On a similar note, few have complained about Tom Holland casting as Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe citing that the 19 year old actor is too young to potray Spider-Man, despite the fact he's meant to play 15/16 year old Spider-Man.
In Slacker, a videogeek mentions that he recently saw a Real Life shooting, and complains that it didn't look realistic. "The blood was the wrong color."
Kids: The makers of "Kids" have suggested that a lot of the outrage over the depiction of everyday teenage life in this film has more to do with the fact that people are more used to safe, idyllic depictions of teenagers usually played by actors who are way too old to convincingly portray such roles. Most people aren't aware of actual teenage life or, as Larry Clark said: "Parents forget what it was like when they were kids."
In the film A Bout De Souffle, the American actress Jean Seberg played an American character who lived in Paris and spoke French with an accent that was presumably Seberg's own. A poster on the IMDb forums labeled her a French actress that had put on an unconvincing American accent.
Amazon reviews for a 2001 BBC radio production of Sherlock Holmes complained about the actors' "obviously fake" British accents.
"That Bridget Jones gal, Zellweger, when I heard her American accent in Chicago I was amazed. It seemed dead-on perfect. Completely convincing. Similarly in Nurse Betty. But then I saw her in Cold Mountain and that completely destroyed the illusion." (She is from Texas.)
Similarly, a Youtube comment on the trailer for "Perrier's Bounty" complained extensively about Cillian Murphy's "fake" Irish accent. Apparently the man's name wasn't enough of a tip-off ...
While working in The Lord of the Rings, American actor Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) always spoke in an English accent in order to maintain it, and upon reverting back to his American accent at the end of filming Bernard Hill (King Théoden) wondered why he was suddenly using such a fake American accent.
During the filming of Dr. Strangelove, something similar occurred. The B-52 scenes were filmed in Britain. The film crew thought that Slim Pickens was putting on the 'Texan' accent, and someone on the crew expressed surprise when he spoke that way after a shoot, until being informed that that was the way he normally spoke. He wasn't 'putting on' an accent.
One reason British actors often have trouble portraying Americans convincingly is that their accents (and most of Europe, for that matter) are much more subtle than Americans', resulting in British actors often sounding like Canadians when they try to play Americans. This is also why Australians tend to have less trouble playing Americans; they also sound more like they do in the movies.
People have accused Liam Neeson of having a poor American Accent in films like Taken. While he is Northern Irish, he's lived in America for twenty years; his speaking voice is nigh-indistinguishable from a Yank, especially if you don't know he's Northern Irish. He has lost his Northern Irish accent but still has a tendency to swallow his words, whereas Americans don't.
This trope caused Bryan Singer to think Hugh Laurie was American when he saw the actor's audition tape for House. Apparently Singer had received several auditions from British and Australian hopefuls who didn't match his ideal of the character. When he saw Laurie's audition he is purported to have said, "See, this is what I want; an American guy." Singer was completely unaware that Laurie is English.
In Singer's defense, Laurie not only nailed an American accent, he nailed the American accent needed to play Greg House: middle-class Central Jersey.
Many online viewers have complained that Peter Dinklage has the worst fake British accent on the show, but for the most part, the complainers are Americans. More than once, an actual Brit has admitted that they thought Dinklage was British and that they didn't know he wasn't until they read the comments. Many Yanks believe there's only two or three British Accents. If it's not Received Pronunciation, Liverpudlian or Cockney, they assume it's fake.
This, of course, doesn't even take into account how silly it is to complain about an accent in a completely fictional universe.
Common in regard to historical fiction; if a certain fictional account becomes popular enough, people often believe that it is an accurate representation of history.
Case in point: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once alleged that Antonio Salieri had pulled strings to ensure that Mozart's opera Le nozze di Figaro would be a major flop. Later the two collaborated on composing a song; Salieri was given the task of teaching Mozart's son and he also promoted Mozart's compositions on a number of occasions. Six years after Salieri died, Alexander Pushkin wrote a play based around the original allegation depicting Salieri as greatly envying the genius Mozart, thus beginning the tradition of showing a Salieri hostile to Mozart. The prominent use of this fictional invention in the play Amadeus and the film based on it has led many to perceive the fiction that Salieri was responsible for Mozart's early death as a historical truth.
Additionally, the alleged rivalry with Salieri is said to drive Mozart to such poverty that he had to be buried in the common grave. In reality Mozart enjoyed great popularity and was receiving large commissions but was also a big spender. His modest burial was also not the result of his financial standing but of the strict Viennese burial laws and was a ceremony typical for a middle class man of his era.
Also, Mozart and Salieri by actual historical accounts had a mutual respect for one another.
Ditto for the play and film Inherit the Wind, which took many, many liberties in depicting the actual Scopes trial (and not just the names), but are more or less accepted as historical fact today.
