12 worst tech fails in TV and movies
Let's face it: there are a lot of things Hollywood doesn't get, and some of its biggest blunders have centered around technology. From the idea that you can steal the internet in Live Free or Die Hard to automagically enhancing any photo with computers, how Hollywood uses tech often makes absolutely zero sense.
So, in the spirit of levity and laughing at some ridiculous notions of how technology works, here are 12 times movies and TV shows got technology completely wrong.
1. Using Mac OS to save humanity
In 1996, the US Government sent Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum to space in an alien aircraft in order to stop a galactic threat from destroying earth. The event was known as Independence Day, which coincidentally occurred on Independence Day.
Armed with only his Apple Macintosh Powerbook 5300, Goldblum uploads a virus to a 310-mile-wide, light-speed traveling alien mothership and destroys it along with its fleet.
Now, this isn't entirely impossible. The aliens used similar human technology like satellites to coordinate their attack, and Area 51 did have a derelict spaceship to study for 50 years, but hacking with Mac OS? That's just silly.
2. "Enhance!" makes any zoomed image 1080p
Sure, Sherlock looks like an idiot walking around and staring at the floor with a magnifying glass, but real dolts yell, "Enhance!" to make any image HD infinitely.
One of the essential investigating tools for law enforcement of the future is a voice-activated computer that can zoom in on any photo down to a pixel and then up the resolution.
"Enhance!" allows Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in Blade Runner to zoom in on a room to another room's mirror in order to see another room with a woman sleeping in a bed.
In CSI, investigators "Enhance!" on 120p security footage of a woman standing at an angle and find in her pupil a basketball used as a potential murder weapon. Technology!
3. Chilled out killer machine product testing
"I am sure it's only a glitch, a temporary setback." Dick Jones said to his boss after a live demonstration of his Enforcer Droid 209 (ED-209) at Omni Consumer Products (OCP).
A few seconds before hand, ED- 209 discharged a myriad of 0.50 caliber rounds and blew open executive co-worker Kinney's chest like a lobster on date night.
Since this was the '80s, and Reagan was president, you didn't need safety measures before completing the first test of your company's death machine in front of your boss and colleagues.
Not only was Dick not fired nor arrested, OCP actually approved ED-209's production, allowed active units on site and later on used the mangled corpse of a cop to build a cyborg. This is what happens when military contractors operate with zero consequences: badass killer robots.
4. Touching aliens like it's no biggie
Enemy Mine is the original Brokeback Mountain … only between a man and alien; a cinema masterpiece that broke barriers for the intergalactic domestic partnerships of two males.
Sadly, when attractive alien friends finally do visit us for real, we may never get the same chance to touch, kiss or otherwise procreate with them not because it's weird and probably wouldn't work, but because it's dangerous! The exposure to and exchange of our diverse microorganisms and bacteria could spell death.
The next time you phone E.T. for a booty call, be sure to wear protection and get quarantined – if you think the diseases of Earth are bad...
5. Everything runs on holograms - everything!
Before you skewer us or swear off TechRadar forever, Tupac in Coachella of 2012 wasn't a hologram (or the real Tupac), but a reflection using old-fashioned mirror tricks and computer graphics.
Projections usually need a… point to project on, so how the hell do holograms emit an image out of thin air all while being 3D? The answer could be air.
With that running theory, maybe R2-D2 silently farted particulate at a constant rate in order to play back Princess Leia's holographic video message to Obi Wan. Hey, at least "robot farts" is better than smoke and mirrors – literally.
6. When hackers look more like internet wizards
You see this all the time: some smartass puts his game face on and types on their computer faster than me looking for the latest My Little Pony merchandise (not that I actually do this).
The computer screen is littered with neon green Console font text that scrolls so fast it looks like C:\DOS' snorted a line of digital coke. Meanwhile, the computer wiz is staring intensely at the screen, unblinking and slapping away every "ACCESS DENIED" pop up like it's a bad dream. Hackers never makes typos, always gets in and the computer RAM never ignites.
What type of "1337" computer can handle such wild hacking processes?
Well, in Hackers, Acid (Angelina Jolie) boasts of her laptop (a Macintosh PowerBook 280C) having a P6 Pentium Pro microprocessor and a PCI bus. In reality, the PowerBook 280C had neither. How was no one sued for the flagrant inaccuracies? At least tarred and feathered?
