Suspension of disbelief is the magic that makes us enjoy watching movies. It’s when we accept certain fictional concepts to be real; hence, we have films that revolve on imaginary characters like time-travelers in Back to the Future, aliens in Star Wars, and cyborgs in Terminator.
While these plots are purely made-up, we, as viewers, have come to believe some recurring “facts” in films that aren’t actually facts as proven by scientists and researchers. Here are some film myths that were debunked by actual science.
Gun silencers almost mute the sound of a firing gun
We’ve all seen this in one James Bond or Mission Impossible movie wherein the character is sneaking into the enemy’s hideout so he resorts to attaching a silencer to his gun and manages to shoot down a couple of henchmen without anyone else noticing.
In reality, a gun silencer does suppress sound but it could only do so much. If we were to be more technical about it, a standard gunshot produces around 165 decibels and attaching a suppressor will only minimize the sound down to about 120 decibels—still loud enough to alarm other folks in the area.
Explosions in outer space are heard
When Luke Skywalker used The Force and managed to hit the weak spot of the Death Star, the space station went down in flames and ultimately let out a big explosion. This loud noise signaled the success of Luke and the remainder of his squad right before it was able to attack their rebel base.
If we’re going to brush up on our early science classes, we were taught that sound doesn’t travel through a vacuum, and coincidentally, space is a virtual vacuum. This is because there has to be vibrating air molecules for our human ears to hear sound. In space, however, there are no molecules to vibrate so we wouldn’t hear any noise—not in that way, at least.
You’ll be left with nothing but your skeleton when you fall into a river with piranhas
If the movie franchise Piranhas taught us anything, it would be that they are flesh-hungry, meat-chewing creatures from hell and a school of these buggers will leave you as a lifeless skeleton in just minutes.
A closer study of the animals will reveal that they are actually more shy than vicious. In fact, they move in groups as a means of defense, and not to hunt for prey. Don’t get us wrong, they could still attack people when threatened, but it would be more of tiny bites in passing rather than finishing you off in one go. Plus, they are omnivores that feed on other animals or plants, and human meat isn’t exactly at the top of their to-eat list.
Catching a person mid-air while falling won’t hurt them
Popular with any superhero movie, the damsel in distress falls to what could’ve been her death if not for the guy with super powers to break her fall mid-air. After which, the leading lady is 100 percent fine and quickly disregards this life-threatening experience and somehow pushes her to have romantic feelings for the unknown vigilante instead.
If this happened in real life (considering we have people with superpowers flying around), the girl would have died right in the guy’s arms upon impact. Hitting the hard, concrete pavement from a steep fall isn’t necessarily what will kill you, but the sudden stop from falling just might—regardless if you were caught either by strong, manly arms or the sidewalk.
Imagine how Clark Kent would react if this happened to Lois Lane in one of the Superman movies.
Jumping through a glass window is perfectly fine
As seen numerous times on action movies, the epic chase between the protagonist and antagonist is sometimes so intense, that characters fly though windows and pretend that they do that whenever they have free time. They run, jump through a glass panel, roll over after landing, and continue sprinting—a classic scene.
Don’t even think of trying this if, by some unexplainable instance, you find yourself running from someone as doing so would leave you in a world of pain and deep cuts. We’re not sure how the filmmakers thought this was plausible but shattering glass using the sole force of the body will leave sharp edges exposed and definitely slit open the skin causing major damage. Ouch!
Bullets produce sparks when they hit surfaces
I’m not sure about you, but I’ve personally noticed this in a lot of Filipino movies. In order to create the atmosphere of two sides relentlessly shooting at each other while verbally threatening the other party, sparks fly (not in a romantic way) around the characters where the bullets hit.
While it’s true that a flaming-hot piece of metal has the possibility to create a spark when it hits a surface at a fast speed, common bullets are usually made from copper or copper alloy and they simply don’t spark even when metal hits another metal.
Tossing a cigarette onto a trail of gasoline equals instant ignition
Right before his archenemy dies, the main guy drops a badass line then flicks his cigarette towards a trail of gasoline to ignite it. He then walks away while a big explosion takes place behind him (take note, he doesn’t look back at the fire because he’s cool like that).
There aren’t much scientific facts that could support this popular scene in movies. In fact, there have been experiments to prove just this, wherein they throw burning cigarettes in trays of gasoline. After thousands of attempts, not one ignited the way it did in films.