Archery Annoyances #11 – Movie Mistakes
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Archery Annoyances #11 – Movie Mistakes

August 12, 2019


I know a lot of people who have this pet hate: Watching movies that clearly portray archery in the wrong manner. Now, some movies go to a respectable length to get archery to look right, but others take a lot of creative liberties, and while this may make archery look cooler, it can also upset archers. Looking at things like shooting multiple arrows, shooting while falling off buildings, having the wrong stance, the wrong anchor point, and so on. And it’s not just in movies, it’s in games and art, and other media. My annoyance isn’t with movies that get it wrong, it’s with people who feel like they have to point it out. I get that some things look totally wrong, and I like how it raises discussion about archery – it gets people talking about it, which is great! Some people make really good blog posts and videos analysing movie archery, and explaining the flaws in detail, and that’s actually really interesting stuff. But then there are people who can’t enjoy a movie at face value, because of small things. And then there are people who go out there to find other images and different sources, and post them online to get criticisms. I mean, looking at things like ‘here’s a school project, I’ve made a digital 3D model, and it’s holding the bow wrong, go and criticise it’. Or, ‘here’s a sketch from DeviantArt’. I mean, damn! That’s taking it too far. Knowing the correct form, and then portraying that form in a different medium isn’t that easy. A lot of artists aren’t archers and vice versa. You know what, some people just want to make archery look cool! They just want to draw a really cool looking picture. Even if it’s impractical, artists want to have that action shot, producers want the best angles, writers want something that can drive the plot through. Even if it’s only a tiny drop of plausibility, it’ll look fine! But beyond that, archery isn’t the only victim of creative liberties – every movie will portray things unrealistically, because that’s what movies are meant to do! Just imagine watching a film with someone like this: “You can’t hold down the trigger – that gun should have overheated!’ ‘God, you can’t be that close to an explosion without internal haemorrhaging!’ “You can’t say ‘Over & out’ on the radio, they’re opposite things!” “You can’t run like that in heels!” “Yelling at someone does not make CPR any more effective!” Then there are people who claim that these misleading films and posters encourage unsafe technique and practice, and they’ll say that people will copy them. I’ve never seen someone actually attempt to replicate movie archery, on the range. Sure, people will sometimes ask about it, but people generally understand that movie archery is not realistic – they know this. Yeah, there are people that might try stupid things by themselves, but they’ll try stupid things anyway, with or without movie influence. Just because a film doesn’t get it right, doesn’t mean people will copy it in real life. “This movie doesn’t follow proper legal procedure! It’s gonna mislead lawyers, and criminals are gonna walk the streets!” I honestly don’t see how a few creative liberties can spoil the experience – it may be worth mentioning, but what’s the purpose behind making a thread, then calling people to point out everything that’s wrong with this particular scene, or this particular image. I get that if they claim it’s an accurate portrayal, and it isn’t, it’s grounds for criticism, but I think that most people have an understanding that Hollywood archery is not meant to be a realistic portrayal. If you really get a kick out of pointing out all the errors that movies make, there’s a place for you: TV Tropes ((This channel bears no responsibility for time wasted.)) That said, my question for you is: how annoyed do you get when you see archery portrayed incorrectly? Does it really get you going, or do you go “meh, whatever”? Post your comments below. This is NUSensei, bringing you another Archery Annoyance

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  1. what bothers me the most is when people watch a movie and ask to use my bow because now they are an expert from that hour of "experience" and expect a robin hood. Or even better, tell me i'm shooting improperly because hold my bow at a 45 degree angle and shoot five arrows at once. like seriously. YOU JUST WATCHED A FREAKING MOVIE, SHUT UP. iv been shooting perfectly fine for years. I have everything is under control.

