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The 10 Biggest Movie Plot Holes of All Time

02 May 2017 | Features, Other Lists | by Matt Wilson

terminator-2-judgement-day-1991

Whenever we watch movies, it goes without saying that viewers need to suspend their disbelief, because movies are usually not going to be completely realistic, and some movies are completely far-fetched. With that in mind, most viewers will simply go along for the ride and the let the film entertain them.

However, what is not so entertaining is when aspects of the film’s plot make absolutely no sense or do not add up, making viewers wonder, “what the hell?” or “wait a minute!” These are moments that contradict other events in the film or the logic the setting of the film has already set up. Many of these plot holes would have been overlooked or dismissed by the screenwriters or the director because logic got in the way of telling an entertaining story.

While it is fair to dismiss these plot holes by saying “it’s just a movie,” these plot holes are one of those pet peeves that movie buffs cannot look past, no matter how good the movie is. While the films on this list vary from winning Oscars to “winning” Razzies, regardless of their quality they all have one thing in common: plot holes that ruin the logic of the story that have left audiences scratching their heads.

 

10. Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984)

Gremlins (1984)

“Gremlins” is one of those still beloved family films from the 1980s from the same ilk as “The Goonies” and “The NeverEnding Story. However, the story falls apart by the three not-so-simple rules of having a Mogwai as a pet.

One of the rules of taking care of a Mogwai is to not feed them after midnight. But the film does not take international time zones into consideration, meaning it is always after midnight somewhere in the world. What if the Mogwai travels to another part of the world, meaning its normal body clock would not be in sync with the local time? What about daylight saving time?

Another rule is that Mogwais cannot get wet, otherwise they will multiply and cause chaos. While this is a justified caution, it would be nearly impossible to uphold. If the Mogwai is outside, it would at some point encounter rain or get wet in some form. Surely its owners would want to wash their pet Mogwai when it starts to smell, right?

Mogwais also cannot be exposed to sunlight, otherwise it will die. Although you could theoretically always keep a Mogwai in a dark room, like how you could keep a goldfish in a fishbowl, it would be hard to do.

 

9. The Hangover (Todd Phillips, 2009)

“The Hangover”, one of the most popular comedy films of the past decade, is about a group of men who have a reckless bachelor party in Las Vegas, only to lose the groom-to-be, and it spawned two sequels. Many viewers laughed away at the silly shenanigans on screen, perhaps so much so that they have overlooked how improbable the catalyst for the film is.

The aforementioned missing buddy, Doug (Justin Bartha), has been stuck on the roof of the Caesars Palace casino for two days. How did Doug not get noticed by anyone? Surely the security cameras of the casino would have noticed a guest on the roof when he should not be there, and therefore alert the security guards to Doug’s plight.

He does throw a mattress down to get attention, but seemingly just gave up after that, just sitting on the roof for two whole days under the hot Nevada sun. Since the windows to the hotel rooms do not open, a maintenance worker would have had to remove the mattress stuck on the statue, and would have realized something was amiss and have inspected the roof, hence finding Doug. Perhaps, as the title suggests, he was simply too hungover to think of any of this.

 

8. Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995)

toy-story-1995

Naturally, a movie about living and talking toys was never going to be the most realistic or logical movie ever made. It is a fantasy movie that children and adults have equally adored since 1995. Viewers of all ages would let themselves be enamored by the fantasy of toys living their very own secret lives when no one was around.

The premise of “Toy Story”, though, is that the new toy Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) thinks he is a real space ranger and does not believe the other toys when they tell him he is in fact a toy. If Buzz Lightyear thought he was real and not a toy, then why did he also freeze and act lifeless whenever Andy appeared? That seems very convenient.

The toys can definitely interact with humans, as seen when the toys scare the bully next door for torturing and disfiguring toys. So there is absolutely no reason for Buzz to not be himself in front of Andy if he thinks he is real.

 

7. The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)

The Dark Knight trilogy is almost universally loved by both Batman fans and movie buffs in general. The acting is superb, the action is thrilling, the look and feel of Gotham is as dark as it is beautiful, and they are just so entertaining. Perhaps it had the advantage of following up from Joel Schumacher’s maligned Batman films, so almost any Batman movie made after them would look great. However, the Dark Knight films were spectacular.

However, the last entry in the trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises”, ends on a huge plot hole that kind of ruins the integrity of the overall story arc. Batman (Christian Bale) flies the Batplane and the nuclear bomb Bane (Tom Hardy) sets into the ocean; it explodes, presumed to have killed Batman in the process. If the nuclear bomb could wipe out an entire city and its population, then a man sitting just above it would seemingly have no chance of survival.

Yet somehow, Alfred (Michael Caine) bumps into Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) at a restaurant in Florence. How did Bruce escape? It is to be assumed that Batman ejected himself out of the Batplane before the bomb went off. His escape not being shown on screen would have been to keep the sombre mood of the film, since everyone thinks Batman has died. But it is still very confusing, as he would have been right in the vicinity of the nuclear blast.

Also, Bruce Wayne is a billionaire, therefore the whole world would know who he was simply because of him being known in the media. Could you imagine real life billionaires like Richard Branson or Rupert Murdoch faking a very public death, and then simply walking down the street without raising any eyebrows? Not likely.

 

6. Battlefield Earth (Roger Christian, 2000)

battlefield-earth

Many consider “Battlefield Earth” to be one of the worst films ever made, and there are gaping plot holes that help justify the film’s bad reputation. The film is set in the year 3000, one thousand years after the Psychlos took over Earth. How it has taken a whole millennium for the humans to finally fight back is silly in itself, but how they try to do it presents even bigger plot holes.

