The Thimble Tickle Giant Squid of 1878 (Image Credit: Julie Potton, CC BY 4.0)
Cephalopods have absolutely everything you could want in a movie hero. Spread across the class Cephalopoda are the cute (baby cuttlefish), the intelligent, the devious (pretending to be a female to get past the males is spectacularly sneaky), the tragic (the plight of the octopus mother is heartwrenching), and even the dramatic (blasts of ink to mark your departure aren’t exactly subtle).
Image Credit: KiwiDeaPi, CC BY-SA 3.0
It’s not often we can readily identify with movie scientists. Even if you are a biologist, the image of a handsome labcoat wearing genius scribbling equations on a perspex board isn’t something that many of us see ourselves in. My own experience with science consists more of wading through spreadsheets, poring over manuscripts and generally yelling at a computer screen seen through barely concealed tears of frustration.
But every now and then I stumble across something I very much recognise in an on-screen academic. On this particular occasion, said stumble occurred during a watch of The Relic, a 1997 monster movie set in the Chicago Field Museum. It was a welcome setting, given that I wrote my PhD while working at Trondheim’s Natural History Museum, and that Chicago’s Field Museum is potentially the best museum I’ve ever visited.
Image Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, image cropped with book title inserted
Over the last nine months, we’ve been joined on our biology/movie focused podcasts by some amazingly talented biologists to discuss some movies of immensely varying quality. So when my co-host Adam Hasik announced that he’d secured a science fiction writer as a guest, it was a chance to change pace and look at science from a plot perspective, rather than the other way around.
Image Credit: Wade Tregaskis, CC BY-NC 2.0, Image Cropped.
If there’s one film that I could perhaps credit for sparking my fascination with the natural world, the it’s The Land Before Time. BUT if we’re going with films that do not feature the most gangly Pachycephalosaurids you ever did see, then it has to be The Lion King. The sweeping landscapes, the (at times literal) fountains of species, the Shakespearian drama, the poor understanding of trophic cascades – it’s got it all.