  2. Art is art and archery is an art, if you can't appreciate the art, even if it is wrong, well good on you, but let the rest of us enjoy it! If like me you have coached target and field shooting, and hunt as well, then you may have tried some things that are not "proper archery form" cos when shooting down a gully at a moving rabbit with a recurve while leaning over a tree form doesn't count…. well hey must have looked really odd, but the rabbit stew was good… Good on ya NuSensei

  3. Reminds me of the trend in 90's movies where the 'cool' person would hold their gun sideways to fire. Yeah. Go ahead. Try that. 😅

  4. lol exactly!. I cannot count the number of times some anal walloper has given it "this/that/the other could not happen/be possible because x/y/z" I reply "one word. seven letters. F I C T I O N!" 😉 lol

  5. Well, it's important to separate the real from fiction, that's all there is to it. Ofcourse I don't want some joker running around the archery field, doing flips and shooting arrows in the same time but I also wouldn't want to watch Arrow and see the main guy taking 4-5 seconds nocking his arrow, aiming for another 5 and doing all the procedures that come into effect when shooting a bow for real.

  6. It isn't actually terribly bad when archery is portrayed incorrectly. Unless it's just inhuman, it can't really bother me.

  7. You could say the same for almost every time horses are used in movies. Before getting back to archery, I used to do 20 years of horseback riding. When I was younger, I often cringed about the breed and equipment of horses used particularly in historical movies. Now I handle that the same way I do it with archery – I notice it, but then try to be tolerant about it. That is why I quite enjoyed Hawkeye and think he is cool (now you may think of me whatever you want). 

  8. I am fine with Like katniss and legalos, I just don't like people shooting three arrows at a time. Also when a movie makes archery seem so easy

  9. I do not really get annoyed by things like that, but there was one scene from the Arrow series where Felicity Smokes took Green Arrows bow and pulled it back with two fingers, like it was nothing. That bow has shot tennis balls stuck to concrete.

  10. Personally it doesn't really bother me. It happens with everything from swords, bows, guns, even some movies/TV shows take huge liberties with cars and driving. It's not just movies, its video games as well. Just enjoy it for what it is, and if you feel the need to be an armchair elitest, find some place that cares, and don't spoil it for everyone else.

  11. Uh… people totally try to recreate movie archery on ranges. I've seen it first hand. Not that my personal experiences are indicative of what happens on ranges EVERYWHERE… However, there is this one older guy at my range that everyone openly hates. Has some low # recurve bow and uses a back quiver. Rules at my range clearly state maximum of 5 arrows per end. This guy has at least 9 arrows in his, what I call, "elf quiver". He's a pseudo Andersen. He isn't accurate to the point where he's shattered a light, his form is awful… he goes for pure speed even if that means ignoring the rules and holding up the line. I leave the second I see him there and have openly expressed my annoyance about this guy to the people who run the proshop/range.

  12. When I'm watching a movie with archery generally I'm too absorbed into what's going on to notice. Sometimes if I'm bored and watching a film I'll pick it a part a little bit. I do think it would be sweet if they made a film that – while being entertaining – also demonstrated proper technique.

  13. I don't really care, I think it's great as people start to like archery from seeing that cool stuff. It's unlikely they try it because why joining the club you have safety courses to make sure they are responsible enough to not do that!

  14. I have seen people trying to replicate movie archery and stunts made in….hunger games….needless to say he was banned from our archery range because he thought he was a professional for buying a 100€ compound bow and looking at some youtube videos,so yes,sometimes movies do encourage incorrect usage of bows/firearms,but theres not much you can do about those fanatics other than showing them the right way or if they are to stubborn to take some advice from long time archers,just ban them from the range.

  15. I know this video is older but there is this so called 'dagger' technique on youtube made up by a russian guy that allows him to shoot as fast as Legolas from LOTR, and it looks damn impressive.
    I'm sure you know of it

  16. everything in every movie is always exaggerated to some extent and I can accept and even generally enjoy this. that said…I also enjoy picking them apart after I've enjoyed them at least one time through, watching just to be "wowed" by all the cool stunts. but sometimes when it's just REALLY far out I can't help but "nerd rage" about it. for instance: Loved The Avengers but when Hawk Eye picked up his folded down bow and with a simple twitch of his arm, caused it to unfold itself ALREADY STRUNG AND UNDER TENSION!!!! that was just….ugh!!! quick release fold out? sure why not? but already strung? from folded to a compact piece of gear no longer than the riser to a full sixty-odd inch bow….. STRUNG!!! that's more than I can suspend my disbelief for.

