For this week, your regular Head To Head correspondents decided to consider: What’s the best example of “Science!” in pop culture? To explain this, Science! can occurs anytime something that is unreasonable by scientific standards (and usually logical standards, too) occurs as a necessary deus ex machina. For instance, Tony Stark building a particle collider in about ten minutes in his basement in Iron Man 2, or the entirety of Deep Blue Sea.
My favorite bit of Science! has always been the technology of “hacking” in movies and TV. Meaning, people hit a bunch of keys really fast and talk rapidly in tech gibberish about mainframes and what not. The first one I can remember seeing, and still one of my favorites, comes from a prepubescent girl in Jurassic Park:
Or, from NCIS, because when one person alone can’t outwit a hacker, two people doing it at the same time gives the good guys a distinct advantage. Barring that, just unplug the goddamn thing:
I like to think that somewhere a little kid saw this episode and is hitting a keyboard really hard yelling about firewalls.
So much of my life involves me talking about The Core. This is no exception. Although I’m pretty convinced The Core was intended to be the best disaster parody since Airplane!, I can’t prove it. Brief synopsis: Earth’s core is totally broken and mankind is doomed unless a crack of team of scientists drill into the center of the planet and restart the core. In case you didn’t know, our planet is fixed the same way you fix your router.
Premise alone is not what makes The Core my favorite example of Science! During a meeting of the elite scientists and top government brass, Aaron Eckhart’s character points out a serious problem:
“Even if we come up with a brilliant plan to fix the core, we can’t get there!”
At which point, Stanley Tucci spins around in his chair for dramatic effect and addresses Eckhart’s concerns with the following brilliant insight:
The team then proceeds to do whatever was deemed impossible fifteen seconds ago by building a ship out of “Unobtainium.”
As an added bonus, if you’re a fan of fictional materials that exist to address plot concerns, I highly recommended this periodic table of fictional elements.