I like films. I like comics. I have particularly enjoyed the X-Men series of films because they have tended to go for the themes and ideas of the comics rather than slavish continuity and have hired good actors to do the jobs. And it would appear that the success of the franchise, even in a slightly diminished form in the third film (quality of film over box office clearly) would bear this out. And I’m the first to roll my eyes when someone points out that cars don’t really explode like that in films (my wonky eyes do admittedly roll easily).
So why am I perturbed that no-one is willing to say that science doesn’t really work like that? Is it because the premise of the X-Men films (leap in evolution – and lots of twisty turny DNA stands in the opening credits) is scientific. The idea of big leaps in evolution is one that has currency in scientific circles, which allows the film to become about the way “the other” is treated in society. But these are big budget action movies, which need plots. And the plots seem to always involve some form of pseudo-science. Again, that would be fine, if it followed its own rules, or rules we understand – but it does not seem to.
You want examples?
Okay: fallacies which the X-Men films rely on:
a) All metal is magnetic
b) Energy and mass can be created from nothing (seem lasers from Cyclops’ eyes, the water Iceman needs to freeze stuff, Mystique’s ability to turn into taller, fatter people, Multiple Man turning into twenty people)
c) Energy and mass can be turned into nothing (Mystique pretending to be little girls, energy Iceman removes from objects to freeze ’em)
d) Momentum is something that could be affected by your genes (yes Vinnie, I am talking to you)
e) Cures for genetic conditions which will rewrite your entire genetic code will work instantly.
(Actually that last one was also nicked by Doctor Who).
I want someone to moan a bit about this stuff SO I can roll my eyes and say it is only a movie. But movies are the only place we see science, in so called science fiction, shouldn’t that science at least occasionally pretend to some sort of real world or even internal consistency?
Probably just me.