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5 WTF Moments In Movies

5 Head Scratching Scenes From Film

By Dirk Sonniksen     August 18, 2009

5 WTF Moments in Movies
© Bob Trate


Continuity problems that would baffle Stephen Hawking, art direction that has audiences covering their eyes, characters so out of place, you check to see if you're in the right theater. WTF moments can be little slices of joy, or moments from hell for those who have waited years to see their favorite story make it to the big screen, only to be destroyed by an over-zealous director. From box office hits to box office bombs, they're everywhere. For your review, the following are five recent and not-so-recent WTF moments.

1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

In an attempt to create a homage to every film that came into his head, Michael Bay managed to create two hours and thirty minutes of WTF moments. A glimpse of R2-D2, Wheelie as WALL-E, and a Decepticon with testicles (Balls of Fury?). And then there's Alice. Poor Alice. What shall we make of you? Are you Decepticon or T1000 (definitely more of the latter in our opinion). Why not start from scratch and create something original instead of blatantly ripping off other films? As for the T1000 logo on Alice, ROTF's Visual Effects Supervisor, Scott Farrar commented, “We did it because we like to give a nod to the competition. It's OK; we're all friends.” Maybe you are friends, Scott, but is it really OK? Perhaps Bay is saving something original for Transformers 3. We certainly hope so.


2. The Abyss: (1989) – The Pink-Spaceship-Thing

For the most part, The Abyss was a great movie. Nail-biting underwater scenes, a guy going bonkers with the bends, nuclear missiles, explosions and aliens! Cute, pink, passive aliens. And that's fine. We can handle pink aliens. Our WTF moment occurs when the alien ship surfaces. It's as if Monet and Salvador Dali collaborated on some strange art project and ended up with something akin to the Giant Sea Snail in the '67 version of Dr. Dolittle. What makes the ending so out of place is not just one silly looking spaceship, it's what was cut from the theatrical version of the film. If you want a more accurate representation of Cameron's vision, watch the Special Edition. It doesn't spare audiences the goofy spaceship, but it does give the film a more meaningful ending.


3. Logan's Run (1976) - Box

Box is the ridiculously out of place psycho robot that welcomes Logan (Michael York) and Jessica (Jenny Agutter) into its frozen lair (such a well-suited setting for robots). Box pontificates like Al Gore at a Sierra Club meeting, all the while planning the frozen demise of his guests. Logan's Run was fantastic fun, with set designs resembling a montage of high-end hair salons, but the sequence with Box just left us with that WTF face. Perhaps a more tactful move for director Michael Anderson would have been to stay true to the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, in which Box is depicted as an actual human who is kept alive with cyber-like implants. With the remake of Logan's Run slated to hit the screen in 2010 (with Tron's Joseph Kosinsky at the helm), let's hope Box gets a proper makeover.


4. The Day After Tomorrow (2004) – Weather

The Day After Tomorrow is a meteorologist's wet dream, with some of the most implausible WTF moments in the annals of weather forecasting. It could be the tornadoes in Los Angeles (Breg thought they'd be great in Hancock as well), or the fact that no one can seem to outrun the freakishly cold temperatures that hit the East Coast, except Jake Gyllenhaal and a few of his co-stars. While everyone else in New York freezes dead in their tracks, Jake and his posse manage to weather the cold by simply building a fire in a cozy room in the city library. Jake's Dad (played by Dennis Quaid) also manages to trek all the way from D.C. To NYC to save his son, but the majority of Big Apple residents can't make it three blocks down Broadway without turning into snow cones.


5. Blade Runner (1982) - Narration

More of an after-the-fact WTF moment, the narration of Blade Runner was a decision made to please soccer mom audiences in the early '80s, with studio execs unable to realize that their true target audience was smart enough to understand a film without being spoon-fed obvious plot points. Enter Blade Runner, The Director's Cut, Ridley Scott's 1992 version, which removed Harrison Ford's narration, broached the idea of Deckard being a Replicant, and changed the ending. While some argue the removal of Ford's narration left the film somewhat sterile, we applaud Scott for seeing his vision of the film through to fruition.



