The Biggest Movie Plot Holes You Might Not Have Noticed
These great big movie gaffes are as shocking as they are silly
Nothing ruins a good movie like a whopping great plot hole. Of course, we accept that many films expect us to suspend our disbelief as we head off on some magical mystery journey.
Disney films often contain magical, mythical creatures and talking animals, sci-fi movies are often set in the future where technology has advanced in leaps and bounds beyond our current comprehension, and James Bond continues to have sex with women half his age - we know and accept these things as conventions of cinema
However, some movies really take the biscuit in terms of their neglectful plot holes. Considering they have to go through pre-production, production and post-production, it’s incredible some of these get missed.
Are we being nit-picky? Maybe. But we’re an entertainment business - we take this stuff seriously.
So behold our list of the chief offenders in movie mistakery. You may not have even noticed these colossal clunkers. But once you’ve seen them, you can’t unsee them…
The Shawshank Redemption
Not only does The Shawshank Redemption top many people’s favorite movie list, but it’s pretty much essential viewing for any would-be movie buff. The voice of Morgan Freeman’s character alone has gone down in cinema history.
But what should also go down in history is this: how on Earth did Andy Dufresne reattach the Raquel Welch poster so perfectly after escaping through the tunnel?
He would never have achieved the necessary tortness that would allow the warden to throw a stone clean through it - not in a million years!
This plot hole is even parodied in an episode of Family Guy.
Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope
I know what you’re thinking, but we’ve avoided the low-hanging fruit of exposing the numerous plot gaffes in the latest trilogy or indeed those that litter the prequels. Instead, we’ve gone for the very first movie.
Obi-Wan has been tasked with keeping an eye on young Luke and making sure his father Darth Vader and the evil galactic empire don’t catch wind of his whereabouts.
So what’s his grand plan for this? Well, he takes him to dad’s home planet, doesn’t he. And which is more, he keeps his surname!
We can definitely strike witness protection off the list of potential career choices for this bearded old Jedi.
FYI, if you’re expecting another George Lucas-involved movie to be on this list - Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark - you’re mistaken. The “Indy doesn’t matter theory” is not a plot hole, despite what The Big Bang Theory might have convinced its viewers.
When Toy Story hit our screens we were blown away by the CGI, the comedy, and the touching storyline of friendship and the passing of time. It ushered in a new era of animation.
But one facet of this film wasn’t quite as well-crafted. At the beginning of the movie, Buzz Lightyear actually believes he’s a real-life space ranger and not a toy. This contrasts with what Woody and the rest of the toys know.
So, if Buzz truly believes he’s a space ranger, why does he freeze like the other toys when humans walk into the room?
What’s stranger than the fact that Armageddon was released at almost exactly the same time as an almost identical movie, Deep Impact? Why it’s the gaping great plot hole at its core that was neglectfully overlooked. It’s so gaping, you don’t need to drill down too far to find it.
Instead of training Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi and their oil driller buddies to become astronauts, why didn’t NASA train astronauts to become drillers?! It surely would’ve been far easier - especially given the timeframe.
Ben Affleck even acknowledged the problem, and he brought it up during filming. It’s a critique that wasn’t well-received, however, as director Michael Bay told him to “shut the f*ck up!”
Back to the Future
Beyond the issue of time travelling incest, Back to the Future has another problem that plagues its plot. Marty McFly with the help of Doc travels back to 1950s to unite his parents, save their relationship, and ensure they get married and create him in the future.
Problem is, surely his parents would have come to recognise their son as the same man that was responsible for them meeting in the first place? Even the least perceptive of parents would twig this one, wouldn’t they?
Gravity is a sci-fi movie, sure. But it’s one of those that seems to exist in a seemingly plausible world. The equipment, spacesuits and spacecraft all appear as they do in our time. And absent from the story are many of the frequent features of sci-fi movies such as aliens that prompt us to suspend our disbelief.
So the big moment when George Clooney disconnects himself from the security rope - sacrificing himself but preventing him from dragging Sandra Bullock off into space with him - is completely unnecessary if you know the laws of physics.
To save Clooney, all Bullock would’ve had to do was give the cord a sharp tug and he’d have come drifting back towards her and the satellite. Simple.
The Little Mermaid
Aside from the problematic plot by today’s standards of a young girl prepared to sacrifice everything to land the “perfect” man, The Little Mermaid falls short in another area. Why doesn’t Ariel just write stuff down to communicate with Prince Eric?
We know she can read and write English as the contract she signs with Ursula is written in English!
It would’ve made things far easier for our aquatic heroine. Then again, we’ve all abandoned common sense for a shot of love at least once in our lives.
This 1996 blockbuster had it all: fantastic CGI for the time, aliens, Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and a pumped-up speech from Bill Pullman (as the president) that gives you goosebumps.
The storyline does a great job of tying into the UFO conspiracy sub-culture. It links to the UFO crash at Roswell in 1947 and one of the support protagonists, Randy Quaid, is a classic crazed abductee that no one believes.
Interesting then, when the military is briefing volunteers for the assault on the alien mothership, that they still look at him like he’s out of his mind.
The movies of M. Night Shyamalan are the equivalent of celluloid Marmite. The Sixth Sense, The Village and Signs are his most prominent works. All of them have their own plot problems, but none are as significant as the one that nearly unravels the otherwise fantastic Signs.
Aliens are invading. They’re a highly intelligent race capable of intergalactic travel. So you’d expect they’d have the pick of the reported 40 billion Earth-sized planets that exist in the universe.
So what do they do? They choose Earth. A 70% water-covered planet where water exists in the very air you breathe and regularly rains from the sky. It’s the perfect environment for a race that’s deadly allergic to water…
The third and final Disney film on this list, Cinderella is a tale of an abused young lady whose virtues - her kindness and beauty - ultimately lead to her triumph.
There are talking animals (of sorts), there’s magic, evil female characters, a fairy godmother, magic and a prince (our heroine’s salvation). The last three on that list all play a role in the movie’s biggest plot hole.
When heading off to the ball, the fairy godmother tells Cinderella that everything will revert to its original form at midnight. The dress, carriage and horses do - so why not the glass slippers??
There are plenty of plot holes in Harry Potter. We could’ve dedicated this entire article to them. But there’s one in particular that we find amusing and fascinating.
What’s up with Hogwarts’ recruitment and vetting process? Do they not have a duty of care to their students to perform background checks??
From the fake Mad-Eye Moody, who turned out to be Barty Crouch Jr, Quirinus Quirrell, who was a servant of Voldemort, to Gilderoy Lockhart, who was a fraud.
The Hogwarts HR department really dropped the ball several times over. And what’s worse, they never attempted to fix the problem after the Quirrel fiasco!
Every Christmas Movie
More specifically, every Christmas movie that centres around Santa being real but the adults don’t believe in him.
If this truly were the case, where do the parents think the presents are coming from?
Saying that, if they’re as neglectful as the parents in Home Alone, they probably wouldn’t even notice.
Jack could have fit on the door.
If you’ve enjoyed this post you might also like our new card game Sloppy Synopsis. Rather than bad movie plots, Sloppy Synopsis contains badly explained movie plots. And it’s your job to figure out what movie is being described.
It’s an ideal stocking filler that you can break out after Christmas dinner.
Now it’s over to you… What movies with massive plot holes do you enjoy? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section.
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