And that wasn't even the intent of the author. It was designed as an allegory to parody the ridiculous nature of McCarthyism (much like The Crucible), but now that the Evolution/Creationism controversy has long outlasted the Un-American Activities Committee, the fact that it was written for parodying something else has been forgotten.
Lastly, when asked about the American Civil War, most people recall scenes from Gone with the Wind, which portrayed a very rose-colored picture of the South. Gone With the Wind is the result of that rose-colored picture already being popular.
Napoleon Bonaparte is always portrayed with a French accent. Yet in actuality, during his lifetime some of his French contemporaries complained that his thick Corsican Italian accent made his French nearly impossible to decipher (which may be why a few of his comedic appearances instead depict him as muttering incomprehensibly and needing to have someone else translate for him.) Also, Napoleon was not quite as short as he is often depicted in fiction. In fact he was estimated to have been around 5'7", or 5'8", which would have ironically been of above-average height for a man of his time. Under-measuring of Napoleon's height was done on purpose: in the Imperial System he was 5'8" high, but with the Measure Nouvelle system he had introduced in France he was 5'4", with the British propaganda giving his height as 5'4", but omitting the reason to ridicule him. His large bodyguards and "Petit" nickname (which was not about his height but about him being A Father to His Men) helped too.
In Valkyrie, some of Colonel von Stauffenberg's cooler moments were actually cut from the film - for instance, he refused morphine because he was afraid of being addicted, but it was cut because it was felt audiences would think that the filmmakers were trying to turn Von Stauffenberg into an action hero.
Similarly, the film's General Beck kills himself with a single shot. In reality, he botched his suicide very painfully, and had to be finished off by a sergeant.
Another similar example from a World War 2 movie comes from the old film "To Hell and Back," which detailed the journeys of the soldier Audie Murphy (which actually starred Audie Murphy as himself). Many of his achievements were cut from the film for being so unbelievable that even Audie didn't think the audience would buy it.
Many film critics who otherwise enjoyed Schindler's List complained that the one thing they found unbelievable was Ralph Fiennes' villain Amon Goeth, saying that he was far too evil to be believable. Not only was Amon Goeth a real person, as bad as he is in the movie he got a Historical Villain Downgrade—the real Amon Goeth was much, much worse. Stuff like his morning ritual of shooting innocent people with a sniper rifle from his house made the movie; stuff like his Torture Cellar did not. The most fictional aspects of his character are actually his Pet the Dog moments, put in to make him seem more human.
This could probably be extended to many occasions when a critic or an audience are taken out of a movie because they think a character is acting too evil to be real. Goodfellas is another example of a film based on real events where the villainous characters were even more violent and nasty in Real Life than they were portrayed on-screen, but even many completely fictional Card Carrying Villains get up to stuff that Real Life tyrants, terrorists or criminals might find tame.
When James Bond used a Bell Rocket Belt in Thunderball, its natural sound was replaced by a supposedly "more realistic" fire-extinguisher sound.
Thunderball ends with Bond and his latest woman floating a balloon that they're tethered to, which is then snagged by a transport plane, lifting them in the air to be reeled into the cargo bay. A few reviews said that out of the many the gadgets in the movie, this one was just too much to believe. It's the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system (STARS, or Skyhook), and the US military and intelligence services really did use it until 1996.
Apollo 13 was said by some reviewers to have an unrealistic ending, in the astronauts coming back to Earth alive. One thing was added to serve the Rule of Drama - Marilyn dropped her wedding ring in the shower, but the drain holes were too fine for it to go down and be lost. (It went partway down the drain. It was just reachable for recovery.)
Jim Lovell himself, in the audio commentary for the Laserdisc/DVD, said that the initial seconds of the Saturn V ignition looked like Ron Howard had "just run the film backwards," and were thus inaccurate. Real footage of a Saturn V launch, however, shows the initial fire plumes being sucked down into the trench below the engines, and it really does look like film of fireballs being run backwards!
While Armageddon is largely scientifically inaccurate, it actually got one thing right: sending the shuttles around the far side of the Moon to create a "slingshot effect" to steal a little momentum and kick them on their way. The effect has been used by space agencies for decades to launch deep-space probes such as Voyager, often looping from one planet to another to gain multiple slingshots. Ironically, the movie was criticized in some quarters for being unrealistic because of this, the argument being that cars tend to fly off corners when you go around them fast. And as we all know, spaceships behaveexactlylike cars.
Oddly, the very name of the slingshot effect exhibits this effect: slingshots do not work that way - slings do. Slings are rather different from slingshots, but nevertheless the slingshot terminology has stuck.
Mentally add a space and it works fine: "sling shot", as in what the ammunition is called and what the vehicle is doing.
Also for technical reasons you can't a slingshot around the moon, only other planets. In order for a slingshot to work you need for the object to 1) be heading toward the celestial object and 2) exceeding the escape velocity of said object. There are some orbital tricks you can do with the moon, but the slingshot isn't one of them.
