6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

Running a cloned-dinosaur facility? Naturally, you'll want to staff it with Newman and that dude from Edge of Darkness.
6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

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.

The Staff:

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.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

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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.

The Nostromo (Alien)

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

We should only need two, maybe three guys, tops.

The Staff:

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.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

The Back Entrance of Mordor (The Return of the King)

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

The Staff:

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.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

"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?

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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?

The Death Star

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

"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."

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

The Staff:

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?

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

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.

The Gotham City Police Department


Let's face it: Gotham City is a pretty rough town. During the day, it's like 1970s New York City at night, and at night, it's like Second Age Mordor during the day. Trapped in an unending cycle of corruption and urban decay, the city called out for a hero. If only it hadn't stopped there.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

Don't worry, Mayor. I'll fight all the crime.

The Staff:

When Bruce Wayne donned the bat-cape and bat-cowl, vowing to bat-avenge the death of his bat-parents, he probably foresaw a super heroic life like Superman, Spider-Man or Iron Man, fighting the megalomaniacal mad scientists and other criminals that the police just couldn't tackle.


What Wayne couldn't have foreseen was that the Gotham City Police Department appears to be made up of a dozen guys. Besides Jim Gordon, his asshole partner (seriously, what was that guy's problem?) and, later, Harvey Dent, Batman is really out there alone.

Instead of aiding the police against dangerous supervillians like Mr. Freeze or The Ventriloquist, Batman is forced to spend most of his time stopping random street crime like he's the head of the freaking neighborhood watch.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

Why Some Extra Staff Wouldn't Have Hurt:

A superhero can be a very useful asset to a police force, once a dangerous super criminal is on the loose. When Lex Luthor releases two atomic bombs to destroy the West Coast, or the villain from Ghost Rider does something, these problems are a little too complex for the average beat cop. Even if they're super badass.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

"He pulls out a particle accelerator, you pull out a death ray!"

That's when you need a Batman. Unfortunately, Batman has to spend all of his time stopping every mugger, jaywalker and plagiarist breaking the law in Gotham, consuming all the time he could be spending solving super crimes.

In The Dark Knight, we see some (laughably incompetent) SWAT teams show up at the end--purely so they can get in the way--but otherwise Gotham's law enforcement seems to be made up of some despondent guys standing on the roof, shining the bat-signal into the clouds and hoping Bruce Wayne takes care of things.

Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters (X-Men Franchise)

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

Home to some of the world's most hated and feared teenagers, Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters is also the last major accredited university with the word "youngsters" in its name (after Harvard Law School changed its name from the "Harvard School for Smug Youngsters" to the "Harvard School for Smug Douchebags").


Though it's top secret, displaying the school's real identify on a street sign sent a mixed message.

The Staff:

The faculty at Xavier's Mansion apparently consists of four people: Jean Grey, Professor Xavier, Storm and Cyclops who, judging from the film's montage, teaches a class on how cool all of his motorcycles are.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

For today's class I'll just drive back and forth and look anguished again.

Even accounting for occasional visits from Wolverine, who doesn't work there, there are schools in Detroit with more faculty than this. How are there enough teachers to cover all the high school subjects, like Mutant History, Mutant Science and Mutant Comparative Lit., but also watch over an entire mansion full of hormone-fueled, superpowered teenagers?

Why Some Extra Staff Wouldn't Have Hurt:

In X2, with Xavier and Cyclops off visiting Magneto in prison, and Storm and Jean Grey off making out in Boston (we assume), the entire student body was left in the knife-filled hands of Wolverine, who in addition to looking like a well-groomed serial killer, only stabs a few invading soldiers and then runs away. Nice security, Professor X.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

Let's make it clear: Most schools don't have tons of security because their problems involve students hooking up in the co-ed bathrooms and freshman ordering pizza after check-in. Problems at Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters usually involve preventing global genocide. These are kids who can blow up buildings with their fucking minds, with enemies who can do the same.

6 Movie Plots Made Possible By Ridiculous Understaffing

So, with the entire faculty gone, the military, led by Colonel Stryker, invades the school, capturing most of the students we've never seen before, and allowing the characters that we care about to escape.

Although we run the risk of spoiling the ending for any readers living in 2003 (also, if you're reading this, don't bother seeing Superman Returns. Trust us on this), the X-Men win in the end. Unfortunately, we're deprived of the reaction of the students' parents when they learn that their children have been kidnapped and experimented on because their headmaster subcontracted his police force to a guy whose only superpower is the ability to stab people with impunity.

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For more silver screen head-scratchers, check out 6 Movie Monsters That Just Wouldn't Work and 6 'Brilliant' Movie Scientists (Who Suck At Their Job).

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