On one side we have especially in sci-fi futuristic equipment which are explained by handwavium and unobtainium. Scripts completely ignoring realism because the authors did not research anything or prefering inaccurate, but "cool" gizmos. In these cases it seems lost time to answer equipment questions for things that do not exist or work.

On the other hand, we have many situations where movies must portrait equipment details realistically to hold the suspension of disbelief. Or the author wanted to make a realistic movie. Or the genre itself demands to portrait the use of equipment and gadgetry (heist movies). Some films are also a nod to some fields which know at once what the presented equipment means but is inscrutable for other people.

Is it allowed to ask what realistically portrayed things are and how they are used?


  • I saw in a movie how they breached the safe with a strange glowing rod? What was that?
    Answer: It was a thermic lance.

  • In the movie they attempted the drive the rich woman crazy by gaslighting. But who was the translucent woman? Was she really getting crazy in the end?
    Answer: No, the abusers used a stage technique named "Pepper's ghost".

1 Answer 1


Yes. For example, please see the entire tag.

Especially for realistic things, it helps a user's understanding of the plot of the movie or a specific thing, if they know what's happening and how. Both examples you give are prime examples. The second is better because it might have been explained outside of the movie, or be a complex explanation in the movie. Maybe it was only explained in an obscure note on a table that wasn't mentioned in words (A copy of "Stage Techniques for Fun and Profit" on a bookshelf in the abusers' planning room.)

An highly voted example is Is it scientifically possible to grow potatoes in Martian soil?. It questions the validity of a seemingly un-real concept shown in the movie.

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