Used outright in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where the American businessman chooses the most ostentatious goblet from the table of possible Holy Grails, drinks, and promptly dies horribly. Indy and his love interest quickly search the table for the least ornate cup, because that's the kind of cup a simple carpenter would actually have.
In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, there is a reference to the Japanese bombing Shanghai. Many believe this to be anachronistic, referring to an event from 1937 (the movie takes place in 1935). Actually, the Japanese also bombed Shanghai in 1932.
There's a film made for Channel 4 called Yasmin where in one scene, a Muslim woman is being abused by children on the high street. At the end an old woman comes out and apologizes in a really badly acted way that completely ruins all verisimilitude. Apparently this old woman was a random person off the street who didn't realize there was filming going on and the director decided not to reshoot the scene.
In many movies, when an eagle is shown calling, the sound of a red-tailed hawk's screech is dubbed over it. Apparently the red-tailed hawk's cry is stronger and more dramatic than the eagle's (and audiences have come to associate the red-tailed hawk's sound with eagles).
A studio executive allegedly complained that the actor playing Senator Joseph McCarthy in the historical biopic Good Night, and Good Luck. was overacting badly. Actually all of Senator McCarthy's scenes consisted of Stock Footage of the man himself, who actually did overact badly.
The makeup artists in the movie Hannibal went through several iterations of Mason Verger's mangled face before getting to the one you see on screen. The first few they did looked how somebody who had cut his own face off would actually appear, but they realized that it looked ridiculous. So they made his face less realistic and more disturbing.
In the movie Cloverfield they first used accurate measures for the head of the Statue of Liberty, but test audiences complained that it looked too small. For this reason they made it 50% larger than it really is. Even then some people still complain that it looks too small.
Cloverfield gets this a lot on pretty much everything the characters are shown doing, another major sticking point being that they can use their cell phones in subways. (Guess what? People do that, especially in New York City, where some subway stations actually go the extra mile to enable cellphone usage.) At this point it wouldn't be surprising to find out that if there really are giant monsters, they work just like Clover do just because people call him impossible.
During the scene in Live Free or Die Hard (also known as Die Hard 4.0) in which Bruce Willis ducks under a car flipping through the air and is only saved when it lands on two other cars that just happen to be driving right by him, a lot of people complained about how obviously fake the CGI cars looked. In reality, all of the cars were real.
Many people made fun of the plot, believing it to be unrealistic. Actually, similar events had been performed in the past (gas line explosion, hacking with laptop, etc.), just never all at once.
Used extensively, and influentially, throughout Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, with realistically low-key bullet impacts and deaths as well as explosions that are more concussive than fiery. Furthermore, several of the acts perpetrated by Allied soldiers were deliberately un-Hollywood, such as shooting enemy soldiers In the Back, and killing soldiers who were in the process of surrendering, although this tendency also dates back to revisionist war films of the 1950s and 1960s, such as The Dirty Dozen, Kelly's Heroes, and Robert Aldrich's Attack. On the other hand, Saving Private Ryan also suffered from Painting the Medium, with its jerky cinematography and desaturated color palette (despite being set in the middle of summer in Northern France).
And another war movie example: In The Big Red One the soldiers hide from a group of German soldiers. After the Germans have passed by the American soldiers get up and want to walk on, but find one of their comrades is dead. Upon finding his body in the hole he was hiding in, a soldier comments that he had not even heard a shot being fired. The experienced squad leader just explains that the dead guy is not the first soldier to die from a heart attack in the middle of a war and won't be the last.
Christopher Lee has told a story (in The Films of Christopher Lee) that when he tried to perform a scene of his being shot the way he'd seen people shot in WWII — "I put an expression of slight surprise on my face and slowly sank to the floor with great dignity" — the people on set found it hilarious.
For those who didn't see the DVD extras, Christopher Lee served with the Special Operations Executive in World War II. The SOE's job was to perform sabotage across Europe. While the actions of all SOE agents are still classified, during filming of The Lord of the Rings, Christopher Lee told Peter Jackson exactly what kind of sound Saruman would make on being fatally stabbed in the back.
Lee was also turned down for a role in The Longest Day... for not looking like a military man. Which would actually make sense, the SOE were involved in covert actions more than direct combat and looking like a regular soldier would actually be a disadvantage.
In Milk, a number of reviewers complained that a scene involving a gay teen being unable to flee his abusive parents who are planning on sending him to a "special facility" because he's in a wheelchair — and then turning up safe and sound in Los Angeles at Milk's moment of triumph — was unrealistic and played only to tug at the heartstrings. This actually happened in real life.
