We don't often pause to think about the faceless civilians who get killed in movies. Star Wars would be pretty damn depressing if we spent the runtime trying to wrap our heads around the idea that billions of people were killed when Alderaan exploded, instead of watching all the pretty colors in the lightsaber battles. But there are some movies that go so far out of their way to ignore these deaths that we can't help but wonder about the mental stability of the writers.
What You See
In order to rob a casino, Danny Ocean and his many superfluous accomplices need to bring down its security system. They accomplish this by stealing and using a "pinch," which according to Don Cheadle is a device that "unleashes an electromagnetic pulse which shuts down any power source within its blast radius." It works, they get inside the vault, and everything goes according to their needlessly convoluted plan.
But Wait a Minute ...
The electromagnetic pulse didn't just knock out power in the casino; when they set it off, there's a quick shot of the entire city of Las Vegas going dark. The movie then cuts to the inside of the casino they're robbing, where we see people trying to steal chips at the black jack table, and other fun varieties of chaos they intended. So how did the rest of the city do?
Well, keep in mind that according to our merry band of thieves, the electromagnetic pulse doesn't just turn the lights off -- it shuts down every power source within it's blast radius. When the plan is devised, we're told the city will temporarily be plunged into the 17th Century, which is great if you're stealing money, and bad news if you're, say, on life support in a hospital.
Hospitals have back up systems that come on during a power outage, but so do casinos. The pinch is being used because it takes those out. Hell, if we're talking every power source, everyone with a pacemaker is dead on the spot. But at least they weren't one of the poor bastards in helicopters and passenger planes, now making an increasingly less-than gradual descent into Las Vegas.
According to Ocean's Eleven, the biggest danger is chorus lines veering off course, kicking thousands of audience members to death.
Ocean's Eleven isn't the only movie to gloss over the casualties of a power outage. Live Free or Die Hard features the entire East Coast losing power, but the consequences are magically eliminated when the bad guy gets shot. The remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still also tries to end on a happy note, despite the fact that the entire world gets hit with an electromagnetic pulse. But it's especially noticeable in Ocean's Eleven because the charming heroes are the ones responsible. It's hard to root for the thieves once you realize they won't let innocent lives stand between them and their loot. The sequel to Ocean's Eleven shouldn't have been about the casino owner getting revenge; it should have told the story of the FBI hunting down the people responsible for one of the worst terror attacks in American history.
Which would have been way better than what we actually got.
What You See
A presentation at Tony Stark's expo by his arch-rival turns out to be a trap when the packed house is attacked by Mickey Rourke and his small army of killer robots. But Iron Man and his best friend manage to destroy the robots, kill the villain and save the show.
"Turns out stealing your armor was kind of a good thing. Tony?"
But Wait a Minute ...
The robot army split in two; half went after Iron Man, and half went on a murderous rampage in a crowd of panicking civilians. Not a lot of attention was focused on the latter. Stark passed on the more traditional superhero priority, "Stop the threat against innocent people despite great personal risk," and instead opted for the unorthodox "ignore the problem until it goes away" approach.
"You see, killbots have a preset kill limit. Knowing their weakness, I let them slaughter wave after wave of civilians until they reached their limit and shut down."
Iron Man does nothing to combat the robots attacking the civilians -- aside from pausing to save one little kid and belatedly suggesting that the drones should be lured to a less crowded area -- before jetting off again: "Lure the drones away! Great idea, Tony! Let's get started on getting these people to safety! You fly around and find us a safe area to evacu- or you could just leave! That's good too!"
Even if we ignore Iron Man's questionable superheroics, a lot of people were implicitly slaughtered. We don't see the bodies, because most of the time the focus is on Iron Man fighting off his attackers, but every second spent watching him spout wry witticisms with his charming smile is a second in which innocent people are being gunned down offscreen. Then, for good measure, the drones all explode at the end of the battle, presumably just to ensure that the wounded don't crawl away to safety. Man, who would have thought that Stark's plan of letting his suspicious archrival make a secret presentation at his deadly robotics expo would backfire?
"We're very sorry for the difficulties with that last presentation, visitors. Next up, Professor Razorface's KillSpider Armada!"
What You See
The Enterprise and her fleet respond to a distress call from the planet Vulcan. Upon arrival, they encounter the film's villain, Nero, who wipes out most of the fleet, destroys the planet and kidnaps the Enterprise's captain. Nero then proceeds to attack Earth, but Kirk and the rest manage to stop him in the nick of time.
But Wait a Minute ...
All right, so Spock and the rest pause to mourn the destruction of Vulcan and the death of billions. Only for like, 30 seconds, but it's an action movie and they still have a bad guy to stop. It's understandable.
But what about the fleet that was sent to help Vulcan? Every ship that wasn't named Enterprise just got blown to pieces, with no word of survivors. And since the fleet was made up primarily of cadets and teachers (the regular fleet was too far away to help), our heroes just lost every single one of their colleagues and friends, yet nobody bats an eye. You can't argue that they were just faceless nobodies, either, because we saw some of them earlier in the movie -- like Uhura's green-skinned roommate that Kirk was having kinky interspecies sex with.
"But I had sex with her before she died, so I don't see what the problem is."
Almost the entire population of Starfleet Academy was wiped out in about a minute. That's going to make Kirk and Co.'s return home after the movie awfully depressing, and it certainly puts a damper on the awards ceremony at the end.
"Gee, where is everyone today? Ooh, right ..."
To make matters worse, Nero didn't exactly go down without a fight. The Enterprise stopped him, but not before he started drilling a massive hole into the ground beneath San Francisco Bay. You don't have to be a geologist to understand that having a giant pit blasted into the Earth is bad for the people living in the area, especially if that area is prone to earthquakes.
Like this, except a lot bigger, a lot deeper, on fire and right next to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Between Starfleet losing all its cadets and the likelihood that its San Francisco academy got sucked down into a portal to hell, the upcoming Star Trek sequel should realistically be about Capt. Kirk manning a recruitment station at his old high school for a few hours between bouts of grief-stricken sobbing.