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Hobbs 8/18/2009 8:22:07 AM

I don't think Blade Runner should even be on this list.  Yeah, its easy to do hindsite on this over 20 years later but before internets, blogs, DVD's.  A lot of never knew there was a version of Blade Runner without the narration.  We just accepted it for what it was.  I don't think it was a WTF moment at the time of the release only years later when Ridley did the directors cut and we saw how much better it was without it.

miket@jartrealestate.com_home 8/18/2009 8:40:55 AM

 In defense of The Day After Tomorrow there were other survivors in New York. At the end of the movie you see the helocopters picking up other survivors in different areas.

Also, Dennis Quaid and his friends were dressed for the very cold weather and had the proper supplies, the people walking in the streets of New York had regular clothing on. 

shadowprime 8/18/2009 9:26:56 AM


Love the concept for the column, but I don't think a couple of these rise to true WTF status...

For example, in the "so bad I can't look away" movie, Q, it is explained how a giant flying dino/dragon/monster can fly over NYC, in broad daylight, and yet be seen by almost no one. How? It flies between people and the sun. All the time, apparently. From every angle. WOW. Now THAT is a WTF explanation/moment. Although, granted, the movie itself if so staggeringly WTF that choosing any one moment may be unfair.

Or how about when poor ObiWan Kenobi has to take one for the team - really, take one for George Lucas' desire to re-write, or for GL's not anticipating any Star Wars sequels - and explain to Luke that Darth Vader DID sorta murder Luke's father, even though Darth Vader  IS Luke's father, because... er.... um... it IS true, from a .... uh... certain point of view. RIGHHHHHHHHT. *S 

Or in the above-mentioned Logans Run... how about  the "renewal ceremony", which looks like something out of Cirque de Sole, and the participants are wearing (I kid you not) Mylec Street Hockey goalie masks? Whoa.

Or the moment in the generally fun and very entertaining "CLASH OF THE TITANS" when Perseus says "I'm invisible - can't you see?"".... Uh, actually Perseus, no, we can't... which is kinda the point of invisibility, right dude?

Great subject for a column though... so much to choose from!


PS - A Logan's Run remake? Can't see it.  The book kinda/sorta tied in to  the ideas of valuing age and experience (the youth-dominated society in LR pays a price for offing everyone at a young age ) AND a demographic view that given the birth rate, we were going to be swamped by young people. Quite the reverse has played out (at least demographically)... in the West, the number of children is dropping way off, below even the needed "replacement rate", folks live longer, and society is "graying".

PPS - The T-1000 "babe" in Transformers 2 was problematic, for me, not because she was a Terminator rip-off, but because she seemed out of place in a Transformers universe. She isn't like any OTHER Transformer/Decepticon we see (with her ability to mimic a living being, very well!) and no explanation is offered, at any point.



wessmith1966 8/18/2009 9:29:21 AM

I agree with Hobbs on Blade Runner; shouldn't be on the list.

The while Transformers 2 movie is a WTF moment for me...did I actually pay for this?! Kidding aside, I enjoyed it for what it was but really could have done without the swinging balls.

As for The Abyss, Dirk (did your parents really saddle you with that name?) who knows what an alien ship would look like? Maybe they got their color palette from watching one too many episodes of Miami Vice.

DaForce1 8/18/2009 10:13:23 AM

More of a WTF moment is the last 15 minutes of Spielberg's A.I. Aliens? Cloning the mom from just the bot's memories? Seriously a true WTF moment.

JJ Abraham's Star Trek. So they've gone out of their way to show that just a small blob of the red stuff can make a black hole, yet the whole 2 ton ball of the red stuff going off (in the Earth's orbit, btw) does absolutely nothing but create just the same size black hole as the small blob did, and yet nothing in the solar system is disturbed because it's just a black hole. W. T. F?

