Movies are often entertaining, but they’re not always accurate. Understandably, many filmmakers are more interested in creating dramatic, stirring films than they are in providing accurate information. After all, they’re entertainers, not educators.
Sometimes, the plot of a movie or a film’s dramatic appeal depends on a misconception. For example, a woman who normally uses only 10 percent of her mental capacity may suddenly use all her brainpower. As an instant genius able to perform marvelous feats, she is a much more intriguing character than one who lives an ordinary life.
Whether accidentally or intentionally included, misconceptions appear in a variety of films.
The misunderstanding that fingernails proceed to develop after dying seems to have been popularized by The Tingler (1959) by which Vincent Value performs pathologist Dr. Warren Chapin. He explains that “an awesome many issues proceed to stay within the human physique” after dying. For instance, fingernails nonetheless develop.
Chapin couldn’t have been a lot of a pathologist if he believed what he stated. Medical science teaches us that fingernail development will depend on glucose producing new cells. Since lifeless individuals don’t eat glucose—or anything—there’s no provide of the sugar.
The misunderstanding that fingernails proceed to develop after an individual dies in all probability stems from the truth that dehydration causes the pores and skin across the nails to retract, which makes the nails look longer.
Gary Pullman, an teacher on the College of Nevada, Las Vegas, lives south of Space 51, which, based on his household and pals, explains “lots.” His 2016 city fantasy novel, A Entire World Stuffed with Harm, out there on Amazon.com, was printed by The Wild Rose Press.
2. The Viking
For decades, movies featuring Vikings have shown Norse warriors wearing horned helmets. The Viking (1928) is only one such movie based on the mistaken idea.
The misconception probably began in the 1800s when illustrations of fierce Scandinavian warriors showed them wearing helmets adorned with horns. The Viking costumes designed for Richard Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen included horned helmets, which may have led to the stereotype.
In reality, no evidence supports the idea that Viking helmets were equipped with horns. In illustrations from the Vikings’ time, they are shown with bare heads or wearing simple iron or leather helmets. So far, one complete Viking helmet has been found in Norway in 1943. Made of iron, it had a rounded cap with a guard for the eyes and nose. There were no horns.
The comedy Swiss Miss (1938) stars Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as mousetrap salesmen who travel to Switzerland to sell their wares because they believe that the country known for Swiss cheese must also have more mice. The movie includes a scene in which Laurel cons a Saint Bernard out of the keg of brandy carried on the dog’s collar.
Prior to Swiss Miss, cartoons and humorous illustrations depicted Saint Bernards as coming to the rescue of stranded alpine hikers or mountain climbers. The kegs of brandy carried by the dogs kept the victims warm while help was on the way.
However, the idea that alcohol can keep a body warm is a misconception. Although drinking alcohol may initially help you to feel warmer, it actually reduces your core body temperature. So if you drink alcohol while stranded in the snow, you could suffer from deadly hypothermia.
Within the romantic comedy Merely Irresistible (1999), Nolan Traynor (Larry Gilliard Jr.) tells Amanda Shelton (Sarah Michelle Gellar) that males take into consideration intercourse 238 instances a day. He provides that they alter their belts every time they do.
Later, she notices that Tom Bartlett (Sean Patrick Flanery) doesn’t put on a belt and asks him about Nolan’s declare. After contemplating what number of hours a day he’s awake, Tom estimates that he thinks about intercourse as soon as each 4 minutes on common, which matches Nolan’s assertion.
Comparable claims have been superior by others with completely different time intervals between sexual ideas. To find out whether or not such claims are true, Terri Fisher and her crew of researchers used “expertise sampling,” a way by which topics report their ideas at random moments all through the day.
She issued clickers to 238 faculty college students, whom she divided into three teams. One group would click on each time they considered intercourse, the second group each time they considered meals, and the third group each time they considered sleep. On common, the lads considered intercourse 19 instances a day and the ladies, 10 instances a day.
It’s attainable that the scholars had been influenced by their directions to click on once they considered intercourse, meals, or sleep and so considered these subjects extra typically than they might have in any other case.
Wilhelm Hoffman and his colleagues employed a special strategy. Utilizing members’ smartphones, the scholars had been notified seven instances a day at random to report the subject of their present ideas. On common, members considered intercourse as soon as a day.
Though the outcomes of Hoffman’s examine can also have been skewed by giving directions to the members, each his and Fisher’s research recommend that Nolan’s declare is fake.
Author Michael Crichton outlined his 1990 novel like this: “Jurassic Park is based on the premise of scientists successfully extracting dinosaur DNA from the thorax of preserved prehistoric mosquitoes, cloning it, and recreating and breeding a variety of dinosaurs to roam a for-profit theme park.”
Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film adaptation of Crichton’s novel is based on the same premise. Unfortunately, it’s unscientific, although the misconception is one that many continue to believe.
A team of scientists at the University of Manchester studied insects preserved in copal, a resin from tropical trees that has not become fossilized amber yet. Although the copal samples were 60 to 10,600 years old, they contained no ancient DNA. As a result, it would be impossible to clone dinosaurs in the manner in which they were supposedly recreated in the movie.
Peter Benchley, who wrote the 1974 novel Jaws that impressed Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film of the identical title, regrets having written the very best vendor. On the time, he believed that man-eating rogue sharks existed, however he has since discovered that they don’t.
Worse but, his depiction of such a predator in his novel has “offered cowl for individuals who merely wished to exit and kill sharks beneath the guise of in some way making individuals safer,” stated Simon Thorrold, a senior scientist on the Woods Gap Oceanographic Institute.
The concept of man-eating rogue sharks isn’t the one false impression on which the novel and its movie adaptation are primarily based. The guide and the film characterize nice white sharks as territorial. In actuality, they aren’t. As OCEARCH founder Chris Fischer factors out, sharks don’t hunt people they usually’re always transferring from one place to a different.
In Flatliners (1990), a group of medical students decide to “flatline” themselves to investigate what happens after death. According to the movie, someone who’s flatlined can be defibrillated.
To understand why this is a misconception, it helps to know that an asystole is the absence of ventricular contractions for a length of time surpassing that for which life can be sustained. In such a case, the electrocardiogram will show a flat line.
As science journalist Karl S. Kruszelnicki explains, the use of paddles and jumper cables won’t work unless electrical activity is already occurring within the heart. By definition, “asystole” indicates that such activity has ceased. Shocking the heart won’t work.
In Double Jeopardy (1999), Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd) has been framed for killing her husband (who’s very a lot alive). She receives this authorized recommendation from a fellow inmate: Since Libby has already been convicted of murdering her husband, she will now kill him with impunity. The Structure’s safety in opposition to double jeopardy, which prohibits an individual from being tried twice for a similar crime, prevents her from being held accountable for the act.
Though Libby believes this false impression, she shouldn’t have. First, her fellow inmate doesn’t have a license to observe legislation. Second, the jailhouse lawyer doesn’t know what she’s speaking about.
Constitutional legal professional and creator John W. Whitehead explains the nuances of the legislation because it applies to Libby’s scenario: “The prosecutor acknowledged a particular time and place for the crime. If she had truly killed her husband later within the film, it might’ve been in a special metropolis and time, making it a special crime. Subsequently, double jeopardy wouldn’t apply, and she or he can be accused of homicide.”
Quite than kill her husband, Whitehead says that Libby ought to give the authorities proof that her husband lives. The court docket would then throw out her conviction and cost her errant husband.
9. 21 Jump Street
In 21 Jump Street (2012), Officers Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) arrest a suspect, but the police department is forced to release him because Jenko and Schmidt failed to read the suspect his Miranda rights. When Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) asks them what these rights are, neither officer is able to recite them correctly.
Jenko and Schmidt obviously need training, but so does their supervisor. The suspect arrested by the officers shouldn’t have been released from custody. The law does not require arresting officers to read suspects their Miranda rights at the time of arrest. Arrestees must be notified of their Miranda rights only if two conditions are met: arrest and interrogation.
The French science fiction movie Lucy (2014) revolves round the concept individuals use solely 10 % of their brains’ capability. Lucy, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson, is a younger American lady residing in Taipei, Taiwan, when gangsters kidnap her and power her to function their drug mule. When she by accident consumes a part of the unlawful substance she’s smuggling, she turns into an prompt genius with superb skills she’s by no means had earlier than.
The premise that Lucy might develop superpowers just by using the 90 % of her mind that may usually go unused relies on the persistent false impression tenth of our potential mind energy is all we usually put to make use of. On the Nationwide Public Radio program All Issues Thought-about, hosted by Eric Westervelt, neuroscientist David Eagleman mentioned the misunderstanding with Morgan Freeman, who performed Professor Samuel Norman within the film.
In response to Eagleman, the notion that we use solely a tenth of our brains is a fallacy. The truth is, we use 100 % of our brains on a regular basis. Ariana Anderson, a researcher with the College of California at Los Angeles, stated on the present that anybody who truly used solely 10 % of his mind “would in all probability be declared brain-dead.”
Eagleman suspects that the parable persists as a result of individuals need to consider they’ll tremendously enhance. Though it’s a false impression, the idea that 90 % of our brainpower stays untapped is “the neural equal to Peter Parker turning into Spider-Man,” he stated.