Fan Beefs Part I: The 6 Biggest Plot Holes in Genre Cinema - Mania.com



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

You know what bugs us...?

By Matt Hoffman     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.

 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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SarcasticCaveman 3/30/2011 1:41:13 AM

 Actually, you missed the much bigger plot hole in Star Wars IV: A New Hope...okay, we've got this moon-sized space station that can destroy planets.  We learn that the rebel base is on a moon orbiting a planet thanks to the tracking device we placed on the Alluminum Falcon.  We go to the system, start orbiting the planet that the rebel base orbits, and wait till we're in range to fire upon said moon...why don't we just blow up the PLANET that the MOON orbits around, putting the MOON in range in 20 seconds instead of giving the rebels 15 or so minutes to fly down our trench and blow us up?

Johnnyathm1 3/30/2011 2:07:51 AM

LOL!! I have been having a great time read the stuff here at Mania today. This was a fun article. Great job Matt!! You tickled my funnybone today.

Having said that, I would have to agree with Caveman on that one point. I would also like to point out the hotly debated Superman catching Lois in mid freefall debate...which was one of my all time fav scenes on TBBT.

SarcasticCaveman 3/30/2011 2:25:14 AM

 Ah, the old "Man of Steel's arms would cut free falling Lois into mulitple bloody pieces argument...good one, Johnny...along those same lines, though not debated because the movie isn't good enough or important enough, how could Optimus Prime safely catch a human from falling?  If I fell off a bridge onto a huge metal hand, I would still be in a world of hurt.

Johnnyathm1 3/30/2011 2:39:55 AM

Speaking of Transformers, Caveman...in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen...how do you go from being inside the National Air and Space Museum, which is located near the heart of Washington DC, and then stepping out the back...into a mountain clad landscape?!?! I was like, Wow...and we know they are in DC!! I guess they did that because your average 5th grader cant point out the national capital on a map of the United States. For all they know, our capital is in...Montana...lol!

hanso 3/30/2011 3:09:07 AM

The Cobb bathtub scene you are referring to, actually is the first level of the dream.  The Saito board meeting was the second level and the train where they all wake up in was the real world.  So that whole sequence was a dream within a dream, which is what made Saito be impressed by Cobb and his team and why he chose them for the inception job.  Cobb getting dropped in the bathtub wasn't a "real world" kick.

I've thought about the water argument against Signs.  I haven't seen the movie in a long while so don't remember if they ever said why the aliens show up here but lets think about humans a sec.  Them mofos do stupid shit all time and love putting themselves in danger.  They go to space even though we can't breath up there, love exploring the deep ocean which again we can't breath down there.   So why can't aliens come explore Earth regardless if they are in danger or not?  We seem to do those things just fine.

Johnny, the National Air & Space Museum that the Sam Witwicky and friends was in wasn't near the heart of DC.  The one you are referring too is in the National Mall but there is another Space Museum that is located near the Dulles airport in NoVa, near Vienna, VA if I'm not mistaken.  Haven't been there in awhile so can't comment on the mountains.

 

Johnnyathm1 3/30/2011 3:38:15 AM

I know the one you are refering to, Hanso. However, in the film, they did say the Smithsonian...and the only place that I know that they have a SR-71 Blackbird on display for the public...is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum...which is located in Washington DC. There is no Smithsonian (air and space) extension located in VA. I have been to the one in DC, and they filmed inside the one in DC...and they never mentioned VA in the film...so you are left to infer that they are in DC...hence the glaring hole in the plot...lol.

Wiseguy 3/30/2011 4:28:50 AM

Love the piece Matt, pretty funny and witty. I agree with all of the above including the talkback with the fans. It's always funny and I'm part of that when a diehard fan just argues and defends plot holes.

That was one of my favorite points when talking about TDK. It would be one thing if the Joker somehow managed to put one powerful bomb in the hospital but no, that entire place was rigged for demolition. No way it could've been done, who'd work for him and then the people that Batman said he attracts couldn't be trusted with explosives in the first place

I'll concede Avatar too. With all the tech the RDA had and all the equipment and soldiers for hire at their disposal there's no way a bunch of primitives on banshees could have overtaken them. I guess Colonel Quaritch wasn't a student of history ala the Zulu ambush of the Brits

 

 

tarven 3/30/2011 4:38:03 AM

Johnnyathm1, if you check the Smithsonian website, you'll see that there is an extension of the air and space museum at Dulles.  It houses the largest collection of preserved aircraft in the world.  Including the Enola Gay, a full size concorde, and the Shuttle Enterprise.  Just wanted to clarify.  Its there, and free to view just like the other museums.

Its actually kind of cool, they have an IMAX theatre (where Transformer's 2 was filmed for the SR-71 scene) and a control tower that lets you watch the planes come into Dulles and hear the control tower radio traffic with the planes.

However, there aren't any mountains immeadiately in the background.  It was definitely a location change.

madmanic999 3/30/2011 5:02:14 AM

The LOTR beef is not really a beef at all... the whole point of sending Frodo across land (and the reason Gandalf was so releaved when Frodo volunteered) is two fold...

One, the ring had to stay hidden, The tiny hobbits were at first unexpected and travelled virtually hidden for the majority of the journey.

Two, the ring corrupts the bearer, for whatever reason (most likely his peacful nature and big heart, this took much longer with Frodo, any other bearer, including and especially Gandalf could have resulted in a terrible consequence.

In short, if the eagle carried the ring it would have been corrupted, and if the eagle had carried Frodo, Sauron would have spotted them a mile away, and swiftly dealt with them.  The ring had to stay hidden, and in Frodo's hands.

madmanic999 3/30/2011 5:12:25 AM

Great list though, awesome read...

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