  17. wait so you CANT shoot 17 arrows at the same time while jumping off a building backwards without hands like movies say. who would of thought

  18. When nobody else was on the range i once tried to shoot 2 arrows at once. It wasnt as cool as i thought it would be, i just shot 2 inaccurate shots.

  19. i say eh whatever. yes it may be represented wrong, but i have learned archery is about what works. yes hollywood is about glam, but if someone is able to recreate what hollywood has done in movies in a way that works for them then how can it be considered right or wrong?

  20. I only get annoyed when we have our annual have a go and everyone tries to do what Jennifer lourence dose in hunger games

  21. personally i am interested in archery but i know more about guns, i try to be pretty lax with movies and shows but when a guy starts shooting a bolt action shot gun and pumps the forend to reload while they use a pump action sound effect its a little annoying. and quite hillarious

  22. I'm not sure I'd spot an archery mistake in a movie but what is immediately obvious to me is aviation mistakes. Executive decision and flight plan are just 2 of many movies where they made several aviation-related screw-ups.

  23. […] in a TV episode of ARROW, I once saw him run across the tops of a long line of bumper-to-bumper shipping containers.
    This was the opening scene of the episode, and, as usual, it was rather dark [low contrast for viewer].
    My `Movie Mistake Moment` was when The Arrow pulled a thing out of his backpack […] he held his bow, pressed a button,
    and like an umbrella expanding / popping into open position, his bow expanded into operational position. He drew an
    arrow, and […] well, the bad guy was done.
    .
    .
    How can those limbs NOT collapse [back to backpack carrying position] when he later pulls on the string?
    Grrrr….

  24. NUSensei,
    Are you telling us unusual, rarely seen in real life, shots and angles aren't real; just hollywood `versions`??
    Are you telling us Happy GIlmore style run-ups to a TEEd Golfball on the TEEing ground [as if you're a cricket bowler] isn't
    available in real life?

  25. i think u are right, but i can understand these guys. the problem is: a director/artist of a film that is about archery should at least know how to do archery/what archery is.

  26. I was that guy. I was only 13 (and only 15 now), but still. I made the mistake of trying to kiss up to my coach by pointing out mistakes I'd noticed on tv and he calmly asked me if I thought it made me feel smart. I got the message. Humility is probably a good lesson to learn in any sport.

  27. I got into archery after being a long time fan of Green arrow, and the resurgence of the character with Arrow. After being into recurve archery for a little over a month, and shooting just about everyday. I now understand how unrealistic that is…

  28. I got ask about this: "Hey yo I saw the Hanzo guy in Overwatch twists the string in full draw to make the arrows fly in a curve. Is that possible?" I was like: wha… And my friend got a better answer: "Yeah yeah yeah, he can shoot 2 dragons out as well, go figure."

  29. I've seen kids shooting like legolas, ie, throwing their weight into the shot because they think it will make it go farther

  30. My issue is these people don't consider the difference between dynamic combat archery usually shown in these movies and range or hunting archery.

    Go play archery tag and tell me you follow all of your shooting cues for every shot.
    A lot of the time I just shoot in the general direction of a target in order to get them to back off.

  31. Hey NuSensei, when you rant, you REALLY rant – totally love it! Another thing I realised is, movie archers are all right handed.

    Only sInce I started archery myself, I am picking up the typical movie mistakes.

  32. I don't really mind movies portraying stuff wrongly. Which they do a lot.But it's a movie, it can't be fully realistic, that would make it boring.

  33. is it all wrong? all the movies? because i recognize some legitimate archery method in brave hearts, akira kurosawa's movies, robin hood (not the comedic ones, the one where the actor that played water world one) even in brave. well IMHO

  34. Its so annoying at was at the range and a kid lesson was going on and the instructor said who's here because the saw
    hunger games everyone raised their hand

  35. space travel in movies: warp drives, hyperspace, ftl, wormholes, ansible, cryopods, stargates, teleportation

    computers in movies: 3D virus design, digital landscapes, game-like GUIs, digitizing material objects

    tankery in movies: reliable radio, reliable guns, reliable armor, reliable treads, no constant supply required, no repairs needed

    video games in movies: turns children into serial killers, somehow makes people good at unrelated computerized tasks such as hollywood "hacking"

    archery in movies: changing anchor-points, 2mph arrows, visibly weak bow-pulling form

    every hobby is misrepresented in the media

  36. Movie mistakes don't really bother me. I am a new archer (a little under a year in) but when I do spot a mistake I get to think, 'Hey! I recognize that error.'

