Close Encounters of the absurd Hollywood kind
John Cusack movie 2012 tops Nasa’s league of least authentic scif-fi movies
Nasa has given Hollywood a rocket for abusing science in the pursuit of blockbusters. Boffins from the US space agency, together with members of the Science and Entertainment Exchange (SEE), have published a list of the worst sci-fi films ever made.
The SEE was set up by America's National Academy of Sciences to provide a bridge between the entertainment industry and scientists in order to make film plots as authentic as possible. Clearly there is still much work to be done.
Top of the list of Nasa's no-nos was 2012, starring John Cusack and Thandie Newton, which was described as the most "scientifically flawed of its genre". Also making it into the hall of scientific shame was Arnold Schwarzenegger's The 6th Day (in which clones try to take over the world), Volcano, and Armageddon, where Bruce Willis uses a nuclear warhead to prevent a collision between a giant asteroid and planet earth.
But it was 2012 that came in for the most criticism, a film that according to Nasa left many in America fearing for the future. "The agency is getting so many questions from people terrified that the world is going to end in 2012 that we have had to put up a special website to challenge the myths," said Donald Yeomans, who runs the agency's Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission. "We have never had to do this before."
In the film, the earth's core is over-heated due to solar radiation, causing a catastrophic chain reaction of earthquakes, tsunamis and eruptions. Not only do thousands die but the London Olympics are cancelled, Mount Everest is consumed by a tidal wave and Las Vegas is swallowed by the Nevada desert.
As Yeomans keeps telling anxious Americans, such a scenario is "absurd", though his pithy assessment is unlikely to trouble the makers of 2012; the film has taken an estimated £500 million at the box-office and through DVD sales since its release in 2009.
The list of worst sci-fi films ever (see below) came out of a recent Nasa/SEE conference in California. Some films did meet the conference's high standards. Among the movies commended for their authenticity were Gattaca, the 1997 movie that featured Jude Law and Uma Thurman, and Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece, Metropolis.
WORST SCI-FI FILMS:
1 2012 (2009)
2 The Core (2003)
3 Armageddon (1998)
4 Volcano (1997)
5 Chain Reaction (1996)
6 The 6th Day (2000)
7 What the #$*! Do We Know? (2004)
MOST REALISTIC FILMS:
1 Gattaca (1997)
2 Contact (1997)
3 Metropolis (1927)
4 The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
5 Woman in the Moon (1929)
6 The Thing from Another World (1951)
7 Jurassic Park (1993) ·
Comments are now closed on this article