The plot calls for a man (Daniel Gélin in the role of Louis Bernard) to be discovered as "not Moroccan" because he was wearing black makeup. The makeup artists couldn't find a black substance that would come off easily, and so they painted the fingers of the other man (Jimmy Stewart) white, so that he would leave pale streaks on the other man's skin (according to Patricia Hitchcock, this idea was suggested by Daniel Gélin).
Many people have questioned the famous scene from The Dark Knight in which The Joker's request for a phone call in jail is refused. In reality, there is no law or precedent requiring people in jail to get a phone call. Of course, that being said, most police officers are more than happy to let a prisoner make a telephone call from a department phone. The reason being, unless the prisoner speaks to his or her lawyer, whatever he or she says over the phone isn't confidential speech, and the police are more than free to listen in and/or record the conversation.
One awesome example occurred on The First 48, when the suspect calls his house and asks them to hide the murder weapon. In Creole, just in case the cops were listening. They were, and since it was South Florida, the cop who actually spoke Creole sat watching the monitor while the normally sedate detectives tried to keep their laughter down to a giggle.
During the making of the film, the filmmakers thought that Batman's cape would get caught in the back wheel of the Batpod, and as such a backpack-mode was designed for the cape. However, the cape did not, and so Christopher Nolan and costume designer Lindy Hemming went with letting Batman wear the fabric cape while on the Batpod as well.
The SWAT Team's entry tactics late in the movie were questioned, especially regarding them never opening fire on the Joker's minions or the disguised hostages. In reality, the SWAT team was following actual procedure: until the suspect raises their weapon, they are not an immediate threat and cannot be fired upon.
Similarly, Two-face's face. The original design was a realistically burnt face, but test audiences found it so unsettling that the filmmakers turned the damage Up to Eleven in order to make the face more outlandish than sinister.
The Chinese movie Men Behind the Sun was criticized as being an exploitation film and being too over the top with its violence, despite the fact that everything in the film is based on some experiment the Japanese scientists actually performed (Unit 731).
Speaking of Rambo, the 2008 film's climax had Rambo using a .50 caliber machinegun mounted on a jeep to brutally dispatch dozens of government troops, along with an armored patrol boat and a transport truck. Critics and audience members thought that the ease with which the machinegun dismembered or mangled anything it was pointed at was unrealistic. Military veterans who saw the film, inversely, more or less nodded and said, "Yeah, that's pretty much what a .50 round will do to a human body," understanding quite well that the .50 cal is an extremelylarge bullet◊.
One example from the filming of the movie JFK: Two railroad employees' testimonies of seeing smoke behind the grassy knoll fence on November 22, 1963 is used by Oliver Stone as indisputable proof that there was a second gunman present to help kill President Kennedy. Problem was, during filming of a flashback, none of the rifles they used emitted any visible smoke. The special effects team had to be brought in with a smoke machine to complete the illusion.
SFX artist Tom Savini, who often uses his memories of dead bodies he encountered during his tour of duty in the Vietnam War to create his gore effects, is criticized by some because his makeup effects look "faker" than others.
In The Shining (1980), apparently for the scene in which Jack breaks down the bathroom door, the props department built a door that could be easily broken. However, Jack Nicholson had worked as a volunteer fire marshal and tore it apart far too easily. The props department was then forced to build a stronger door for the storyline and dramatic effect.
Real Life doors are, in fact, exactly as easy to break down as portrayed in the movie, even by amateurs. This is because your average indoor door is actually pretty flimsy, being composed more of empty space (to reduce weight and material costs) than actual wood, since they're mostly meant to block sight and noise rather than attempts to break them down. A safety door made of massive wood, on the other hand, is nearly impossible to break through with a simple axe in any reasonable timeframe. In fact, it's usually easier to attack the doorframe, which doesn't have as much mass.
Some viewers of Munich complained that the scene in which the Mossad agents dress as women in order to approach the apartment they are raiding in Tarifa without suspicion was ridiculous, contrived, and ruined the realism of the film. Presumably they were unaware that this particular sequence was closely based on Operation Spring of Youth, a real Mossad operation, in which the men did indeed dress like women to approach their target.
Ridley Scott actually declined to include any reference in Gladiator to the historical practice of gladiators endorsing products from their sponsors, specifically out of fear of this trope.
The Bad Guy's lair in the first Dungeons & Dragons movie not only looked fake but actually a bit on the nose and over-the top evil. Turns out, it was filmed in a real bone church made out of actual human bones during the Black Plague. (Near Prague, if anyone's interested.)
There was a Discovery Channel show on it in 2007. The church is beautiful in a somewhat macabre manner.
The Agony Boothrecap of Howling II Your Sister Is A Werewolf runs into a similar example as Dungeons & Dragons, where writer Ed Harris makes fun of the cheesy "spooky" props in the opening montage, in particular saying that "the skeletons look like the sort of thing you get for Halloween out of the bargain bin because all the good decorations are gone." In reality, this montage was shot at a similar real-life ossuary in the Czech town of Mělník, and the skeletal remains are real.
