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Sci-Fi "Goofs" People Need to Get Over

  • Aug 18, 2010
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I hate hearing gripes from people about space-based movies about how it would be in real life... sorry it's called science-FICTION for a reason. If you want real life watch Nova or maybe the ISS coverage on some obscure cable channel. Here is a list of the few that bother me the most to hear complaints about. Without suspension of disbelief all sci-fi action movies would be as boring as well.... the aforementioned space station channel.
Sound in Space
Probably the biggest. Without the growls and hisses of starship engines and thrusters, the karrangs of phaser & blaster-type weapons, and the shockwaves of big explosions you can literally feel thanks to sound systems such as THX no space movie would be worth watching. Of course sound doesn't travel through space, but how would you feel about every scene in the vacuum being completely silent, think of every epic space battle in Star Wars, every time the Enterprise enters combat with a villain of the week, the massive fleet in Starship Troopers being shot out of the sky. Now imagine them with out the ominous grumble of a star destroyer, the wisping of a tie-fighter's engines being followed by the plop of a x-wing's blasters, the creaking of metal falling apart on a battle damaged ship and the crescendo every ship in every sci-fi flick makes before making that impressive jump to light speed or warp power. Sorry, I'll keep my unrealistic sounds because in the end none of my favorites would be that great without it.
Everyone Speaks English
This goes somewhat hand-in-hand with the 1st one. How much would a movie full of lazer sword fights, blaster stand-offs and space combat be slowed to a crawl if every time our heroes met a new alien they had to figure out how to communicate with them? Well.... watch a good amount of Enterprise episodes and you will find out, even their attempts to make it creative, or to add a tense to the situation generally do not work; with few exceptions. The 1st act of the episode with the Ferengi comes to mind. Other than that the idea of a universal translator in most shows is not just a tool of necessity to the characters, but also to the writers who care more about having an entertaining story than worrying about the intricacies of inter-species communication. I especially like the use of "Basic" as English is called in Star Wars as a primitive language most species throughout the galaxy at least understand. When you think about it everyone in Star Wars is an alien to us, even the humans since I don't think Earth is in a galaxy far, far away.

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March 09, 2013
Nice list, I think Battlestar Gallactica is the only show I've seen that manages to get around the first three common problems, as there are no aliens to communicate with, and I think the use of sound outside the ships themselves is extremely subdued. Not that its not present at all, but its very quiet.
October 01, 2010
Excellent points, all -- I do agree that the 'science purists' need to remember that this is Fiction. Your comment on Generation Ships struck a spark of memory for me -- there was a series of stories set inside a Generation Ship way back in the 1960's, serialized in "Boy's Life" magazine. I wish I had saved those old issues, because the stories were really good, and I now want to know who wrote them and to read them again...
August 21, 2010
Screaming tie fighter FTW!!!!!!!!! Great list.
August 19, 2010
Very funny list. I'm especially thankful the THX people decided that space ships need a thundering subwoofer soundtrack :)
August 19, 2010
Definitely. The 1st scene of star wars really defined what a space ship should sound like, especially after being remastered.
August 18, 2010
Thanks guys, ya you probably could just write down everything that happens in a sci-fi movie, like lasers travel at the speed of light and would probably not have visible beams, inter-species erotica, etc. These were mostly just the things where people that try to act too smart during a movie and go like "meh, you wouldn't really be able to hear that space fight" bug the hell out of me. It's just a movie. It's not like they added sound effects to a real space walk for the news or something. There's some other stuff I was going to put on a different list that I don't particularly think are goofs, but things that are incredibly convenient in space.
August 18, 2010
Super list and fun to read, thanks. I'm sure that there even a few more that you could have listed (Scotman hit on Time Travel and then there is the artificial gravity on spacecraft and gravity being the same on most habitable planets that are visited) but I think you covered the biggies quite well. 2 thumbs up!
August 18, 2010
Thanks for reminding us of things that we already know but never think about. I remember a Flash Gordon episode where he located a bomb inside his space ship in outer space and just opened the window and tossed it out!
August 18, 2010
Fun idea for a list. Good job!
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Alan Saastad ()
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