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Common Mistakes in Movies


Anyone can make a mistake, and it's very tricky to eliminate all tiny errors from a production. I've seen Movie Goof sites where the minutest details in films are picked over and pointed out. Things such as microphone boom visible in shot, minor continuity errors, and plot flaws some of which were avoidable. Sometimes an error is so visible it has to get a comment such as Krakatoa East or West of Java?, but often these are quite specific and isolated errors. However, I have seen some assumptions which are made again and again in movies, and some of these have almost become part of the language of cinematography, almost like roast chicken flavoured crisps tasting not of roast chicken but instead that special flavour classic to roast chicken flavoured crisps! Regarding whether such commonplace movie errors as the following are forgivable, I think it's a matter of asking if they add to the drama are are gratuitous errors which everyone has got used to.

Crawling through ventilation shafts

Swooshing spacecraft

The Weight of Gold

Using Retro Booster Rockets for landing

Dart Board mounted on a Door - surely no-one's daft enough to do that?

Faked-up CATS - badly dubbed, by people who don't understand cats.

Fire Sprinklers all go off at once - not only don't they do that, but the misconception puts people off fire safety!

Drowning - Movie-makers should be made aware that "drowning doesn't look like drowning". This is explained at http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/ . It has even been said that the incorrect display of drowning in movies actually results in more deaths.

These are just a few of the movie mistakes and common assumptions which occur and are repeated across multiple films. Sometimes, as with the swooshing spacecraft, it's been decided that although everyone knows it's wrong, it adds to the drama so it's worth keeping in. Sometimes, for example with the weight of gold, it doesn't add to the drama and is just a mistake repeated almost as if no one knew that a light year is a measure of distance not time.

Also, some of the common movie mistakes support disinformation which results in people being killed. If you're making a movie, it's worth getting things right, because as well as making a better movie, it can also be a matter of life and death. Never mind the legal matter; Movie makers aren't sued for killing people. It's more a matter of personal responsibility, for the public good. I was surprised about the "drowning".

This page is part of the more general classification of Misconceptions but of course it also helps to give our own Video Shops a bit of extra promotion!