The early 2000’s saw a lot of drama and war movies. Thanks to movies like the Star Trek reboots and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the genre of Science Fiction has quickly become popular once again. Unfortunately, a lot of those movies also ended up less “science” and more “fiction”. This means that rather than actually teaching people about science, audiences were left with a lot of misconceptions.
Fortunately, however, there have also been movies that are heavily grounded in science, showing designs and presenting information that is in fact, scientifically accurate. While these numbers are generally outnumbered by mostly-fiction sci-fi movies, it’s still good to know that there are writers and directors out there who care deeply about presenting a movie that’s as scientifically accurate as possible.
I’m sure your first reaction to this would be disbelief. After all, it’s a movie that has talking fish in it! But beyond the human speech and human behaviors used to make the characters relatable, Finding Nemo, unlike it’s vehicular counterpart, Cars, actually presents its audience with scientifically accurate animal designs and movement based on what marine biologists have learned over the years.
This means that all the patterns on the fish, the scientific names used, as well as some of the habitats are accurate. The best part is that it’s not just the fish that are scientifically accurate. Almost everything you see throughout the movie is scientifically accurate: the way the light diffuses in the water and fades as it gets deeper, the way the moss only grows on one side of the dock pillars, and even internals of the aerator are all accurate.
Widely considered one of Christopher Nolan’s finest films, Interstellar caused almost as much buzz as his other films like Inception. While it had some pretty good acting and an incredible plot, one thing people take for granted is that the Nolan brothers did a lot of research and worked with a team to make sure that not only were the theories that they discussed accurate, but the visual representations were as well.
In the movie, we see the surfaces of several planets, as well as black holes and wormholes. The production team worked alongside theoretical physicist Kip Thorn to make sure that the visual representation of black holes and wormholes was as accurate as possible, only sacrificing some details for the sake of cinematography. Other than that, however, the designs were as close to theoretical designs as possible.
While a lot of Michael Crichton books are already based on existing research at the time (Jurassic Park can be forgiven for a lack of feathers), one of the standouts is the 1971 adaptation of his book, Andromeda Strain. For those not familiar, Andromeda Strain is about an alien virus that decimates a big chunk of the human and animal population of Earth before being brought under control.
While it may seem far fetched, the way the disease spread and societies response to it were hailed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America as highly accurate from the possibility of an unknown disease and how it will affect society, as well as the scientific community’s steps in identifying and trying to contain the disease. At the time, this was almost unheard of, with high fantasy and rubber science dominating the genre.