When a filmmaker shows the audience a bunch of jumbled computer code, it’s usually lazy shorthand for genius-computer-person or hax0r-doing-rad-sh*t. But what are we actually looking at when that schizophrenic collection of numbers flashes on the screen? Turns out, not much.

John Graham-Cumming started a Tumblr Movie Code where he posts screen grabs showing code from different films and TV shows — and then the actual sources of that supposedly fancy-pants code. Doctor Who, for example, was merely staring sternly at an SVG file of a light wave taken from freaking Wikipedia (sad). The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (above) were looking at Borland’s C programming languages (boring). Even if this still sounds like an alien language to you, the bottom line is that most filmmakers aren’t terribly concerned with re-creating realistic code. They just want stuff that looks extremely confusing and overcrowded and haven’t factored in how absurd some of this stuff would actually appear to someone who has a clue.

Thankfully Movie Code is around to sort it out for those who are interested and keep us highly entertained in the process. [Spotted via Sploid]

“In Jurassic Park there is unknown but real looking source code (possibly for an SGI UNIX machine) (source @carlschrammel)”

“In Ghost in the Shell there is unidentified (but genuine looking) C source code (source @edboyww).”

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