We all know that movies are full of entertaining fictions and twists of the truth in order to allow a certain level of escapism in the perils they portray or the solutions we see to these problems but sometimes these messages are so often repeated that they become assumed truths, that is to say, we think that they must be real. Here we look at a few movie myths that have persisted and debunk them in place of the truth!
1. Myth: Defibrillators Can Re-Start A Stopped Heart
How many times have we seen the brave hero grab a defibrillator as a character's heart gives out and zap them several times only for them to have no reaction? As the hero repeats the trick several times more they still get nothing from the fallen friend and so they give up, usually weeping into their love interest's chest, only for a few seconds to pass as the person who has been shocked coughs and splutters back to life. It's a regular occurrence on screen but, sadly, defibrillators don't work like that.
What defibrillators do is to measure the rhythm of a heartbeat and then shock it at the right moment to interrupt that rhythm and restore it to a regular rate. This is useful in certain cases of heart attacks were the rhythm becomes chaotic but they can't re-start a heart, unfortunately.
2. Chloroform Instantly Knocks People Out
A sinister kidnap plot or a great way of getting past armed guards without hurting them, movie characters always use a rag covered in chloroform to get what they want as their victims faint after a few seconds of holding it to their nose. But, despite having the ability to knock people out, chloroform doesn't quite work like that.
Not a fast-acting chemical, it can take up to 5 minutes for people to react to the effects of chloroform and even then, it would only last for a few minutes and not the hours that the film industry shows that it takes to wear off.
3. Police Can Trace Phonecalls Within Minutes
Trying to keep kidnappers and ransomers on the phone for a minute or two to try and track down their exact location is a theme that is always cropping up in thrillers as the police then gain a pin-point accurate location of where they are calling from. The thing is, historically a phone trace could take up to an hour as the route the signal came through has to be traced back to its source via switchboards and phone providers and cannot be instantly attained from a few minutes of talking.
Nowadays, as soon as the call is placed it can be found due to wireless networks now having to have tracking technology so they wouldn't even have to keep the criminal talking.
4. The Forensic Process Can Solve Crimes
Many films and TV shows revolve around the collection of forensic evidence being vital to a conviction as it answers all questions and solves crimes but it is not the exact cure-all it is displayed as on-screen but rather just another way of building evidence, It cannot give definite proof that a person committed a crime.
What forensics does do is prevent evidence that decreases the likelihood of another outcome but it is not 100% infallible and in certain cases can be dismissed. Forensic evidence was used in the infamous O.J Simpson case where he was not convicted and this is just one instance of countless others where it was not enough to convict.
5.You Must Wait 24 Hours Before Reporting A Person Missing
A common plot device in films is that people have to wait 24 hours until a person is considered missing as otherwise, they could just come home a little later but the real world police do not adhere to this rule. The fact is if you have a legitimate concern that someone is missing the police like to get to it as quickly as possible.
In order to minimize the search distance and increase the chances of finding the missing person, police will often react extremely quickly if you can suggest why someone might be missing as opposed to just running late or have gone out for a walk.
6. People Drowning Flail And Call For Attention
In at-sea adventures, you can practically guarantee at least one character will drown as they call for help, wildly flailing their arms and splashing nd thrashing as others rush, in vain, to try and get to them in time. Sadly, it is actually very hard to spot someone drowning especially in crowded pools or swimming areas.
In a real drowning situation, people often don't seem in distress as they are focussing on trying to stay afloat. With their heads low in the water, they struggle to breathe so won't be making much noise and will instinctively use their arms to buoy themselves up and not throw them up to gain attention.
7. Multiple Bad Guys Can Be Removed By Shooting Two Guns At Once In Different Directions
It may look cool if you've got a hero diving and firing two guns at once at different people but realistically, you cannot hit two people at the same time (at least not without a heavy dose of luck) as your brain doesn't work like that and you can only focus your attention, thus aim, on one thing at a time.
Certainly, you could fire two guns at the same object but that just seems like a waste of bullets. If you focus on too many things at once, your brain is likely to suffer from something called 'inattention blindness' meaning one thing will take massive prevalence and the second focus might as well not exist, it's the same reason that you shouldn't text and drive.
8. Silencers Make Guns Completely Silent
Need a stealthy kill in a film? Just attach a silencer to the barrel of your gun and you can fire off shots in a crowded room or public place without anybody being any wiser about your actions so that you can just slip away without a problem and although silencers do exist and do muffle sound, in real life they still leave your gun to make a rather loud noise.
Cutting out a lot of sound, silencers tend to prevent too much echo but guns still produce a healthy blast sound no matter what you put over or on them.
9. Asteroid Belts Are Densely Packed Full of Floating Rocks
In so many sci-fi films we see spaceships fly into asteroid fields and get bombarded by rocks one ofter the other as they try to dodge between them. Undoubtedly, asteroid belts exist but there are often many of miles of vacuum between each object because space is a big place and asteroids only form a belt when dragged into the gravitational pull of another object.
As such, you don't tend to get clusters of rocks so close together as to be a real hazard for these super sensitive spacecraft. If they could handle as well as the movies suggest they might one day be able to, then an asteroid belt is not going to be a problem for them.
10. Doors Can Be Unlocked With Gun Shots
If you need to get into a room or locked area but don't have the key, it is probably not advisable to fire on the lock as so many in films do as, although this will break the locking mechanism, it will most likely break it in place leaving the door even less likely to open unless you know completely destroy the lock.
Firing on a padlock may also do you little good as they tend to be thick and made of iron meaning that smaller bullets would have little effect on them.
11. You Can Talk To Another Skydiver During Freefall
As our heroes plummet from a burning plane or parachute from the top of a massive building, they talk to each other about how they are going to survive their predicament but in reality, the wind rushing past them would be so loud it would drown out all other sounds as all you will hear is the atmosphere passing you by.
As such, you can't really talk when in free fall as it would just be a waste of breath.
12. Grenade Pins Can Be Pulled With Your Teeth
As our hero is in the middle of a firefight, they pick up a grenade, put the pin in their teeth and pull it thus making it easier to throw straight away. The problem with this is that grenades are designed so that it is hard to pull the pin in order to avoid any stupid accidents happening or from the pin becoming loose of its own accord.
If you were to try and pull the pin with your teeth, it would more than likely end up doing you some serious dental damage and leaving you in quite a lot of pain.
13. Laser Blasts Are Visible
Most sci-fi films can't get to the end of their running time without at least one laser fight as different parties fire off shots from laser-based weapons at each other and you can see the dramatic effects of them. However, laser blasts themselves are not visible and they need something to reflect off of to become visible.
However, if there were things to reflect off, the photons would become less powerful and so this would not be ideal for weaponry.
14. Police Have To Read Miranda Rights When Making An Arrest
Many plot devices in film often revolve around criminals getting away with their crime on a technicality after the arresting police officer didn't recite the Miranda rights to them. The thing is, police don't have to do this unless formally interviewing you so as to avoid such mistakes like this, otherwise, hundreds of thousands of criminals would get away with stuff each year.
If a person does forget to recite you your Miranda rights, it doesn't mean they can't act on that information, it just means they can't use it as evidence.
15. Instant Communication Over Great Distances Is Possible
So many times we see people lost in space or millions of miles away from each other and still managing to have seemingly brilliant connections and conversations with one another. If you've ever tried to Skype your mom whilst your on your travels, you'll know that this isn't really possible without some sort of delay.
Data still has to travel and even though it can move so much faster than humans, it still takes time for it to get where it is going so seamless communication between planets or countries and continents just isn't there yet. Sorry.