Science fiction is a classic film genre used to explore the outer limits of humanity’s imagination when it comes to technology and space. In doing so, writer and directors have no choice but to bend the rules of reality just a little bit. Since we haven’t invented things like light-speed travel or teleportation, movie audiences are willing to accept a little bit of sketchy science in their favorite sci-fi movies. Sure, scrambling someone’s molecules to beam them up to the mothership would likely kill them instantly. But we can pretend that the characters in the movie know something we don’t.
Sometimes, though, directors ask for too much leeway. In their attempts to produce a classic sci-fi film, many of them completely ignore basic science. Sometimes it’s intentional, but more often than not it’s merely a mistake, only noticed later by the ultra nerdy types who make up the target audience. Like us, actually.
Here are 13 science-fiction movies (okay, some of them blend the genre a bit) that seemed to forget exactly how science works. We’re not saying these movies are bad.
Many of them are among our favorites! That doesn’t mean we can’t point out bad science, even if just for fun.
13. The Matrix – Humans are Terrible Batteries
The Great War between the humans and the machines in The Matrix started when artificial intelligence went haywire. Humanity, in their infinite wisdom, somehow managed to permanently blacken the sky and cut off the machines source of power — solar energy. The machines quickly pivoted to using humans themselves as a sort of battery, and an uneasy balance was struck. Humans were plugged into the Matrix, a virtual reality world that seemed normal. In exchange, they have unknowingly used to power the machines. Only a small band of resistance fighters knew the truth.
The real truth, though, is this: humans make terrible power sources. We don’t produce much heat or electricity. There’s a good reason that we die quickly when left exposed in the cold. The machines didn’t need us at all. They could have just wiped us out quickly and spent their time perfecting things like nuclear energy. Or wind power. Or geothermal/natural gas fuels. Any of those things would have worked better, with the bonus of not having to fight a war against the Zion resistance fighters who had a literal God on their side.