Steven’s Science in Cinema: Skyfall (2012)

skyfall poster

Skyfall (2012), directed by Sam Mendes, didn’t only feature the popular Adele song, Skyfall, but it also contained a controversial amount of scientific inaccuracies. The James Bond series has had its fair share of memorable scientific inaccuracies, but Skyfall is the twenty-third film in the series, and you would assume that maybe they have learned from their past flaws. However, this film likes to prove otherwise. As I will discuss later, the whole plot of this film is largely built on an inaccuracy. However, the science portrayed in this film mainly revolves around computer science.

The computer science depicted in Skyfall has been controversial as it contains a good mix of accuracies and inaccuracies. The first hacking scene in the film, when Silva, the villainous ex MI6 agent, hacks into M’s laptop (M is Bond’s superior and the head of MI6) and displays “THINK ON YOUR SINS”. This hacking event is very plausible. The second hacking event is when Silva hacks into the  computer-controlled gas lines of the MI6 headquarters and causes an explosion. In theory, this is possible as hacking and disrupting infrastructure is practiced by the US army, but there are so many plausible safety features on the gas infrastructures that would likely prevent this whole event from occurring. The third event was Q, the MI6 quartermaster,  attempting to hack Silva. This whole scene was… interesting.  Visually, it is pretty inaccurate. The actual hacking process would take place in a command line and not on some fancy high-tech screen. The dialog that Q  is blurting out is nonsensical comp-Sci jargon. One extremely applaudable moment in this scene occurs when Q states that the malware was “mutating”, which means that the malware was changing its memory to prevent any damage from occurring. This is realistic and is an issue that some hackers would have to worry about.

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