  37. When people watch movies and things.. if they personally do or know about something in the movie.. like shooting or archery or whatever it is.. then they will have a gripe about that one thing and point it out.. like "why can't they do it the right way.. why didn't they research or have someone on set for this".. but then that's just the one thing they personally do…

    When with the whole movie there's actually a lot of people who feel the same way..
    Shooters, archers, drivers, hand to hand combat, weapons fighting, historical depictions, battle formations, politics, tracking, legal system, medical things, mental illness… it goes on and on..

  38. movie mistakes are mistakes. If there is a reason like the reverse hand in Avatar because they are Aliens it is nice. But simply making silly mistakes in a huge project like a movie is bad and can add up like: bad archery+ bad swordsmanship+ bad history+ bad science can mean a bad movie. And most of all it can be greate fun to search for them!

  39. My problem is with people who have a problem with people who criticize movies. Your move, NUSensei 😛

  40. I think that extensive knowledge in any particular skill (like archery} can make it difficult for the viewer to get lost in the fantasy of the movie.
    although it is fun to pick apart the misconceptions or even do some research after.

  41. Movies are about suspension of belief a form of escape for the audience. Most of the laws of physics get seriously bent in most action movies. So just lay back and enjoy the film after all, it is not real 🙂 Tip next time you see a gun fight in a film. Try to work out the magazine capacity of the gun 🙂

  42. im the one who do dat unrealistic archery thing, but if someone else do that, i think i could be annoyed, i mean, what a stupid they're (coz i could do better)

  43. As an IT person, I've been on the receiving end of hollywood bullshit for ages. With several exceptions EVERYTHING about computers in movies is so wrong it's not even the opposite of what's true. So no, I don't have a problem at all with archers pointing out the errors and bullshit in movies. Give 'em hell. You can make it exciting without making it stupid. Is Legolas' shot with three arrows at once any more exciting to see than if he'd only used one? How would a full-auto crossbow work?
    No, I like when people are passionate about their field of interest and nerd out on it. I love reading stuff like geologists tearing apart earthquake disaster movies by explaining how the ground in the area in question is silt and can't possibly transmit that much energy, for instance. Or how earthquakes can't go above 10 on the Richter scale because it's logarithmic and the earth crust can't store that much energy, and oh btw. the Richter scale hasn't been used for decades. I ALWAYS prefer knowledge to bullshit, so please DO point out whenever you see something stupid, and I don't care how nerdy it makes you sound. In fact I'll love you for it.
    This is not merely annoying – it is dangerous as well. Rescue services despair because thousands of people are left to burn to their deaths after car accidents every year thanks to everyone knowing from movies that "it's gonna blow up!" any second. No it fucking isn't. Cars are engineered NOT to explode, and the only way hollywood can get those effects is by using high explosives and fire accelerators. So go get that unconscious poor sod out of his burning wreck and save his life.

  44. Nonono, if I see it done wrong I nuke them with my thermonuclear warhead and put my refracting electromagnetic quantum harmonizers in front of their photonic resonation chambers without creating parabolic destabilization of the fission singularity on a Saturday morning.

  45. as far as "I've never seen someone replicate movie archery on the range" uh, I HAVE. i was teaching some kids and one of them turns the bow sideways with the string over the BACK of his elbow (so the bow was outside his arm) and he grabs the string with his FULL, CLOSED FIST and looks me dead in the eye and says "can you believe I was born for archery." No, kid, I can't. Sure, people with some modicum of sense don't imitate the bad archery shown in films, but little kids do, and they are already the most at risk on the range

  46. I'm not an archer, I'm a firearms target shooter (I live in the U.S. so I have access to lots of guns, but don't worry, I'm a liberal and not crazy *twitch*) and I really notice firearms being used and acting unrealistically in movies I just don't point it out and be 'that guy' unless it's really egregious. I'd just have to laugh at using two pistols, both held sideways. On another note, I've been watching a lot of your vids NUSensei and I've always wanted to try shooting arrows instead of bullets, your vids might have just inspired me to buy my own archery supplies when I have the money. I love shooting at targets, I'm a huge history buff so bows sound fun to me and well, you get the picture!