Sleepaway Camp. The end is just, well, WTF? If you can see that ending coming, then you need some professional help. Badly.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This is the type of ending for a movie you have no way of ending, but it's still a WTF moment.

Fight Club. Honestly, the first time you saw it, even if you saw the little flashes of Brad Pitt spliced throughout the beginning, it was hard to see that ending unless you had already read the book.

Burn After Reading. What happens to Brad Pitt's character is a serious WTF moment.

Tropic Thunder, what happens to the director in the jungle moments after the helicopter is gone.


hanso 8/18/2009 10:14:05 AM

Nipples on the bat suit,  WTF!?

gauleyboy420 8/18/2009 10:40:15 AM

Um well If you were really Transformer fans you would know that there are "The Pretenders" They were super clunky toys, but had a whole mythos built around them and they are square in the middle of the Transformers U.

Alice is a Pretender, not a ripoff of the t-10000 they may have effect similarities, BUT to say that Bay was unoriginal in either of the TF movies is blatant falsehood. In fact the biggest problem most geeks have with the films (not me) is that he went in his own original direction with the concept, and most of you can't handle that.


daForce you're right about your WTF moments, LOL I loved the WTF ending of The Holy Grail.


mike10, how on earth can you defend the day after tomorrow, THEY OUT RAN COLD!!! god I hated that movie (notice I didn't say it was a piece of shit movie, or that Emmerich is a hack, I just didn't enjoy that flick...at all)

DurdenBateman 8/18/2009 10:42:56 AM

About Day After Tomorrow.....I think you could illustrate the point better if you were to mention the scene where the people were in the helicopter and suddenly it was so cold that the frickin' gas froze solid in the helicopter!  thus ceasing further operation of the vehicle....now dont you think that would imply that peoples blood would freeze solid in their veins?  Come on..


another honorable mention for this article should have been Signs.  Aliens that are..."allergic" I guess we could say, of water....decide to come to a planet mainly composed of.....water.  Um...what?  Not to mention their legs were strong enough to jump rooftops but apparently not strong enough to kick through a closet door?!  what gives?!

JoeArtistWriter 8/18/2009 11:08:13 AM

I'm a Planet of the Apes geek, (late 60's - 70's) and I love the entire series flaws and all, but I was always bugged that the Apes, Cornelius, Zira and Milo, were able to fix and fly Charleton Heston's rocket. I'm even willing to forgive the fact that the space craft took them all back to 1971 Earth, just a few years after Taylor, and then later Brent landed on the Planete of the Apes - and that's a big leap of faith, but they should not have been able to fix it in the first place.

In the original Apes movie, when Taylor tries to explain to Zira and Cornelius how he managed to "land" on their planet, (his vocal chords had not yet healed from a gun shot, so he was unable to speak) he makes a paper airplane, and flies it from one end of the room to the other. Cornelius thinks it's crazy. Apes haven't figured out how to fly yet, how could a human.

Now we flash ahead to Escape From the Planet of the Apes and three apes are getting out of the same capsule we watched sink underwater in the original flick.

Now chimpanzees are strong, but I don't see how they managed to pull the craft up from out of the water. Then, with absolutely no previous knowledge of paper airplanes Milo (Sal Mineo's last role) figures out how to make this waterlogged, circuit-fried piece of complicated machinery he's never seen how to work properly?

The Professor from Gilligan's Island, Steven Hawking, Reed Richards and MacGyver would collectively have a problem getting that out of the water, let alone back to 1971 Earth.

That's my biggest WTF moment.

lister 8/18/2009 11:15:21 AM

Q is a really great B-movie. I love it. No WTF here.

Sleepaway Camp's ending might have been WTF, but it sure was great!


Now my addition:

In The Fifth Element, the Mondoshwarma can travel millions of miles across the galaxy, but can barely walk across the floor? Such a huge WTF at the front-end of the movie, that I could barely watch the rest. And then there was Chris Tucker... at that point my WTF had got up and went.

(and excuse me if my description is a little off, I could only stand to sit through this motion blur-laden crapfest one) "Bo-zo"

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