#MovieFailMondays: Signs. Unbreakable. Batman Begins. The Wizard of Oz. (Or, How Movies Can Teach You About Logical Fallacies and Help You Ace the LSAT)


blog-waterEach week, we analyze a movie that illustrates a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who said Netflix can’t help you study? 🎥📖

Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person LSAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Signs. Unbreakable. Batman Begins. The Wizard of Oz. Until I got to the third one, I bet you thought this was going to be a much different article!

Signs is the story of an alien invasion that comes to the home of the Hess family. Patriarch Graham Hess, a former priest, is holding a life together (barely) with his son and brother (Rory Culkin and Joaquin Phoenix, respectively, each trying to escape the shadow of their more-famous brother), and Abigail Breslin (escaping the…anchor of her less-famous brother; bet you didn’t know that!). The four survive the alien attack and eventually overcome the threat—and their familial dysfunction—by dropping some water on the alien.

In Unbreakable, Bruce Willis learns he has super powers when he survives a train wreck. Sammy Jackon’s Elijah Price makes Willis’s character, David Dunn, believe he can use his powers for good. And he does. The only problem? When he’s exposed to water, he becomes weak. Water is his kryptonite, so it’s a good thing it’s easy to avoid…

Batman Begins is the tale of how Batman begun. There’s truth in advertising there! He trains, he beats up some bad guys, and he becomes a member of an international organization of assassins. The leader of that group? R’as al Ghul, a semi-immortal badass played by Liam Neeson (I probably didn’t have to include that description of the character since I told you he was played by Liam Neeson). By the end of the film, however, it turns out R’as is the bad guy (surprise – he was only heading up an international League of Assassins) and tries to expose Gotham to a fear-inducing drug using a microwave emitter that will vaporize all water in the city.

And I won’t even bother to tell you the plot of The Wizard of Oz, because I don’t believe you if you say you’ve never seen it.

What do all of these movies have in common? A huge logical flaw – they all seem to forget that water is everywhere and exists in different forms than a huge tub of water.

Those aliens in Signs? Probably wouldn’t do so hot in an atmosphere that has 37.5 million billion gallons of water. That’s not a made-up number, but it might as well be.

Bruce Willis in Unbreakable? With the same amount of water in the atmosphere and 60% of his body made up of the stuff, he’d probably be a lot more breakable than not. Imagine if Superman had 60% of his body replaced with kryptonite, and Lex put him in a room containing kryponite vapor? Actually, that sounds like an awesome comic…

R’as al Ghul was all for destruction, but that microwave emitter was going to fry humans, which, again, are made up mostly of water.

And while you can argue that the Wicked Witch of the West wasn’t human (she was), or that Oz had a different atmosphere than Earth (it couldn’t or Dorothy would have dehydrated), it still seems to set the stage for all of Hollywood neglecting that most of the human body, and a huge chunk of the atmosphere, is water.

So, Hollywood, I’m calling you out on it now. Stop using, “Their weakness is water!” as a plot device. It’s a huge logical fallacy, and one that makes for shoddy endings (I’m looking at you, Shyamalan). Instead, remember that something can exist in more than one form, and just because the human body is solid (and the atmosphere a gas) doesn’t mean it can’t share properties with a liquid. Equivocations are bad – you can’t use the same idea to mean different things while treating them as the same. Water is water. 📝

Don’t forget that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person LSAT courses absolutely free! Seriously. Check out our upcoming courses here.

Matt Shinners Manhattan Prep LSAT InstructorMatt Shinners is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York City. After receiving a degree in Biochemistry from Boston College, Matt scored a 180 on his LSAT and enrolled in Harvard Law School. There’s nothing that makes him happier than seeing his students receive the scores they want to get into the schools of their choice. Check out Matt’s upcoming LSAT courses here!

No comments yet