Movies are filled with military bases and lairs, fully staffed with no-name henchman, janitors and cafeteria workers milling about the background.
But for every U.S.S. Enterprise bursting with disposable red shirts or chocolate factory crawling with indifferent orange pygmies, there are movies where the entire plot seems to happen purely because the facility is operating with a skeleton crew.
#6. Jurassic Park
You can't criticize InGen for cloning dinosaurs for their park. Let's be honest; if the technology actually became available, we'd start saving up for tickets to the place right now, even if they warned us that rampages were happening every couple of weeks. Hell, that makes us want to go more.
If, you know, they hire some freaking staff first.
Despite the fact that the park seems to be overrun with scientists growing dinosaurs in beakers and one guy who shovels triceratops shit all day, the entire computer technician staff seems to be made up of Samuel L. Jackson and Newman. Well, OK. It's a sophisticated system. Maybe it runs itself. And if both of those guys take a sick day at the same time, uh, maybe you just shut the park down? Because not a whole hell of a lot has to go wrong with the system before the dinosaurs are just running free.
Adware could have caused this.
Of course that brings us to the security team whose job it is to stop that, a team which consists of game warden Robert Muldoon. SPOILER: All of those people we just mentioned are quickly eaten by dinosaurs.
If only I had held onto my butt.
What the hell? Even smaller theme parks like Disneyland tend to have more security, just to keep toddlers from getting mangled by the Country Bears robots.
Why Some Extra Staff Wouldn't Have Hurt:
Instead of breeding more attractive, popular and harmless dinosaurs, John Hammond thought it might be a good idea to breed super-intelligent (and apparently pure evil) velociraptors, despite the fact that they would hardly have been an attraction since before 1993, only paleontologists and guys who regularly read the dictionary knew what they were.
Even stranger, they also don't appear to be part of the park's tour, and are instead quarantined to a Kafkaesque holding pen, where even just a brief sight of them feeding seems to be enough to cause Jeff Goldblum to completely lose his appetite.
And he's not easily sickened.
So when things unexpectedly turn all Westworld, it might make sense to have some guys with guns handy. In fact, the only person on the entire island who seems to have access to a gun is resident mercenary Robert Muldoon.
Of course, the whole thing could probably have been sidestepped if Denis Nedry hadn't spent all of his time eating Butterfingers, installing viruses and downloading fetish porn. Sure, this stuff happens in regular offices every day, but Cracked headquarters aside, workplace laziness and hijinks usually just lead to perfect fodder for an international sitcom phenomenon and not carnage, terror and children with permanent psychological scarring.
All of which could have been avoided if they had just hired enough staff for a regular zoo, with maybe a few extra to account for the fact that no human has ever worked with these animals before and you have no idea what they're going to do.
#5. The Nostromo (Alien)
No one could have predicted the fate of the doomed spaceship Nostromo, as it drifted through the infinite cosmos like so much molasses in the rain. Well, maybe you could have predicted it if you glanced at the crew roster and noticed it only took up two inches of the page.
We should only need two, maybe three guys, tops.
The Nostromo, a massive spaceship as long as two and a half football fields, with three decks and towing a gigantic ore refinery, is staffed by only six crewmembers, a robot and a cat. And while this sounds similar (but different enough for legal purposes) to the premise of Space Kitty and Robo-Boy, the new animated TV show we're developing (tune into Nickelodeon Fall 2014), it also sounds like there aren't enough crewmembers here to man the average sailboat, not to mention an entire spaceship.
This thing was about the same size as the Titanic, yet there were fewer crewmembers aboard the Nostromo than there were total members of the Ramones.
They'd have a better soundtrack, too.
The Titanic met with disaster even though help was never more than several hours away. In the film, it takes months or years to get out to where they were--they had to be rendered unconscious for the trip.
Of course, this wouldn't be a problem as long as nothing terrible happened.
Why Some Extra Staff Wouldn't Have Hurt:
Something terrible happened. We'll spare the gory details, but give you a gory synopsis: John Hurt gets face raped by a space omelet monster, and gives violent bloody birth out of his chest to a space worm monster baby.
All the rape symbolism happened to this guy.
With calling for backup impossible, the crew's only option seemed to be hoping that the monster baby likes to commit suicide for fun. When it doesn't, things go straight to hell pretty quickly. With a single alien baby on board, everyone but Sigourney Weaver ends up dead, robots get decapitated and Jonesy the cat gets the scaring of his life.
If only there had been more crewmembers. Or at least, some crew members that weren't quite so delicious.
He's surprisingly tender. Also, good in Repo Man.
We know what you're saying. "How could they have known somebody was going to get face-pregnant by an alien?" But that's missing the point. Anything would have left these guys fucked. If there was so much as a chemical spill or minor fire on board that took out a few crew members--or ruined their supplies--the survivors have to hunker down and pray help arrives by next Christmas.
Hell, forget the alien, a really bad outbreak of food poisoning could have completely crippled this operation.
#4. The 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?