When we watch this summer's blockbusters, we're already prepared to suspend our disbeliefs. Nope, no one would be dumb enough to bring dinosaurs back to life. They will eat you! But the studios also know that, whether it's a huge action picture starring Dwayne Johnson or an equally huge Pixar movie geared toward kids, fiction requires a basis in reality in order to keep our attention. That's why they often hire scientific consultants to make sure their plots, if outlandish, have the flavor of truth.
Sometimes, though, they fail.
"I go to the cinema to have fun, to be entertained," Sally Le Page, a Ph.D candidate in evolutionary biology at Oxford, told Refinery29. "In the same way I would suspend disbelief about magic in the universe, to some extent, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief about bad science, because I am aware that they're trying to make a good story, and that some things have to be tweaked a bit. But if there's something that's glaringly obvious, particularly if it's something in my area [of expertise], that might detract a little bit. You start thinking, 'Actually, is that possible? Would that really be the case?' You really ought to just be thinking about what's happening to the characters."
Well, with the help of Le Page, host of the popular Shed Science YouTube series
and now GE and Fullscreen's Creator-in-Residence
, we've looked at some of the scientific errors Hollywood has made in the name of fiction. Some of these are glaring to us laypeople, others required a bit of expertise to catch.