The Most Common Science Mistakes You'll See In The Movies

This is not from a movie, but it should be. Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock

Hollywood can sometimes have a strange view of science. Most of the time, science is too fast, too slow, too unsexy, or too complicated to be shown in its entirety. Equally, as works of fiction, movies are undoubtedly allowed a bit of fantastical “creative license“ when it comes to depicting science on the big screen in order to make things a little more interesting.

That said, there are many tropes within blockbuster films that are consistently the bane of scientists and nerds around the world.

Aliens Are Just Blue-Colored Humans

If TV and cinema is anything to go by, extraterrestrial aliens will look like a weird-colored human or a mash-up of other Earth-bound organisms.

There are nearly too many instances of this to mention, but Star Trek is regularly a culprit of dubiously recognizable humanoids. Klingons are just humans with a crease on their forehead, Vulcans are humans with pointy ears, Andorians are blue humans with antenna, and Ferengi are very ugly humans.

We are yet to encounter any life forms from outside of Earth’s atmosphere; however, it’s a fair bet to say they won’t be aliens with funny heads. They could be silicon-based, not carbon-based. They could breathe nitrogen, not oxygen. Who knows!

Nevertheless, if we assume that alien life is subject to the same rules of natural selection as Earth, then we can make a prediction of what they might look like. A study in 2017 did exactly this and, let’s just say, they sure as hell don't look like a Klingon (pictured below).

This is what alien life probably looks like. University of Oxford


If Hollywood is anything to go by, hackers in movies wear black clothes, sit in a darkened apartment, and type frantically while “ACCESS DENIED” violently flashes up on the screen. One of the most hilarious examples of this is in Swordfish, where Hugh Jackman has 60 seconds to hack the Department of Defense with a gun to his head.

Realistically, hacking is slow, tedious, complicated, boring, and desperately unexciting to watch.

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