Science in film is usually something of a joke. Hollywood likes to pick and choose from actual things that happen and actual things that people want to watch happen. More important than any one thing, though, is an amazing scientist to lead the adventure.
And I take these scientists very seriously. Here are some of the best:
1) Rick Moranis as Wayne Szalinksi in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!
He's a bumbling dope, but he's also a genius. He shrinks a bunch of children. Irresponsible? Yes. Impressive? Yes. But it's a total accident, so he shouldn't get too much credit. Then he almost gets them killed by tossing them in the trash, subjecting them to the horrors of their own backyard.
Way to go.
2) Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy
I may prefer the sequel to the original, but without the original, we certainly never would've gotten to the sequel! We would've never met Doc Brown, one of the best movie scientists ever.
He's a scatter-brained human wizard who invents time travel. With one tool - the flux capacitor - that looks sort of like a model of fallopian tubes made out of those glow necklaces you get at a Bar Mitzvah, Doc Brown changes the world. Sure, he basically only uses this tool to help his high school intern make sure his family is cool and safe, but what better use of time travel is there?
Doc Brown's not here to change the world. He's just here to make sure Marty McFly's kids don't go to jail and also to go to the old West for no good reason other than why not!
3) Jodie Foster as Dr. Ellie Arroway in Contact
No one wants to listen to poor Ellie! Except aliens! Jodie's character was inspired by actual, real, awesome scientist Jill Tarter. Just check out this combo of crazy jacket/killer thumbs up. A champion. A science champion.
Dr. Arroway not only talks to aliens but also follows their alien IKEA instructions to build a pod to go on a road trip to visit them. A human that aliens don't want to kill or enslave? Sounds A-OK in my book. In my book of things I rank on a scale from "Thanks, But No Thanks!" to "Sounds A-OK."
4) Gene Wilder as Dr. Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein
Is there any finer scientist than a mad scientist? He reanimates the dead and he does it with style and comedy! And passion. Loads and loads of passion. Dr. Frankenstein is especially notable for his ability to tap dance with a man made up of formerly dead pieces.
5) Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park
Queen of all the scientists. She gets elbow-deep in dino poops. 'Nuff said.' Well, not quite. What's with lady scientists being named Ellie? Is that some sort of prerequisite?
P.S. There are seriously not enough stills/clips of this scene captured on the internet. What the hey is that about? Document this more! Now!
Jeff Goldblum in everything he's a scientist in and, boy howdy, never has a scientist been more topless!
He's so right.
Nothing says scientist quite more than crouching naked in your science machine.
The Life Aquatic
Rich, dangerous science!
He thwarts aliens with a USB drive, so he must be a genius. And he sure is lucky aliens have the same inputs for their computers that we do. Just look at all the science on that whiteboard! He means business. He knows the aliens are attacking Earth. It's labeled. He's a smart guy.
The Double Helix
He eats so many snacks in this movie, so it counts more than ever!
Denise Richards as Christmas Jones
Because it's HI-LARIOUS!