Eight Awful Movies for Science in the 2000s

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Even a bad movie can be enjoyable under the right circumstances. Sometimes, though, you wish you hadn't bothered. Here are eight clunkers from the last decade:

  • Erin Brockovich (2000): Julia Roberts won an Academy Award for her work in this true-life story of a woman who fought against polluters in Hinckley, California. But the film glosses over the difficulty of making a connection between strange diseases in a community and the cause, prompting people (including some of my friends) to find pollution- or chemical-caused cancer clusters any time two or more people they know are diagnosed with a form of the disease.
  • The Time Machine (2002): This is the remake of a 1960 film based on the novel by H.G. Wells but the story has changed so much—with the addition of new characters and plot holes—that the story no longer works. That hasn't stopped the rumors, though, of a Time Machine 2.
  • The Core (2003): Scientists have to travel to the center of the Earth to set off nuclear explosions that will restart the rotation of the planet's core. The moviemakers took some basic geology and then went nuts in this film, which the New York Times called "monumentally dumb."
  • Day After Tomorrow (2004): Climate change causes the North Atlantic current to stop, plunging the Earth into a new Ice Age overnight. Mayhem ensues. Yeah, right.
  • I, Robot (2004): This is really a decent movie to watch, but the moviemakers deviated too much from Isaac Asimov's original stories. (As with The Time Machine, the lesson is that you shouldn't mess with the classics.)
  • War of the Worlds (2005): Yet another remake gone bad. It's got cliches, plot holes and Tom Cruise.
  • 10,000 BC (2008): There are mammoths helping to build the pyramids in 10,000 B.C. Hmm. The first pyramid wasn't built until about 2630 B.C. And that's just one of the many things the moviemakers got wrong in this film.
  • 2012 (2009): Tentatively tied to the date when the Mayan calendar ends, this is another apocalyptic movie. This time, neutrinos from a solar flare trigger the heating of the Earth's core. Natural disasters abound. Few survive. I guess 2012 isn't quite the end of the world, though, since there are plans to make a TV-series-sequel, 2013.

What science-y movie of the 2000s did you hate? Did you like any of the ones we didn't? Tell us in comments below.

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