So many movies, so many plot holes. We geeks can find plot holes in almost any movie, no matter how well-written and directed it is. We may not readily admit it, but we’d probably be a bit disappointed if we ever saw a movie without a single tiny plot hole.
The first list of unanswered questions (a kind euphemism for “plot holes”) we published a couple of weeks ago seemed to be fairly popular; so, as people in the movie business always do, we’ve cooked up a sequel. This time, we’re making it a little more challenging by avoiding low-hanging fruit like Independence Day.
Thanks to everyone who left comments with their ideas on the original list and on the Neatorama post that linked to it — we have incorporated some of them. This list is a bit Star Wars-heavy, but we think you’ll agree with most (if not all) of them.
10. Star Trek (the 2009 movie): Nero’s patience – Having destroyed the Kelvin, Nero bides his time until Old Spock appears from the black-hole-created temporal rift. This takes 25 years, but he waits because he wants Old Spock to watch Vulcan’s destruction as retribution for his failure to save Romulus. Surely with the advanced technology on his mining ship, Nero could have traveled to Romulus and done something to either warn the Romulans of (what is to him) the past about the supernova, or used the magic “red matter” to rectify the supernova situation ahead of time. Considering how impatient he is after Old Spock shows up, it’s truly remarkable how patient he is before that.
9. Back to the Future II: Marty’s non-disappearance – In the beginning of the original Back to the Future, Doc Brown sends his dog Einstein forward in time one minute. For that minute, Einstein does not exist at all, right? So why is it, then, that when Marty and Jennifer go with Doc (and Einstein) forward to 2015, the forty-something Marty and Jennifer are there, having lived through all the time in between? It would have made much more sense for Marty to hear about how he and Jennifer had vanished all of a sudden one day in 1985, never to be seen again. Of course, it would make the movie pretty much impossible to make interesting, but that’s neither here nor there.
8. The Matrix: Why do the machines need humans? – The intelligent machines have all humans hooked up to elaborate devices to harvest their body heat and chemicals, right? But they also have sophisticated fusion reactors. The energy production of fusion reactors compared to that of humans (with all the maintenance required, including The Matrix itself) is so much more efficient it’s just ridiculous — and we’re supposed to believe that intelligent machines, which would presumably operate logically, would keep the humans around anyway? It’s obviously necessary for the plot, but it just makes no sense.
7. Star Wars (Episode IV): Why did the Empire try to kill the heroes on the Death Star? — Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader have a plan, and one that very nearly turns out to work perfectly: They install a tracking device on the Millennium Falcon so the Death Star can follow it to the rebel base. In order for this to work, Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and the droids have to actually get to the ship and take off, right? So why does the Empire try to crush them in the trash compactor, then send squads of stormtroopers after them? I mean, I can understand sending some token troops just to make sure it wasn’t obvious, but they really seem to be trying to kill them. Of course Leia does say “They let us go. It’s the only explanation for the ease of our escape.” But I’m inclined to agree with Han that it really wasn’t that easy, and seriously, Princess, if you’re so sure you’re being tracked, why are you going straight for the place you know the Empire is looking for?
6. The Dark Knight: Why is the Joker so poorly guarded? – Let’s say you’re an experienced police officer in Gotham City. You’ve just captured a psychopath who wears clown makeup, has killed a bunch of people already and tried to kill more, and has shown himself to be devious and incredibly dangerous. You lock up his henchmen in holding cells in full view of at least a half-dozen cops, of course. And you let the Joker sit, unshackled, in an unobserved room, with only one middle-aged cop guarding him. What could possibly go wrong?
5. Star Wars (Episodes III and IV): Just how stupid is Obi-Wan, anyway? – So Obi-Wan, Yoda and Bail Organa decide that the best thing to do with babies Luke and Leia is to separate them and hide them from their father, because having a dad who’s the second-most evil person in the galaxy can really screw a kid up. So Organa quite sensibly takes little Leia to Alderaan and adopts her, treating her as though she were his and his wife’s natural-born daughter, including giving her his last name. This last bit of information may seem obvious, but apparently it isn’t to Obi-Wan, because his idea of “hiding” Luke from his father is to take Luke to the planet where Anakin used to live, to the very house he used to live in, to be cared for by Anakin’s stepfather’s son and his wife, and, as if that weren’t already akin to hanging a giant sign reading “Future Jedi Here,” to give Luke his father’s last name! Because “Skywalker” is such a common last name that nobody could possibly make the connection … if they’re complete morons. Would it have been so difficult to call him “Luke Lars?”
4. Spider-Man 2: Dr. Octavius’s complete disregard for safety – You know why nuclear experiments are not typically done in the middle of large cities? Of course you do, because it’s completely obvious … unless you’re the brilliant scientist Otto Octavius, in which case you apparently have complete disregard for the possibility of something going wrong. It says a lot that, when Doc Ock is under the control of his artificially intelligent arms and planning to recreate the fusion reaction, he does it a fair ways away from the city, in a relatively unpopulated area. Yes, Doc Ock’s metal arms are more considerate of human lives than he is.
3. Star Wars (Episode IV): Why didn’t the Star Destroyer officers shoot down the escape pod? – Say you’re an Imperial officer. The Star Destroyer you’re on has just captured a ship, and you are assigned the task of making sure nobody escapes alive. You live in a time and place where sentient robots are completely normal. An escape pod flies by, and you detect no life signs coming from it, but of course these sentient droids would not be picked up by such a scan. It would take but the push of a button and an inconsequential amount of energy to shoot down this pod, yet you don’t do it. Even forgetting the sentient droids, you know the stolen Death Star plans are the main reason for this whole exercise, so why couldn’t someone have put the plans in a pod with nothing else and fired it off? What possible reason, other than that there would be no story for Episodes IV-VI, could you have for not destroying that pod?
2. Minority Report: Future police with unimaginably bad security – John Anderton gets his eyes replaced so he can avoid detection, but keeps his old eyes with him. He then uses his old eyes to get back into the Precrime building so he can kidnap Agatha. For some reason, even though he is a wanted man and has been for a little while by this point, the security system not only lets him into the building using his real eyes, but fails to set off any alarm that would tell someone he’s there. This is just the worst security system ever, and on a police facility, yet.
1. Star Wars (most episodes): Every computer is a friendly computer – It is awfully convenient how, whenever he needs to, R2-D2 can just plug right into any computer system and access all sorts of information. They waltz into that first room on the Death Star, and Artoo is able to pull up diagrams showing where the tractor beam controls are, that Princess Leia is on the station, and where she is. Later on, he’s able to shut down the trash compactors at a moment’s notice. It sure is nice that the incredibly-paranoid Empire didn’t put any safeguards on their computer systems, so that anyone with an astromech droid can come in and get tons of sensitive information. Artoo does the same thing other places, too, and never runs into any real problems except in Jedi when he mistakes a power port for an interface port. I realize that C3PO says something about some information being restricted, but it’s hard to believe when you look at the info Artoo was able to find.
As usual, if you’ve got more ideas, and we’re sure you do, please leave them in the comments.