The movie The Great Raid was lambasted by some critics, especially bloggers, as being unrealistically gung-ho about the rescue mission due to the large differences in casualty rates as very few Americans and Filipinos died in the film compared to the scores of Japanese. The brutality of the Japanese in the film was also criticized as over-the-top, even racist. This ignored the fact that in the real life mission the film was based on the Japanese sustained 523 casualties total (killed and wounded) while the total casualties of the Filipino guerrillas performing the rescue numbered under 30, and the American Rangers suffering two. The brutality of the Japanese in the film was also very much downplayed compared to the multiple documented cases of how horribly Imperial Japan treated the people in its conquered territories.
The 1996 film The Ghost and the Darkness, about a pair of man-eating lions, featured "conventional" maned lions. The real-life Tsavo man-eaters were actually part of a maneless subspecies. This may have been for the crew's safety as well as this trope; the Tsavo subspecies is well known for aggressive behavior (without manes, they have to be to attract mates).
The screenwriters averted the trope by choosing to fictionalise many of the events rather than include events that actually happened according to eyewitness accounts for fear that viewers would find the lions' brazen acts such as pulling passengers out of train car windows unrealistic.
Also there was no other hunter to help kill the lions... Patterson supposedly did pretty much everything himself. The secondary character's addition is one part Wag the Director on the part of Michael Douglas, and one part this trope. If Val Kilmer's Patterson had been the badass big game hunter the real Patterson was reputed to be, people would have claimed he was demanding the director and writers make him cooler.
One of the complaints about the film The Kingdom is that it's an American imperialist propaganda film about how evil Arabs are, even in countries aligned with America. However, the attacks that drive the film are based on actual bombings possibly involving Saudi terrorists.
And recording of the action on the portable camera? Very common among various group, prevalent in the Hezbollah, where such recordings are used for propaganda and training purposes.
One of the criticisms raised about Enemy at the Gates was that it interrupted an exciting story about the sniper duel between Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev and his Nazi counterpart during the Battle of Stalingrad with a pointless Romantic Plot Tumor between Zaytsev and Rachel Weisz's character. Thing is, the 'sniper duel' was pure Soviet propaganda, whereas Zaytsev actually did have a relationship with the woman Weisz's character is based on.
And that was one of the few historically realistic things in that movie. Actual veterans of the Battle of Stalingrad were quite pissed off about how disrespectfully their history was portrayed.
A common criticism of Sylvester Stallone's critically-panned racing film Driven is that the crashes are ridiculously overblown and physically impossible. Though the crashes are CG, the reality is that only one of the incidents shown in the film is truly outside the realm of possibility, and most of the crashes are actually far TAMER than crashes that have actually happened in real life. Realism failure in the movie comes more from portraying a single season as having so MANY crashes of such a nature, rather than the severity of the crashes themselves.
William Goldman mentions three examples for A Bridge Too Far. First, a British general (Dirk Bogarde) who sends his troops to a supposedly undefended territory, although he actually has information about German troops being there, but doesn't care. Second, James Caan forcing a medical officer to operate on his captain, who seems to be dead (which he isn't, of course). Third, Ryan O'Neal as general James Gavin who was deemed to be too young for the role by the critics - despite being exactly the same age as the real Gavin had been at that time.
There was also a complaint (or number of complaints) during the filming from Colonel Frost about the way Anthony Hopkins (playing Col. Frost) moved from house to house during the battle of Arnhem- Frost claimed that no British officer (and certainly not him) would do anything but shown disdain for enemy fire by walking from place to place. Hopkins apparently tried, but when the gunfire started instinct took over and he dashed around in a half-crouch.
When The Matrix Reloaded was released, there was a widespread rumor/misconception that the twins were completely computer-generated characters. Many people said that, while looking pretty decent, they still didn't look all that convincing. In actuality they were portrayed by real actors (when not in their "ghost" form).
Critics of Unstoppable complained that the way control was lost over the train was too contrived. Not only was the film inspired by a true story (the "Crazy Eights" incident), but the train in real life became a runaway through an even more improbable set of circumstances.
The original plan in 2001: A Space Odyssey was to have Discovery fly to Saturn. To that end, Kubrick's special effects team tried to create a model of Saturn that was as realistic as possible. However, the more realistic they made it, the faker it looked! The rings looked like a flat band of metal foil held up by plexiglass. Thus, the trip to Saturn was scrapped in favor of a trip to Jupiter. Flash forward a decade-and-a-half, when Voyager 1 sent back close-up Real Life photos of Saturn and its rings — the rings in Voyager's photos looked exactly like the flat, "fake" ones that Kubrick's production team had abandoned!