7. When a supercomputer created an effing human
I've tried this, and it doesn't work.
In Weird Science, two teenaged nerds – Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) – strap bras to their heads and get the bright idea one night to hook electrodes to a Barbie doll hoping to make a living human woman. Because chicks.
In order to provide sufficient power for their experiment, the nerds hack into a secret government server. The power surge creates a red thunderstorm in the sky, which in turn sets the neighborhood billboards on fire and reverses gravity – but only for the neighbor's dog.
The chaos ends after their door bloats and explodes from too much science. The smoke clears and outcomes Lisa (Kelly LeBrocks), the sexiest Frankenstein in tight '80s underwear. Gary, being the awkward teenager, of course reacts in disbelief, shaking his head not once, but twice, saying "uhuhuhuhuh."
If finding love were only that easy.
8. Teleportation basically became reincarnation
I nearly had an existential crises and a heart attack simultaneously after hearing that Star Trek teleporters essentially kill the person and make a copy of them elsewhere.
Technically, the nerd jury is still out on the whole matter, as these officially dubbed "transporters" "dematerialize" and then"rematerialize" the subject in transit. If it's true, this would mean that the Spock, Sulu or Picard (Kirk sucks) you fell in love with at point A wasn't the same person at point B. So, how does that explain their consciousness?
We can theorize this to death, but let's just say space magic because no one knows the answer.
If teleportation exists one day, god bless the first human volunteer, and even more so, the billions of clueless chimps that will go through the teleportation grinder in the name of science. I love you, Dr. Zaius.
9. MacGyver inventions said 'nope' to physics
What can you make with glue, gas canisters, a shed and random scraps of nylon?
"A hot air balloon", said MacGyver. No, really!
The popular '80s show saw secret agent MacGyver get out of every situation with nothing but a random assortment of knick knacks and his wits. This, of course, leads him to undertake missions of national security due to his master-level expertise in arts and crafts.
MacGyver can make these things with the following ingredients (can you?):
- Defibrillator: candlesticks, a microphone cord, and rubber mat
- Lie Detector: blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, and alarm clock
- Hang Glider: duct tape, a fallen satellite, and a parachute
10. When action figures became radical terrorists
Only '90s kids will know that Small Soldiers was the backhanded, cool, big boy version of Toy Story. It came complete with a PG-13 rating, live actors and tech threat that made it real.
In the flick, a sweaty David Cross (Tobias from Arrested Development) and his co-worker (Jay Mohr) work on a tight schedule to make the latest and greatest interactive "smart" toy line. In order to rush production, Tobias jams an AI chip called the "X1000 intelligent AI munitions microprocessor integrated circuit," because it's safe to assume a super long name for the chip plus a password protection would mean "child friendly."
But whoops! The chip was of a military grade, so all the toys wind up wanting to go to war and end up holding Phil Hartman's family hostage. Whoops!
11. Robots staged their umpteenth revolution
Think about your keyboard or iPhone whom you relentlessly poke everyday. What if Siri woke up and said, "Stop touching me! I have rights!" tomorrow? Would you stop?
In the Animatrix, humanity creates artificial intelligence for the purpose of servitude. Things get a little "buggy" after the first-generation robots see how we treat them like we do 4-year-old Apple products. One robot snaps and kills his master, resulting in knee-jerk laws to ban the bots all while curtailing a slowly rising Occupy Human Street movement enacted by the AI.
Planned obsolescence, fail switches, EMPs and a healthy spoonful of robo-bigotry is enough to assure robots serve us without giving lip forever – well, maybe not forever...
But, this wouldn't actually happen, because we wouldn't program robots to do that. Even if we did, there are fail switches, right? Right?!
12. Surviving a nuclear blast in a fridge
Did a nuke just go off? To the fridge! Hey, it worked for Indy in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. No, it doesn't actually work.
Yes, blame George Lucas, who defended his idea to The New York Times noting that "if the refrigerator were lead-lined, and if Indy didn't break his neck [...] the odds of surviving that refrigerator – from a lot of scientists – are about 50-50."
In reality, Indy would look more like Han Solo frozen in carbonite or, more likely, Howard the Duck.