The Myths Movies Made Us Believe Were True - Exposed
The movies are hardly famed for being realistic. James Bond has survived more gunshots and explosions than there is ammunition in the world, Harry Potter managed to run through a brick wall at a train station, and Toy Story taught us that our toys lead their own separate lives.
"Since the day movies were born, they've been creating myths, using dramatic licence," Robert Hamilton, 62, tells LADbible. He's a senior lecturer in film and media studies at Manchester Metropolitan University.
"One of the initial scenes is from Cool Hand Luke when Paul Newman is asked to eat 50 hard-boiled eggs for a bet," he continues.
"It's a really good scene and a good film. It's very memorable, but done entirely for dramatic purposes. Once you do it, there's an expectation to do it again. Imitation being a good form of flattery."
OK, so the above are extreme examples of the far-fetched, but there are times when it's believable. Our expectations of real-life are heightened when we read: 'Based on a true story'.
But are they? Or are the movies just glamming it all up for us? LADbible investigates if even the things we thought we were real, may not quite be!
MOVIES: You can restart a stopped heart with a shock from a defibrillator
FACT: A stopped heart cannot be restarted with the use of a defibrillator
James Bond has had a defibrillator applied twice over the two consecutive movies. In Die Another Day, Piers Brosnan's body shuts down, only then to restarted before he goes on to shock, literally, the medical staff. Skip forward to Casino Royale when Daniel Craig blacks out in his Aston Martin - thankfully he's saved by Vesper.
Credit: Velofit / Youtube
Hamilton thinks these sorts of scenes could have a negative effect: "I've never needed a defibrillator before, it's an experience that very few would have to experience, but there's the negative aspect involved in not knowing when it can and it can't be used."
Some people may think otherwise.
MOVIES: Chloroform instantly knocks someone out - and for some time
FACT: It can take up to five minutes for someone to feel the effects of chloroform and even then, it doesn't last long
It can't be that bad, can it? When it was first adopted in the 1850s even Queen Victoria used it when giving birth.
"Chloroform's effects are largely used to save time," says Hamilton. "But in real life chloroform is having increased improvements in time.
"Take the recent Korean killing in Malaysia. The two women did put a cloth over his face and that did kill him within minutes. So, there are things that an effect in a short space of time. It's an interesting aspect."
MOVIES: The police can trace a phone call within seconds
FACT: Tracing a phone call takes about an hour
This is a Spooks classic. A terror suspect is on the end of the line, but can they find where he's calling from?
Hamilton explains the tense scenes behind phone tracing: "Wiretapping is always dramatic. We always see that they've got to keep the suspect on the phones for a certain number of minutes. But then the criminal puts the phone down just before they've got the connection.
However, he does believe things are improving.
"With new surveillance techniques - the gadgetry means that it does appear to be instantaneous. There's no such thing as a wiretap anymore. Some of the tricks are because the audience are used to that. They can read and understand what's going on. These things will take time to change."
MOVIES: Forensics can give answers to all questions and even solves crimes
FACT: The process of forensics only helps to collect evidence
Just think Minority Report with Tom Cruise and his band of pre-crime fighters. Hamilton believes that the process of forensics is just part of the norm we expect to see from the movies.
"Psychologically, whenever you go to a movie, you almost expect there to be certain things," he says. "We are psychologically trained as a viewer, from a young age, with sophisticated viewing habits. We get used to these myths."
MOVIES: You can only report a missing person after 24 hours
FACT: You can report a missing person at any time if you have genuine concern
Who needs to report it when you've got people like Liam Neeson in Taken? Admittedly, he did take the law into his own Irish hands.
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Hamilton relates the suspense of 24 hours emulating to our own worst fears: "How long does it take to know someone is missing? We tend to think of the worst immediately when logically there are other reasons. Again, like the defibrillator, it's a situation very few find ourselves in."
MOVIES: Those who are drowning usually call for help loudly while reaching their arms up
FACT: It's very hard to notice a drowning person
Often they are struggling to keep their head above water. We're not talking about the captain in Titanic who was swamped by the water in his cabin (*wipes tear from eye*) we're talking about the people who had just jumped from the ship. Rose, who needed saving, etc.
"This one is a little fantasy element. Someone once described movies as a window on our desires, it's reflected back at us," Hamilton adds while referring to the joy that people can be saved, and our 'desire' to see everyone survive.
Shooting two guns
MOVIES: Shooting two guns at the same time looks cool
FACT: Yes, but aiming at two targets at once is hardly possible
Cue, Hot Fuzz.
Credit: 38degrees38 / Youtube
"This is just part of the escapism," says Hamilton. "They create the myths and we enjoy it."
He's right, it does look cool. "It's a means of escape," he adds. "With CGI you can believe practically anything, you no longer have an expectation rooted in reality. Cinema is more expensive and broad nowadays."
MOVIES A padlock can be broken with a gun
FACT: A padlock is made of iron and is thick. A small bullet wouldn't break it
This one is a simple one according to Hamilton: "It's all part of a simple time saving trick. If you shoot the lock off a door, it's a lot quicker than unpicking a lock."
It would probably ruin the dramatics as well.
MOVIES: A silencer makes every gun completely quiet
FACT: Silencers dampen the noise but the gunshot is still audible
Name any movie when a killer is creeping into a house, and then moves in on their victim to quietly kill them. The gun is fired, but it's just a quick 'ping' so not disturb anyone else.
"Movies were the first to do this with silencers," explains Hamilton. "It sounds sexy, it sounds better. A lot of scenes are created in writer's rooms; they don't have the same experience as a veteran."
MOVIES: A grenade pin can be pulled out with your teeth
FACT: Don't do that! You'll have no teeth left but the grenade will still have a pin
"There's a simple reason for this," says Hamilton. "To pull a pin out with a grenade makes it look a lot more dramatic."
For a minute, a nation had to check on the state of Tom Hardy's mouth after filming Dunkirk. Thankfully, the directors had thought this through.
MOVIES: The asteroid belt is dense and crowded
FACT: There are many miles of open space between asteroids
We've all seen it. A spacecraft trying to negotiate the asteroid belt while being bombarded by a constant wave of huge rocks.
David Morrison of NASA said a collision is extremely unlikely: "There are more than 100,000 asteroids larger than 1km in diameter but these objects are distributed within the huge volume of the asteroid belt.
"Their average spacing is several million kilometres, an average 1km asteroid suffers one collision every few billion years."
Astronauts can sleep well tonight.
The overall impact of the movies we love, the drama, the tears of laughter and sadness, or the sheer horror means that we'll still be going to the cinema to watch, or streaming on our TVs for years to come.
Robert Hamilton knows where his priorities lie: "I've been watching films since I was five. You could put me in a cinema for 24 hours, 365 days a year. Maybe just once a year throw a woman in too."
It's fair to say, as misleading as these myths can be, it makes the movies a lot more exciting.
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