Also, the Discovery was originally designed with large radiator fins, which is indeed realistic because spacecraft need a way to dissipate excess heat from the engines, life support, electronics, etc. However the production team chose to omit the fins because they looked too much like wings, and they didn't want audience members to think that the Discovery was intended for atmospheric flight.
Stop and think: how many libraries have you seen whose books are not mostly standing straight, one against another like bricks? And yet for some reason movie set designers, such as the one in Ghostbusters (1984), have often insisted on making bookshelves look more "realistic" by having the books be stacked messily and lean crazily against each other on both sides, unlike virtually any real bookshelves.
In the French movie The Bear, they used natural bear cub sounds for the baby bear, but in real life they sound almost exactly like a human baby whimpering, leading many people to believe the sounds were faked by a human.
People have criticized Martha's reaction to her own sexuality in The Children's Hour; even a few actors from the movie in recent years have criticized that aspect. However this movie is based off a '30s play so it probably takes place in The Thirties; even if not so, it takes place in 1950s America. It'd be an understatement to say that it wouldn't be unusual for her not to protest homophobic people. Considering she was already having a bad time about her unrequited feelings for Karen even before the Malicious Slander began, and that she probably felt she wrecked Karen's life along with everyone considering her horrible and gross due to being gay, her behavior wasn't that out-of-it.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Bringing up Christopher Lee once again, several people, a number of internet critics included, derided Dooku's flip down from the balcony as bad CGI. In fact, it was an actual live stunt with wirework, with the only CGI being replacing the stuntman's head with Lee's.
The Prince of PersiaVideo Game series and the movie adaptation gets a lot of flak for making the Prince "too white", due to Western audiences expecting everyone who lives in the Middle East to be brown as can be and not even vaguely similar to the rest of the world. This is probably because a perception exists in the West that all Middle Easterners are Arabs, which is a bit like Americans expecting all Europeans to be English; another factor may be a backlash against the tendency in the past to cast Anglo-American actors as all races of people except for the very darkest ones, even if they couldn't pull off the fakery even with makeup. In truth, the Persian people were close relatives of the Europeans, and the majority of modern Iran's population could be considered "white". And most people there identify as white. Compare Iranian prime minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Jake Gyllenhaal◊. The name "Iran" also derives from the same etymology as "Aryan". Suffice it to say, there is and always has been actually a fair amount of variation in Iran, with many lighter-skinned "white" people on the one hand, many others with darker skin, and even a few who look more Central Asian than anything else (particularly in the far northeast, which, um, actually is Central Asian, more or less). Also, read Kotaku's article. Strangely, you don't hear people complaining very often about Bible stories being cast with fair-skinned actors (whose characters, of course, are also Middle Eastern, and usually Semites, and thus even less white than Persians/Iranians) - but then, the great majority of Persian/Iranian people are not and never have been Christians, and "Christian" equals "white" for some reason.
Fans of On the Waterfront (including the people who do the commentary track for the DVD version) are fond of claiming that the film's one weak link is Karl Malden's character, Father Barry. According to the critics, his didactic sermons and high moral tone sometimes stand in contrast with the naturalistic dialogue in the rest of the movie, and Karl Malden occasionally overplays the part by being sanctimonious and one-dimensional. What they seem not to realize is that, according to writer Bud Schulberg, about 80% of Barry's "unrealistic" "Sermon on the Docks" was taken from the speeches of the real-life waterfront priest Fr. John Corridan, S.J. Not only that, but Karl Malden lived with Fr. Corridan for several days before shooting (he purchased Corridan's hat and coat and wore them onscreen), and was specifically asked by Corridan not to play the character as "holier-than-thou", and therefore made deliberate efforts to tone it down.
Jon Favreau related this anecdote that took place during the filming of Iron Man for a documentary on the history of Industrial Light and Magic; while looking at the film rushes one day, he looked at a scene of the Iron Man armor and commented that he thought that the lighting effects in the CGI for that scene were off. He was then informed that the shot was of the actual full-sized armor, not CGI.
Avatar: The Last Airbender used real Chinese characters for the posters and messages in its universe, as well as the opening, and actually had an expert in ancient Chinese calligraphy as part of the staff. The Last Airbender used a made-up sqiggle language because Shyamalan thought actual Chinese didn't look Asian enough.
In a similar vein, he also had the characters' names pronounced "properly", so that "Ayng" became "Ahng", "Sock-ka" became "Soa-kah", etc. The issue is that the names were written phonetically for English speakers; if you were to use phonetic Chinese characters, the names would be pronounced exactly as in the animation.
Not to mention that the names were made up anyway; there's no "authentic" way to pronounce them other than how they were pronounced in the cartoon!
In the How It Should Have Ended parody of Captain America: The First Avenger, Armin Zola questions the Red Skull why they should label their bombs in English. The words written on the bombs were names of US cities: New York, Chicago, etc. These names are written the same way in both English and German; therefore, the bomb labels were in fact written in German.
