The debate over bad science in science-fiction movies has gotten a major new source of ammunition: Phil Plait, writing for Discover Magazine, has rounded up a fairly definitive list of the best and worst moments in movie science.
Some of the inclusions for bad science won't surprise you too much. There's The Core, of course, and there's the classic "man freezes instantly upon exposure to vacuum" sequence in Mission To Mars. But Plait, who writes the Bad Astronomy blog, also has some very cogent arguments about what's wrong with the basic premise of Transformers, and a key moment in Star Wars Episode II. Also, he can't seem to single out one thing wrong with Armageddon — the whole movie is a litany of science-fail so terrible, he has to list several elements.
The list of movies with good science also includes some reliable favorites, like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Carl Sagan's Contact. But you'll be surprised that last year's Star Trek gets singled out for good science. And you'll have to see for yourself why Deep Impact makes it on to both the "good" and "bad" lists. It's definitely worth reading through the feature, to prepare for the next round of the "science in science fiction" discussions.
Armageddon fan art by Colej_uk on DeviantArt. [Discover Magazine]