4The Back Entrance of Mordor (The Return of the King)
As far as fire-infested, totalitarian countries go, Mordor is pretty much tops. In addition to being the possible inspiration for hell, Mordor appears to be an entirely impenetrable state, despite the fact that no one in their right mind would want to voluntarily visit.
And while Sauron is able to watch over most of the world as a semi-omnipotent (and strangely literal) giant flaming eye, and guards the front entrance with a gate the size of a hotel and half of his army, he decides for some reason to leave the back door entrance into Mordor guarded by... one big spider.
Shelob's Lair is guarded by the titular giant spider with a sweet tooth for fuzzy Hobbits. Granted, even running across a regular sized spider is probably enough to send the average Cracked reader scrambling back to his warm home in the Shire, so the idea of a monstrous spider, older than time itself, just sitting and waiting to make Hobbit-burgers out of you and your slow-witted gardener is actually pretty terrifying. That is, until you realize how scary the rest of Middle Earth is.
This is a world where killer goblins ride on wolf monsters, ghosts fight in wars and Grim Reapers fly around on razor toothed dragons. Hell, even the nicest Elf in Middle Earth always looks like he's pissed at you.
Twenty-four hours a day he pictures himself kicking your ass.
Giant arachnids seem like the kind of thing you'd run into on the way to Mordor.
Why Some Extra Staff Wouldn't Have Hurt:
When Frodo, Sam and Gollum find the enormous gate into Mordor locked and guarded by people who look like Smurfs as designed by H.R. Geiger, Gollum proves his worth by telling them about the secret back door that Sauron apparently keeps unguarded and unlocked.
The little Hobbit skeleton may have been lying to them, but what he walked them into was less of an ambush and more of a minor inconvenience. Gollum brought them through what ended up being a perfect entrance into Mordor, which means that Gollum's trap was actually more helpful to the Hobbits than most of Gandalf's plans.
"But the bad guys didn't know about the back entrance!" you say. And we say bullshit. After Frodo walks through the very large and roomy cave Gollum shows him, he gets attacked by the spider and wrapped up in web. Who shows up immediately after?
A half dozen orcs, who immediately say, "Looks like old Shelob's been having a bit of fun." So they know about Shelob, they know about the lair. They go there all the time. Somebody put stairs there to make it easier. What would those jackasses up there have done if, instead of a couple of Hobbits, they met 5,000 pissed-off dudes swinging swords?
3The Death Star
"Now, wait a minute Cracked.com," you're probably saying out loud to yourself as you read this, in between sips of your chai mocha latte, "you've really fucked up this time. We all saw the inside of the Death Star, and that thing was crammed full of storm troopers, Imperial bureaucrats, janitors and lunchroom workers. In fact, there were so many people in there that anyone who blew it up would probably be tormented with a paralyzing guilt for the rest of their life, rendering them a vegetable."
The thing is, the Death Star was full of ground troops, which would be extremely handy if the Death Star came equipped with landing gear. Unfortunately, the Rebellion decided to launch an attack in outer space.
One part space station, one part death ray and one part floating Epcott Center, the Death Star was the crown jewel of the Emperor's armada. Therefore, it only makes sense that he would fill it with his most impressive Storm Troopers, his most powerful Sith Lord and one weird garbage monster.
But you still can't get past the fact that ground troops are absolutely useless when you're fighting in outer space. Unless all those Storm Troopers are needed to handle the day-to-day maintenance on the Death Star, in full armor just in case the floor buffer has a "massive head injury" mode, the only reason to have that many soldiers on a space station is if they were planning on being invaded from the inside out.
Of course, this also means that if any rebel troops were foolish enough to break into the Death Star, they would be captured immediately, right?
Why Some Extra Staff Wouldn't Have Hurt:
When the rebels finally attack the Death Star, they send in most of their militia (i.e. a handful of poorly trained fighters in tiny space ships), the space equivalent to trying to overthrow Saudi Arabia by sending in a few dozen frog men.
Stranger things have happened.
The Empire decides to defend their most powerful space station in the only logical way: By sending out a handful of their own poorly trained fighters, along with a laser gun tower or two. The rebels are thus able to skim the surface of the base itself and only get harassed by a few TIE fighters who mostly chase and fire at them helplessly. In fact, there's such a lack of TIE fighter pilots that the Empire decides to send Darth Vader to help out, instead of something useful like a Star Destroyer or two. Or 700. After all, they had 25,000 of them.
That shit was personal.
Luckily, the Emperor figured out the station's biggest flaw by Return of the Jedi, as that Death Star at least had the ability to actually fire on the ships attacking it, and not just float there like a ripe mango waiting to picked.