In the actual film, many people thought that the skinny Steve Rogers was the actual Chris Evans, while the bulked up Steve Rogers was achieved through CGI. In fact, it was the other way around.
And on the topic of HISHE, they have a bit of a problem with this trope. In their parody of Star Trek, Kirk suggests dumping all of their extra mass in order to allow their ship to move with greater velocity against the black hole, and Spock reprimands him as "that is not how spaceships work"... That's the fundamental theory of rocketry, actually.
But of course, the Enterprise does not actually use rockets for propulsion.
Clint Eastwood mentioned in an interview that during the filming of The Eiger Sanction, he would have to dangle off the side of a cliff upside down with a rope tied to his leg. Eastwood insisted on doing the stunt himself, because he wanted the camera to zoom in on his face to show that it actually was him. Later, he snuck into a screening of the film to gauge the audience reaction, and most of them thought that the scene was done with special effects.
James Purefoy, best known for speaking The Queen's Latin in the TV-series Rome, puts on a very strange, vaguely British accent to play Solomon Kane in the 2010 film adaptation. The accent happens to be the accent spoken in the West Country, where the character Solomon Kane comes from... and Purefoy's natural accent (Solomon Kane comes from Devon, whereas James Purefoy is from Somerset).
The movie Red Tails, as well as the older Made-for-TV film Tuskegee Airmen, both about the all-black 332d Fighter Group of World War II, features a scene where one of the pilots manages to blow up a destroyer using only his machine guns, and predictably drew complaints that a fighter plane didn't carry enough firepower for that kind of effect. Most American fighter planes in WWII carried six .50 caliber machine guns, firing a rifle round that was a half-inch thick, which was nothing to sneeze at by itself. These planes often carried armor-piercing and incendiary ammo for their guns. And destroyers of that era often carried their torpedoes and depth charges on the deck of the ship, being too small to carry them anywhere else... long story short, that happened.
Most frogs give a single "Roak" sound. But in most American media the sound of frogs is a steady "Ribbit ribbit ribbit," the sound of the Pacific Chorus Frog, a native of the surroundings of Hollywood.
Fans of the Japanese characters Keroro and Keroppi will be unsurprised to hear that some common Japanese frogs make a Kero..Kero...sound.
The 1990 German film Europa Europa (released in Germany as ''Hitlerjunge Salomon" ("Hitler Youth Salomon") tells the story of a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who poses as a German when he is captured after the Germans invade the USSR. He is so persuasive that he is eventually adopted by a Wehrmacht officer and sent to the special elite SS youth school in Berlin, where an instructor at one point pronounces him "an authentic Aryan" despite his dark complexion. He is later saved from exposure when a Gestapo officer who is investigating his background is killed in a bombing ... moments after the hero leaves the building. At the end, he is about to be executed by the Red Army as a Nazi despite his protestations that he is a Jew, when his brother, just liberated from a concentration camp, recognizes him. A lot of critics found these later coincidences contrived and unbelievable. But while the ending was indeed written for the movie, Solomon Perel, who wrote the memoir the film was based on, did indeed survive the war the way depicted in the film.
A number of critics complained that the climactic shootout between assault-rifle-wielding bank robbers and pistol-packing cops in Heat was totally unrealistic and broke their Willing Suspension of Disbelief (it had more gunfire than any other film of 1995). Two years later, the North Hollywood shootout proved that the film's version of such an event was actually tamer than reality. Nowadays, it's regarded as one of the most realistic and intense firefights in cinematic history.
The Hard Way has an in-universe example. When Nick Lang is trying to get into the head of cop John Moss, he asks about the piano in Moss' apartment.
Moss: My father played.
Lang: His father played, I like that. It has its own reality. But I can't use it, nobody would believe it.
The film of the musical Brigadoon was filmed in studio. According to some accounts, Vincente Minelli looked into Scottish locations, but couldn't find any that "looked like Scotland". (Other accounts say he decided the weather was lousy, or MGM had an economy drive.)
An in-story example in The Return of the Living Dead, when the three heroes make a failure attempt at killing a walking cadaver by impaling its brain and decapitating it. Simply because it "worked in the movies".
In Party Monster, Michael Alig and James St. James' drug use is considerably less than what they used in real life. The film makers toned it down out of fear viewers would find it unrealistic.
In Hounddog, Lewellen's father is hit by a lightning and survives with massive psychic damage, which prompted many critics to express a complete disbelief. Actually a lightning victim is more likely to suffer brain damage (but survive) than to outright die.
In Mutiny on the Bounty, which was filmed on location in Tahiti, white sand was imported to the location from the USA, because the black beaches of Tahiti didn't fit in with the audience's preconceptions about tropical islands.
