Filmmakers often focus on entertainment value in disaster narratives
San Andreas and Armageddon were deemed inaccurate from a scientific perspective
Nolan consulted with actual theoretical physicists and scientists to ensure scientific accuracy in Interstellar
Filmmakers often stray from scientific truth in their disaster narratives to produce exciting, action-packed scenes. Certain films, like the science fiction disaster San Andreas starring Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis’ Armageddon, focus more on entertainment value, while others, like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, strive for scientific accuracy.
However, from a scientific perspective, the films directed by Johnson and Willis were deemed to be inaccurate. Still, if compared to Armageddon, some aspects of Johnson’s San Andreas were even worse, making the former seem like the $703.2 scientifically realistic Interstellar.
Brad Peyton directed the Warner Bros. film, which told the story of a massive earthquake that occurred due to the San Andreas Fault. Nolan, however, made sure that Interstellar adhered as closely as possible to scientific truth by consulting with actual theoretical physicists and scientists.
Dwayne Johnson’s San Andreas Inaccuracies Make Armageddon Look Like Interstellar?
In Brad Peyton’s film San Andreas, a series of devastating earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault were shown. The Dwayne Johnson starrer movie significantly changed what would happen if such an event occurred, despite the amazing visual effects. Among the most egregious errors was the depiction of the Earth as a constantly quivering jelly that defied the laws of physics.
On the other hand, Interstellar sought to portray space and time distortion in a way that was consistent with science. Science-fiction space opera, a genre that is sometimes specialized and contentious, saw great success with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. The film offered a gratifying and poignant journey while delving into incredibly intricate theoretical concepts.
In the Michael Bay film Armageddon, a group of oil drillers tried to destroy an asteroid that was headed straight for Earth. The movie was renowned for its extravagant action scenes, but in the process, scientific accuracy was compromised. The asteroid’s size was a major issue since it dwarfed any discovered celestial object in the actual world.
Both San Andreas and Armageddon have been scientifically proven to be false. However, in contrast to the $474 million movie, Bruce Willis‘ film might look like Nolan’s Interstellar, which consulted actual scientists and theoretical physicists to guarantee the film was as accurate as possible.
Scientific Inaccuracy: San Andreas vs. Armageddon
Some movies are made just for your entertainment. These films are utterly unrepresentative of reality. One of these implausible, yet entertaining, films was Armageddon (1998). A real astronaut also weighed in on the accuracy of the Bruce Willis film.
In an interview with Vanity Fair on YouTube, astronaut Chris Hadfield talked about how accurate several space films are. He opened the Armageddon segment with a simple laugh, saying:
“This movie is Armageddon, which is the disastrous end of everything, and I think that’s an appropriate name for this movie.”
Hadfield cited the drill team’s ability to communicate with Mission Control while in space as an example of an unrealistic feature. He claimed:
“Let’s start with the fact that they’re talking to Mission Control in real-time. There’s no lag. How did suddenly time and space change you get instantaneous communication all the way out to this asteroid with no lag?”
Meanwhile, the amount of actual scientific territory that San Andreas actually stood on was also questioned. Although some of the action in The Rock’s film was accurate, there were moments that seemed to straddle the line between reality and fantasy.
Thomas Jordan, the former director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2015 that while he was consulted, not much of his advice was shown in the film:
“I gave them free advice, some of which they took … but much of which they didn’t. Magnitude 9’s are too big for the San Andreas, and it can’t produce a big tsunami.”
The intense action and gripping narratives of Armageddon and San Andreas captivate audiences even though they may not be the pinnacles of scientific accuracy. However, Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan, shows that a movie can successfully combine scientific realism with an engaging story to transport viewers on an incredible space voyage.
While Amazon Prime Video has Interstellar available, FuboTV is streaming Armageddon. And you can watch San Andreas on VIX.