Silly Science Movies
April 26, 2006 9:25 PM   Subscribe

What (bad) movies about science and nature have you seen?

I'm trying to compile a list of movies about earth sciences. The subject matter can be anything from weather (ie twister) to volcanos (ie volcano). The main criteria is that there is at least one character who is a scientist and that character tries to explain some science concept. (If they explain it incorrectly that's fine, in fact the worse the explaination the better). So far I have: Dante's Peak, The Core, The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon.
posted by kechi to Science & Nature (31 answers total)
start here.
posted by kcm at 9:26 PM on April 26, 2006

Deep Impact
posted by frogan at 9:28 PM on April 26, 2006

Day after tomorrow.
posted by special-k at 9:28 PM on April 26, 2006

Volcano! Lava flows in the middle of LA. Anne Heche as the scientist that can't really explain anything. Tommy Lee Jones to the rescue!
posted by meerkatty at 9:30 PM on April 26, 2006

Anything with Kirk Cameron.
posted by unmake at 9:32 PM on April 26, 2006

I've seen the bad movie physics link before. That's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for.
posted by kechi at 9:34 PM on April 26, 2006

What the bleep do we know?
posted by 0bvious at 9:37 PM on April 26, 2006

The Day After Tomorrow

Specifically, the scene where a decrease in temperature chases them through a building.
posted by Hildago at 9:38 PM on April 26, 2006

Jurassic Park
posted by aneel at 9:51 PM on April 26, 2006

An oldie, but a baddie: Crack in the World
All the many versions of Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth
posted by rob511 at 9:57 PM on April 26, 2006

Pretty much anything lampooned on MST3k, specifically Clonus.
posted by tracicle at 10:28 PM on April 26, 2006

I remember Deep Blue Sea being terrible that way, but I only saw it once, in the middle of the night, and I don't recall too much of it. Just that nothing made any sense. (I remembered there was something with water and a door, which is also referred to on the imbd page, and that's how I was able to retrieve the movie title)
posted by easternblot at 10:29 PM on April 26, 2006

10.5, if tv movies count.
posted by clarahamster at 10:34 PM on April 26, 2006

I second what the bleep do we know.

Utter, utter crap. A complete misunderstanding of quantum mechanics misappropriated into a religion. Read up on "Ramtha" for more info.

God, that pissed me off.
posted by oxonium at 11:00 PM on April 26, 2006

Not for nothing, but wasn't Deep Impact based on The Hammer of God, by Arthur C. Clarke? I thought the science was okay there.
posted by arkhangel at 11:43 PM on April 26, 2006

Bad Astronomy movie review.
posted by zanni at 1:53 AM on April 27, 2006

Elizabeth Shue's scientist in The Saint must be among the most thinly written scientific characters in film history. I especially like the part where she calls a meeting of physicists at Oxford University just to tell them we really, really need some more environmentally friendly energy sources.

There's also Chain Reaction, where Keanu plays a scientist, which should give you enough of a clue as to plausibility in the film.

Buckaroo Banzai and Young Einstein are intentionally silly science wise.
posted by biffa at 2:55 AM on April 27, 2006

I am not sure about an actual scientist, but Vertical Limit has plenty of high altitute exposition sandwiched in between cheesy melodrama and stock characters, all wrapped in one of the dumbest plots I have ever experienced. It's jaw-droppingly stupid.
Easternblot: Deep Blue Sea might be silly, but you have got to admit that Samuel L Jackson's big speech near the begining is pretty cool. Its all down hill from there, though. The Abyss is a much better underwater movie that might suit Kechi's needs better, lots of SCIENCE! in it.
posted by AndrewStephens at 4:23 AM on April 27, 2006

Day of the Animals - the depletion of the earth's ozone layer causes animals above the altitude of 5000 feet to run amok.
posted by FreezBoy at 5:30 AM on April 27, 2006

The Core. Good lord that was bad - bad movie, and bad science.
posted by Cyrie at 6:04 AM on April 27, 2006

The Cave

Cleopatra 2525


The Lost Volcano



Earthquake 2010 (may be 'R'-rated)

IMDB is your friend.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:52 AM on April 27, 2006

To follow up Biffa's comment on Elizabeth Shue as a nuclear physicist in The Saint, there's also Denise Richards as nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough.

That's more ridiculous nuclear physicists than should ever have hit the big screen.

It's a tough call on who is worse...Shue trying to effortlessly explain cold fusion or Richards trying to make viewers believe that a drop-dead hot woman in her early 20s with a boob job would be in the middle of nowhere in Russia doing experiments on warheads. I'm going to give the award to Richards, though it's very, very close.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:39 AM on April 27, 2006

I don't know if hot physicists == bad science.

Also, I think The Core was an example of a movie where the producers at least made an attempt to stick to the science. I know the screen writers had degrees in physics and (I believe) geology, and in interviews they seemed to genuinely have tried to do their homework. It was a ridiculous movie, but more I think because of the plot and the acting than because the science was fundamentally flawed. I would give it a B- for effort, and I'd feel bad about putting it in the same category as something like Atomic Twister.
posted by Hildago at 7:53 AM on April 27, 2006


Not a movie, but in one episode of the TV show sliders, an asteroid was going to crash into earth. Some scientists launched a nuclear rocket at the asteroid to blow it up. The next scene shows several scientists standing outside looking at the rocket in flight. The rocket impacts the asteroid and, after a very long delay, the asteroid blows up. One scientist then claims the delay was due to the time the light took to travel from the explosion to earth.
posted by malp at 8:12 AM on April 27, 2006

When Worlds Collide has some gems.
posted by staggernation at 8:56 AM on April 27, 2006

Hey, Shue goes to Russia too! And strips down to her bra! It's like a sisterhood. Of science.
posted by biffa at 9:24 AM on April 27, 2006


A giant worm/snake/big bad creature terrorizes an isolated community and geologic field team.

My favorite line:
"There's no evidence of this in the fossil record!"
posted by luneray at 11:07 AM on April 27, 2006

Let's not forget the Kelly McGillis played an astrophysicist in Top Gun. I believe she also strips down to her bra.
posted by luneray at 11:10 AM on April 27, 2006

I have to second the call that hot woman does not equal bad science (at least in biology/chemistry) -- there are plenty of staggeringly hot women of science that I have either worked with or am in grad school with now and all on par with me, your typical dorky, frumpy, science nerd male in intellegence. Unfortunately, I haven't noticed too many of them (the science babes, not frumpy males) just stripping down to their bra at work/school. ;)

Denise Richards though... no, she was plain dumb in the dumbest Bond movie ever. Any why did they cast her in Starship Troopers as Carmen? Carmen was supposed to be fantastic at math! Why do they keep trying to make us think Denise can add any two numbers together correctly, much less understand nuclear physics?

Yeah, the worst science-type movie I remember seeing is The Day After Tomorrow.
posted by The Bishop of Turkey at 4:38 PM on April 27, 2006

posted by yodelingisfun at 8:05 PM on April 27, 2006

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