The title characters' sex scene in Zack and Miri Make a Porno is an in-universe example. While actually closer to Idealized Sex, it's realistic in universe, what with it being a Hollywood film and all, but unusable in the porno because it isn't pornographically stylized.
In xXx, Xander Cage neutralizes the terrorists' nerve gas missile by sinking it in a river. It seems like a standard action film plot device... except that the standard way of destroying organophosphate-based nerve agents is sinking them in a large body of running water.
In a scene from Alien: Resurrection, the Space Pirates and Ripley are swiming through an flooded area. Originally, the film crew just filled the set with water, but they decided that it didin't look natural enough, so they added milk to make it look more turbid.
In one of her diaries she kept for the filming of Sense and Sensibility, Emma Thompson describes a love scene that was shot near a lake. Right on cue, a pair of white swans drifted past during filming. Director Ang Lee ordered them removed, declaring it too sentimental and fake.
Godzilla fans have complained about the Heisei Mothra prop looking like a plush toy, and how the Showa and GMK Mothra are "so much more realistic"; nevermind real moths can look quite toylike when viewed in extreme closeup.
Another big complaint of the franchise (particularly by Tri-Godzilla fanboys) is that Godzilla himself is unrealistic because of his humanoid posture. In real life, this is a more likely posture for a 300-story dinosaur then a average theropod posture, since Godzilla's posture distributes weight between the thick, crocodile-like tail and the bulky, four-toed feet.
When the first trailer for Godzilla (2014) was first released, some viewers complained that the parachute jump seen at the beginning was unrealistic, and that spending that much time free-falling without deploying their parachute was a death sentence. HALO (High Altitude-Low opening) jumps are very real.
Some critics think that Dr. Serizawa's characterization of Godzilla as the maintainer of nature's balance brings in a goofy mystical aspect to a film that otherwise strives to be as plausible as possible for a Kaiju film. But this fits very well with the real life biological and ecological concept of a keystone species, where a particular species, frequently some kind of alpha predator (i.e. like Godzilla), has a disproportionate influence on an environment compared to how abundant it is. If such a keystone species were to disappear, its ecosystem would end up collapsing on itself due to the imbalance. The way Serizawa words it is rather grandiose, but the underlying notion isn't as far-fetched as it sounds.
Another one for Renee Zellweger. Hugh Grant only heard her speak in her British accent while filming the first Bridget Jones movie. Then at the wrap party, he said he initially wondered why she was doing a rather strange American accent all the time.
In the DVD Commentary for Man on Fire, director Tony Scott mentions that when the climactic scene was being filmed in front of a volcano outside Mexico, the volcano actually erupted. However, the eruption looked phony and like it was from a "Disney movie" and was not included in the finished film.
In the DVD commentary of Shanghai Noon, director Tom Dey mentions one review praised the film for using CGI only with creating the Forbidden City in China, even though they actually shot on location at the Forbidden City.
For Big Eyes, Director Tim Burton has said that some of the outlandish elements of the real story (like Walter cross-examining himself) had to be played down or cut so that the film would be believable.
A few people who reviewed The Fault in Our Stars suggested that it was Hollywood-ized to some degree due to Augustus's chemo not resulting in any hair loss, but the writers did their research and the type of chemo that character would be on in their situation wouldn't result in any hair loss.
In 2001 a UK-Russian co-production film about the Night Witches was to be made but ultimately failed to get backing from an American studio. This was not because of the perceived lack of audience interest in a German-Soviet based film since Enemy at the Gates had proved relatively successful that year, but because the studios at the time had made twenty-five very big World War II films, none of which had mentioned the Soviet participation in the war. The studios deemed it difficult to sell the fact to the American public that the first people to stop the advancing Germans was actually "a small bunch of Russian teenager girl pilots," per email correspondence with Frixos Constantine, the producer of the project at the time.
Disney got accused of digitally altering Cinderella's waist for Cinderella (2015). According to Lily James it was a combination of her wearing a corset, the voluminous skirt making the waist seem small by comparison, and her waist being naturally small in the first place.
Dinosaur Island has feathered dinosaurs that make bird noises and in some cases are more docile than one might expect. Clearly the filmmakers had Shown Their Work, but the result is dinosaurs that look and act utterly unlike what most people are used to.
Star Wars - The Force Awakens: on seeing the first trailer, many people complained about the new droid, BB-8 (who consists of a head that seems to float on top of a spinning ball) being a CGI creation, instead of the practical effects that the filmmakers had insisted they were going to use on set. A few months later, a real, working BB-8 rolled out on stage at the Star Wars Celebration event, to much applause (and eating of words).
One of the criticisms of Black Mass by people who knew the real life Steve Flemmi was that the movie Flemmi was portrayed as far more conflicted about his role in the Winter Hill Gang than he actually was, but the movie's producers feared that portraying him accurately would fall victim to this trope and come off as cartoonishly evil.