  47. I love how movies get archery techniques wrong. It gives the archery community something to laugh about together because the mistakes are usually hilarious

  48. On the note of artist archers, a good friend of mine does do archery and her DeviantArt page is here: https://sparrowdraws.deviantart.com/

  49. Doesnt really annoy me very much, its usualy fun or funny to me, sometimes friends or my husband will ask me questions about things archery related in movies and then I might go into a bunch of fetail about it but otherwise not really, I like seeing cool fantasy stuff so maybe im biased

  50. You see, you live in Australia where I expect people to have some modicum of sense to think, “Maybe movie shit doesn’t work in real life”. But I live in America, home of the Obese Mall Ninja, who cannot he trusted as such.

  51. Actually if you try to make sense of movies , then it defeats the whole purpose of going to watch a movie , since they want make the movie more enjoyable (action pack) .

  52. Some movies are horrible with bows shooting ,it's just come on at list make a little realistic .. Most movie I like is Robin Hood ( 2007) I believe . Movies that get me mad be , hungry games , or Helen of Troy . In one Russian movie they even copy Larsen . It's when you hold multi pull arrows in the hand you draw the bow with , and loose one after another way quickly .. I loved it .

  53. As a very new archer (2 weeks) undergoing training with a certified instructor in traditional recurve, I am only beginning my exploration into everything archery that I possibly can, including movies. I have watched the Avengers, but only now am I looking specifically at Hawkeye and what he's doing. By the same token, my instructor has specifically hammered in proper technique, and I understand this and want to very much solidify proper technique. I tend to fear watching films where archers are shown using improper technique (such as Hawkeye). I am deliberately only exposing myself to correct technique seen in movies, until I feel like my own technique is more solidified. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I don't want to absorb things that deviate from what I'm learning. But I don't see this being a problem as I get more confident.

  54. I agree with you that we should accept creative liberties. But, I still would like to know the actual draw weight of Legolas' bow.

  55. That reminded me of "Omg the bows in Skyrim are so unrealistic, the daedric bow is soooo stupid, I will just install this mod for more historically accurate bows". Wait what? These bows are that way for a reason, they're just meant to be like that because the devs and production decided this would be part of their lore. Sure people can mod it, but I don't see the point 😀 A mongol bow is sort of… not going well in the Elder Scrolls universe 😀 Historically accurate for what, aswell? 😀 It's fantasy.

  56. the movie "avitar " was an awesome movie for archery . i am a flintknapper, selfbow maker and primitive weapons guy and that movie was pretty spot on

  57. I did find the scene in the Scorpion king where the bad guy picks up the Rock's bow and tries to pull back the string and cant.

    My mother when she first discovered I bought a bow freaked out on me because my wife and I were expecting a baby any day. How dare I bring a weapon into the house… My bow is a Parker Hunter Mag with a 70# draw. I tell my mom that this is a baby safe weapon. Of course after watching 50 some years of movies she does not believe me. So I put the bow into her hands and tell her to draw the bow back. She can only get the strings back a few inches. Then she realizes that my about to be born baby will be a teen before he can shoot the bow. He is now 13 and can barely get the bow into letoff. He is not a weakling but this bow is just a bit much for him at this point. It's funny that in a movie anyone can pick up any bow and shoot it like it's nothing.

  58. The more knowledgeable you are, the more stuff in pop culture annoy you. But a truly knowledgeable person knows this doesn't matter.

  59. My record is 5 arrows at once but that is to week and inacurate
    3 are fine but still to heawy for practycal shoting 2 are enought 😉
    I am for ewery stupidity but it is just for fun
    And I dont like when this stupiditis are presented as something serious

  60. I see it as just another gem of the entertainment. However, if someone asks me, "hey are they doing that right" I will tell them, and we will both enjoy a good laugh.

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