The human rebels learn, in just one week, how to fly Harrier jet fighter planes. Not only does it take years to learn how to fly these complex military machines, but how have these planes not rusted over the thousand year period that they were just sitting in the hangar, and how are they still in working order despite the lack of maintenance in a millennium?

Also, keep in mind that one thousand years have passed since the Psychlos took over Earth, when the military was using these Harriers that were so easily defeated. In fact, it is said that it took only nine minutes for the Psychlos to take over Earth! So if Harriers were not enough to fight against the Psychlos for a measly nine minutes a thousand years earlier, then how could these jet fighters possibly compete against Psychlo technology that has advanced by another thousand years?

The humans use the gold they find at Fort Knox to pass off as the gold they have mined in order to use their time to prepare their uprising. If the Psychlos primarily use Earth to mine for gold, then how is it that they have never come across Fort Knox, where the US government keeps its gold bullion? Either the Psychlos are even more arrogant and lazy than they appear to be in the film, or the writing is just plain terrible (it’s the latter reason).

 

 

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  • Jules F. Melo Borges

    These Gremlins “plot holes” are just nonsense. The old man said midnight, so midnight is. He wasn’t in another part of the world to have things confused.
    Want to give them a shower? Don’t do it, or don’t buy it.
    Can’t keep them away of the sunlight? Don’t buy it either (Geez).

  • Sonny Maxwell

    Missing is why was it easier to train miners to be astronauts than to train astronauts to be miners in Armageddon?

    • Gilles Ello

      That’s not a plot hole by any definition it’s just a stupid thing about a dumb movie.

  • John Carvalho

    The “Rosebud” plot hole is not a plot hole. The butler explicitly states in the film that he was in the room and he heard Charles Foster Kane saying “Rosebud”. If he doesn’t appear in the first scene, maybe it’s because the butler is simply off screen or maybe the scene itself is expressionistic, meant to REPRESENT his death for dramatic effect and not to be taken literally as his detailed moment of death – that might explain why the whole cinematography in that opening scene has a dreamlike effect.

  • Josemi Novo

    I’m disagree with ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ plot hole. Everyone criticise that Nolan always explains everything and he never let that the spectator resolves some things with his/her imagination.

    Finally, Nolan let us to imagine how Batman/Bruce Wayne could escape about the explosion and the people complain him because he wasn’t explain it.

    I don’t understand it.

    • Martin Zvonár

      But Nolan explained it. If I recall correctly there’s a scene when Alfred or Fox finds out that the autopilot for Batplane was fixed by “someone”…

      • Josemi Novo

        Yes, it is true. But I think that this site is talking about how he can escape for the radiation of the bomb.

        • Martin Zvonár

          I think that If he had autopilot he could be somewhere in the city while the plane was carrying the bomb away, couldn’t he?

          • Josemi Novo

            It’s probably, but we can see a reaction shot about Batman when he leaves behind the city…

  • shane scott-travis

    Is there even an example of a plot hole in the list? Even the intro, which is very, let’s say limited in scope, fails to describe what a plot hole is or how films create their own cosmology and rules for the audience to accept (or not)—often in the opening scene.
    Poorly handled list with a sturdy premise. Painful to read.

  • Josefina

    Mmmm… I’m not convinced of any of the arguments that try to prove the plot holes in these movies. They don’t follow a logic according to the films’ narrative, which is the clue in my opinion to really analyse the problems of a script. What if a person is called Calvin Klein, like the fashion brand? It is a funny twist in the plot. What if the mogwai’s owner is not interested in washing it? Why couldn’t be possible to think of Citizen Kane’s “Rosebud” as a game that put you to think about a film’s construction in a metalinguistic way?

  • Emre Kara

    I don’t know if it’s just me but every movie about time travel involves some sort of plot hole, because the concept of time travel itself is paradoxical and not meaningful. Therefore, for such movies, suspension of disbelief is the best solution. 🙂

    • ArmitageX

      Thank you!

    • Trent Eon

      Not only time travel movies, but superhero movies, alien movies, animation, et cetera. Finding ‘plot holes’ in works of fantasy is shooting fish in a barrel.

  • Andy Fraser

    Life’s too short! If you like a film then just enjoy it flaws and all.

  • Pica Lima

    The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t have a plot. Just a hole.

  • Michael George

    The Dark Knight Rises one….Bruce fixed the auto pilot

  • Rob C

    John’s age has been a plot hole through every film (except the first, obviously).

    You pointed out something I was just talking about with some friends. To the average moviegoer seeing the film in 1991, the film must have taken place in that very year (as there is no dialogue to state otherwise). Of course, it would make no sense, as John would only be 6 years old in 1991. The ONLY evidence that the film takes place in 1995 is the computer screen that states John’s birthday & age. But, it’s a “blink & you’ll miss it” moment. It doesn’t help that the supposedly 10 year old John was portrayed by a then 13 year old Edward Furlong. It also doesn’t help, as you pointed out, that the Terminator says Cyberdyne will become a military supplier in 3 years (which would contradict the film taking place in 1995). T3 screws this up even more, when John’s future wife says he disappeared in the 7th grade, referring to the events of T2, and implying that John was 13 in that film. Which would have T2 take place in 1998 (AFTER the original date of Judgement Day) or have John be some super smart nerd that skipped several grades and was attending middle school at the age of 10. (This may be due to the writers of T3 basing John’s age on Edward Furlong’s age in 1991, and not the character’s age/ Either way, it’s a gigantic FAIL).