No one ever expects science-fiction to contain elements that could really happen in our world. That is why it’s called science-fiction.
But there are times when even the fiction is so fiction, it’s silly. For NASA, America’s space agency, that silliness comes in the form of the 2009 film “2012.”
The film, which was written and directed by Roland Emmerich, depicted a world ending in 2012. The “science” used to describe all the disastrous events doesn’t even deserve the word, said Donald Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous.
“The filmmakers took advantage of public worries about the so-called end of the world as apparently predicted by the Mayans of Central America, whose calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012,” Yeomans said, according to The Sunday Times. “The agency is getting so many questions from people terrified that the world is going to end in 2012 that we have had to put up a special website to challenge the myths. We have never had to do this before.”
But “2012” isn’t alone. Joining it on the list of the most implausible is “Armageddon,” Michael Bay’s 1998 film whose writing team on that project included future “Star Trek” director J.J. Abrams. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t avoid the list. No, not with “The Terminator,” but instead with “The 6th Day,” the 2000 film about a clone of his character being developed in six days.
There are films that NASA recommends for those looking for a little science realism. They include “Gattaca,” the 1997 film starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman that was written and directed by Andrew Niccol. Also making the list are 1993’s “Jurassic Park,” 1997’s “Contact,” 1927’s “Metropolis” and 1951’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”
But it seems like the general moviegoing public doesn’t mind how dubious the science is. “Armageddon,” for example, grossed more than $201 million domestically, while “2012” pulled in $166 million. On the other hand, “Gattaca” earned just $12.3 million while “Contact” managed $100.9 million.
There is some silver lining, however. The money earned by “2012” fell short of its $200 million budget, officially making it a bomb. And “Jurassic Park,” of course, was a huge box office success at $350.5 million on a $65 million budget.