be seen that the side wall of the ship is paper thin. Now, I know titanium is a sturdy stuff but don't believe such a flimsy construction would be enough to stand the ordeal of a space flight with gravity loads during the start, escaping/entering the atmosphere and pressure difference in the vacuum of space.
Factual error: In the Paris meteor scene, the POV is from the walkway of Notre Dame cathedral, with a very famous gargoyle in the RH side of the frame. From that POV, the Eiffel tower is visible, but the L'Hôtel national des Invalides (Napoleon's Tomb, the gold-domed building in the foreground) is in the wrong location. To show both of those structures in those positions, Notre Dame would have be located about a mile southwest of its actual location.
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