Science in the movies

"What movie do you think does something admirable (not necessarily accurate) regarding science?" Seed magazine, which hosts a lot of science bloggers, asked them all this question, with bonus points if the selected movie is "any good generally". I am not sure for how long how long this link of all the answering blogs will be good, as Seed changes the question each week, but here are some selections:

Cognitive Daily (Dave and Greta Munger)’s answer: "Jurassic Park is a great action movie, where the excitement never stops, and Dark Star is a hilarious (if sometimes a bit boring) sendup of pre-1974 science fiction."

Mike the Mad Biologist votes for three: Apollo 13, From the Earth to the Moon#15 (which apparently is a NASA training film) and GATTACA.

Blog around the Clock votes for Jimmy Neutron.

Aetiology goes for Real Genius.

Evolving Thoughts nominates the TV film of the play Copenhagen by Michael Frayn.

The World’s Fair asks "My God, can it be that No One has mentioned Star Wars yet!?"

What’s your suggestion? Mine would be Close Encounters of the Third Kind, because it conveys the sense of the wonder of science to a greater degree than any film I’ve seen. Though it is not about "real science" to the slightest degree, apart from the obsessional aspects which could apply to any venture (remember that mountain Richard Dreyfus builds in his living room, which is the "last straw" for his wife?). It is a very slow movie. But I liked it. I also liked "The Day after Tomorrow" for portraying scientists as "the good guys" – rather refreshing.

5 thoughts on “Science in the movies

  1. Yes, I agree about Close Encounters – I also like First Encounter – one of the Startrek movies – for its optimism and also its a portrayal of a fictional scientist which I thought was quite realistic in some ways. I also liked Longitude – particularly Michael Gambon’s portrayal of the scientist – and A Beautiful Mind was good in some ways too…

  2. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t seen Longitude or A Beautiful Mind yet, though they are on my “to be watched” list. I may well have seen the Star Trek one when it came out (as I saw the first few movies in the series when they were released) but I can’t remember.

  3. I liked the telescope movie from a few years ago – “Dish,” I think it was. I recently saw Al Gore’s “An inconvenient truth,” which made him one of my heros.

  4. It’s actually a pretty tricky question — a lot of science fiction movies involve very little if any science at all. My top picks are Gattaca (genetic engineering) and Primer (time travel), for forcing a look at the implications of the science.

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