People watch movies for a variety of reasons: to relax, to dream, to feel or to learn about something. I’m sure a lot of you also watch movies to escape from reality, and that’s perfectly normal. Hollywood knows this and sometimes goes an extra mile in moving the plot and action farther from reality. It’s not that filmmakers don’t consider their audience smart but they tend to sacrifice scientific or simple common life accuracy for the sake of the plot. You’ve all found yourselves exclaiming at some point while watching a movie “Come on, that never happens in real life…”. Some of the unrealistic things that film makers love to show us might be mildly annoying while others might actually affect our real lives if taken seriously. I will randomly explore below five of these unrealistic things from movies.
1. The Depiction of Computer Hacking
As you are reading this you are most likely sitting in front of your computer or laptop, relaxed. The way Hollywood shows it you might as well start typing code very fast and you will hack even the most protected database. Also you could move to my computer and almost instantly crack my passwords, block my credit cards and empty my accounts; movies show us the computer wizards able to just write a few lines, create a virus or a Trojan, deploy it and boom…full access. In real life, not only does a complex virus take months to prepare and create but it also takes time to work its magic, infect the computers and reach its goal. Hacking is science, not improvisation.
2. Bank Transfers
How often did you see movies where the bad guys ask for hundreds of millions of dollars to be transferred to their account of choice, wait for instant confirmation from the computer of one of their associates and then proceed? Most of the times Hollywood shows us a screen where the amount keeps growing in real time as it’s transferred until it reaches the chosen number in big green letters. Let me tell you something, that’s a fairy tale. Bank transfers and especially international ones and even more so with amounts that big involve a lot of paperwork, confirmations, checks and time. Just remember how long it took you last time you played a simple bill at at the bank.
OK, robberies are easy and always done by the book, or at least that’s what Hollywood wants us to think. There’s always a guy in his 30s or a very attractive girl of the same age, either dressed in black from head to toe if they enter at night or adopting unassuming disguises such as delivery man or gardeners during the day; they plan carefully, use clever gadgets and a career experience in breaking in and also take their time in methodically and cautiously raiding their target house. In real life, studies show that most burglars are inexperienced white males in their 20s, 85% of them are not professional and it takes them in average 8 to 12 minutes to rob a house and get out. Movies make robberies look way more glamorous than they usually are.
4. Jumping in the Water from Impossible Heights
Whether it’s Sylvester Stallone in “Rambo”, Harrison Ford in “The fugitive” or Arnold in “The 6th day”, our favorite heroes, pushed to the brink, jump or fall into water from enormous heights and almost always into a river or a waterfall. I won’t even get into how small the odds are of actually making it to the water considering the way a moving waterfall could throw you in any direction or into rocks; but if you do make it to the water (and pray it’s not shallow) you will not shake it off and get out instantly as movies show us. Falling from a big height into the water is equivalent to falling on the concrete; the bigger the height, the stronger the impact so you’d better not fall onto your head. Broken bones and burst arteries would the the lesser of the damages.
5. The Always Successful Hit to the Head
One of the things that always intrigued me in movies is how a good hit to the head never fails. Hollywood has a rule that any hit to the head results in the victim being instantly knocked unconscious and waking up at a convenient later time with a bruise and, maybe, a headache. The human brain is one of the most fragile organs of the body; even the slightest hit could result in death if the position or impact is such. Concussions would be the best case scenario with brain damage or internal bleeding as likely effects of a hit as strong as the ones usually shown in movies. So people, be careful and try not to be hit in the head because you will not be waking up and saving the day.
What are the unrealistic things that annoy you the most in movies?