Fan Beefs Part I: The 6 Biggest Plot Holes in Genre Cinema (

By:Matt Hoffman
Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2011

 If there’s one thing genre fans love more than watching a good sci-fi or fantasy movie, it’s poking holes in that movie’s logic until the storyline seems completely ludicrous. Here, presented in handy point-counterpoint format, are the six plot holes smart-alecks are most likely to bring up in an attempt to make you enjoy your favorite movie a little bit less. Let the flame wars begin! (Warning: Spoilers galore ahead.)

1. Independence Day: Alienware

Fan #1: You know, the thing that always bugs me about Independence Day  is that the big climax involves the heroes uploading a computer virus onto the alien mothership. Mac and Windows operating systems were both designed by humans, and THEY still have compatibility issues; how could Jeff Goldblum understand the aliens’ software so well that he could design a virus capable of defeating it? In real life he’d barely be able to figure out how to use the alien version of MS Paint.

Fan #2: That’s not entirely accurate. Don’t forget that the US had access to that alien ship that crashed in New Mexico back in 1947. Goldblum could have studied that thing in order to understand the aliens’ computers; I think there might even be a deleted scene that shows him doing that.

Fan #1: The movie takes place over the course of like three days. Bill Gates couldn’t decipher an entire extraterrestrial coding system that quickly.

One Hour Later:

Fan #2: No way, aliens would totally be Mac users. If you’re going around integrating different planetary civilizations into an intergalactic empire, you’re going to want a user-friendly interface.


2. The Lord of the Rings: Let the Eagles Soar

Fan #1: When you think about it, the whole storyline of Lord of the Rings doesn’t really make sense. If the Fellowship had access to these big-ass Eagles that could fly in and save Sam and Frodo at the end, how come they didn’t just have the Eagles fly the ring into Mount Doom to begin with?

Fan #2: It wouldn’t be that simple. Sauron would have seen the Eagles coming and sent the Nazgûl after them, or he would have had his Orc army shoot them down. Besides, the Eagles can’t just drop the Ring into the volcano; somebody would have to actually carry it into the Cracks of Doom.
Fan #1: That may be true, but if any of this stuff had even occurred to Tolkien, don’t you think he would have had somebody bring up the idea at the Council of Elrond?
One Hour Later:
Fan #2: Wait, you haven’t even read Unfinished Tales OR The Children of Húrin? What makes you think you’re qualified to be having this discussion, noob?

3. Star Wars: That’s No Moon, It’s a Giant Ford Pinto

Fan #1: The ending of Star Wars is kind of contrived, isn’t it? I mean, the Death Star is so powerful that it can blow up whole planets, and yet you can make it explode just by shooting a torpedo down one of its exhaust ports? Seems like a bit of a design flaw to me.
Fan #2: You make it sound like shooting a torpedo down that exhaust port was easy. The rebels had to go through that whole trench battle just to get a shot, and Luke was only able to hit the port because he used the force.
Fan #1: Well, not necessarily. In theory, his targeting computer might have gotten the job done just as well.
One Hour Later:
Fan #1: Oh, and I suppose “the force” is the reason why the stormtroopers had such bad aim, too, right? And did “the force” cause Luke’s glove to switch hands during the speeder bike scene? Maybe “the force” is the reason why the prequels sucked. Yeah, that’s right, I said it.

4. The Dark Knight: Joker’s Wild

 Fan #1: Dude, the Joker would have to be omnipotent and omniscient to actually do everything he’s shown doing in The Dark Knight. Just take the hospital scene, for example. How could he rig up an entire major metropolitan hospital with explosives without being noticed? It’s not like hospitals shut down overnight; there are always people there, people who would presumably notice a guy in clown makeup putting plastique in the ceiling panels.
Fan #2: He didn’t do it all himself. He had tons of money, which meant that he could pay tons of people to do his dirty work for him. I’m sure some of his underlings could have figured out some way to pull off that scheme.
Fan #1: I don’t know about that, but since you brought up the subject, why would anyone work for him? He did have lots of cash (until he burned it all, that is), but wouldn’t word have gotten around that he was in the habit of killing his subordinates?
One Hour Later:
Fan #2: Whatever, man. At least the Batsuit didn’t have  nipples

5. Signs: Water, Water, Everywhere

Fan #1: Man, I knew M. Night Shyamalan was going off the rails when I saw the ending of Signs. These aliens can’t survive coming into contact with water—so they invade a planet that’s 70% water? They’ve mastered interstellar travel, but they can’t figure out that Earth is covered with something that kills them?
Fan #2: Yeah, I guess that didn’t really make sense.
Fan #1: Seriously.
One Hour Later:

Fan #1: No, really, The Last Airbender was actually worse than The Happening. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible either, but there you go. That movie left scar tissue in my brain.

6. Inception: Kicking and Screaming

 Fan #1: Hey, there’s one thing about Inception that doesn’t make sense to me: In the beginning of the movie they establish that a “kick” in the real world wakes you up from your dream, right? Because Cobb wakes up from the board meeting with Saito when his chair gets pushed into that bathtub. But then at the end, it seems like it’s the kicks in the real world or the higher dream levels that wake people up, because it’s the snow fortress collapsing that wakes people up into the elevator, and then the elevator crashing that wakes people up into the van… You see what I’m saying?
Fan #2: Didn’t dying in a dream also wake you up into a higher level? Plus, in the later scenes Yusuf was using a sedative that made it necessary for them to have simultaneous kicks in more than one level in order to wake up.
Fan #1: Oh yeah… But wait, I thought the sedative also made them go into limbo instead of waking up when they died in the dream. You know, unless they were already in limbo, which was why Ariadne jumped out of that window… Hold on, whose limbo were they in at that point? Was there more than one limbo?
One Hour Later:
Fan #2: I’m telling you, the top was just about to fall over. You could see it wobbling.
Fan #1: Can we talk about something else? My head hurts.