Wednesday, April 6, 2011

5 Types of Inaccuracies We're Willing to Overlook

These inaccuracies are the things we often hear from audiences trying to sound intelligent. Or maybe they forgot their suspension of disbelief at home and try to be Isaac Newton when they go watch a movie. This may sound hypocritical considering that I too poke fun at these sort of things all the time, like I did here and here. But hear me out.

I said hear me out!
Of course, I too cried out bullshit when the three Charlie's Angels glided their way into a foldout chopper, got it running in mid-air and flew their way to safety. I'm talking about inaccuracies here, not some bullshit action sequences. Some creative liberties film-makers often take, and we know that it's a bit of a stretch, but we ignore the science, physics and logic behind it because... Well, as I've said before, if you want to see physics at work you'll only have to walk outside and throw something, or tip something over.

#1 Sound in space
Seen in : Any movie taking place in space
I must have been eleven or so when I learned that you can't hear a damn thing in space. But almost immediately I thought it was okay because... Well, it would have been dull otherwise. Try watching any of the Star Wars movies or Armageddon [1998] on mute and tell me if you think that's better.

Click on the mute button when they're outside.

#2 Unlimited ammo
Seen in : Action movies, Sci-Fi
Characters in action movies never seem to run out of bullets, except only when it's convenient to the plot. Now this, I don't mind so much although I do draw the line somewhere. But for the most part I just accept it the way it is, so long it was never a serious, deeply-rooted in reality kind of a movie to begin with. Ignoring what's logic in this aspect was what gave us awesome scenes like that lobby shootout scene in The Matrix [1999].


I'll tell you another thing. Whenever I come across the term "unlimited ammo", I can't help but think of Commando [1985] and I love how brainless it was.


If you don't have the time, or for some reason you can't watch the video, let's just say Arnold Schwarzenegger mowed down an entire army, armed with some badass machine guns that magically reloaded itself, and of course, never ran out of bullets.

#3 Certain kind of historical innacuracy
Seen in : Historical epics, period piece, swords-and-sandals movies
This one is a bit of a gray area, but ultimately you really shouldn't expect to learn exact history from movies. That's why we have the Discovery channel. You see, our idea of the old days is very much romanticised. In my case I like to think that everyone back then is handy with a sword, and they get called to adventures all the time.

The reality? Well, there were more people making a living as farmers and slaves than lopping off the heads of barbarians. Like in Braveheart [1995], as inspirational as the real William Wallace might have been, the dude was more of a politician than a warrior-king. Gladiator [2000]? There never was a Maximus, and Emperor Commodus was actually a decent guy who got killed while he was taking a bath.

That's right, if it had been realistic, Gladiator would have been more like a rip-off of Psycho [1960], or some cheap horror movies.


#4 "Character shield"
Seen in : Disaster movies, horror movies and action movies
Character shield is an actual term, and although widely criticised, it is also widely accepted. What it basically means is that regardless of danger, and regardless of how many people die from something, the main characters are always seen walking away unscathed, or maybe with just a minor shoulder injury. Unless of course, that person had to die a heroic death.


But you could argue that these stories could be told only because the principal characters lived to tell the tale. After all, if everybody died in that plane crash, or nobody survived the meteor shower, we wouldn't have a movie and our only choice would be the likes of Sex and the City 2 [2010].

#5 Beyond the call of duty
Seen in : Buddy cop movies, war movies
In reality, people would very much rather not take their work home with them, much less sacrifice their lives for their jobs. But when it comes to buddy cop movies especially, you'll see these policemen working their asses off and continuously getting shot at, all the while getting no support even from their own department. At one point they will be suspended, hand both their badges and guns to their captain.

But will that stop them? Hell no. If anything, these cops work will only stand a chance to solve a case after they got suspended.


If it was reality? Chances are they'll just rant about how life sucks, and drink their lives away at a dodgy bar, or lock themselves in their garage and leave the car engine on. Honour and integrity alone can't keep you alive these days.

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