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NPR Arts & Life

Film Flubs In 2012: A List Of Inconsistencies


2012 was a great year for U.S. movie ticket sales - nearly $11 billion. Some of the highest grossing films include "The Avengers."


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (as character) What have I to fear?

ROBERT DOWNEY JR: (as Tony Sparks) The Avengers - that's what we call ourselves. Earth's mightiest heroes type thing.

MARTIN: "The Dark Knight Rises."


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (as character) I need to see Bruce Wayne.

MICHAEL CAINE: (as Alfred) I'm sorry. Mr. Wayne doesn't take unscheduled calls.

MARTIN: And, of course...


DANIEL CRAIG: (as James Bond) Bond, James Bond.

MARTIN: But how much attention do we really pay when watching these films? All of them had errors in continuity. You know how it goes: one moment an actor is nursing a wound on his left shoulder and the next moment he's clutching his right. Or there's a near-empty glass on a counter and, poof, it's full. The website MovieMistakes.com has a list of some of the biggest errors in last year's films. John Sandys runs the website and he joins me from the BBC in Surrey, England. John, welcome to the program.

JOHN SANDYS: Thank you.

MARTIN: So, the movie at the top of your list for mistakes and continuity issues from last year is "Men in Black 3." What are some of the more glaring mistakes of inconsistencies?

SANDYS: Well, I think 'cause "Men in Black 3" travels back and forth in time, it means you've got a whole host of factual mistakes as well, which it opens itself up to. One which jumped at me was in Cape Canaveral in 1969, we see the flag of Spain waving, but it's the wrong flag. It's the current era flag, not the 1969-era flag. I mean, it's hardly a major research job. I don't know whether they thought it wasn't worth looking into or they just thought, well, no one will care.

MARTIN: Second on your list is the latest Bond film, "Skyfall." What were some of the standout mistakes in that film?

SANDYS: One is in the London Underground. The escalators in the London Underground have got hard barriers down the middle, precisely to stop people sliding them, because it's ridiculously dangerous. But Bond is chasing a bad guy and they both slide straight down the middle, 'cause it makes for a brilliant shot. But I think I heard from so many Londoners just say, well, this would never happen. They (unintelligible) ridiculous. Probably just annoyed they've tried it themselves and failed.

MARTIN: According to your website, what is the movie with the most errors of all time?

SANDYS: The most of all time is "Apocalypse Now," which has got 395 mistakes in it. There's a famous sequence when "Ride of the Valkyries" is playing as they swoop in for an attack on the village.


SANDYS: And you can see a tape is being played on a tape recorder. And the music we're hearing is apparently from that, except the tape isn't actually going over the heads reading it. So, we should be hearing nothing.

MARTIN: So, have you been to the movies this year?

SANDYS: No, not yet. I'm going to see "The Impossible," which is the tsunami film, on Monday.

MARTIN: This is with Naomi Watts starring.

SANDYS: Yes. But I imagine, 'cause that's a fairly sort of epic, dramatic tale, I'll hopefully just get far too caught up in the story to be looking for mistakes.

MARTIN: John Sands. He joined me from the BBC in Surrey. John, thanks so much for talking with us.

SANDYS: Thank you. Anytime.


MARTIN: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.