5 Movie Plot Holes You Didn't Notice Due to Editing (Pt. 3)
The first trick you learn about movies is that the camera is always lying. Every time there's a cut, our perspective is leaping through time and space, sometimes across continents. We're missing about 90 percent of what's going on, and that's usually OK, because no one needs to see Bruce Wayne drop his eye makeup applicator down his sink drain and spend 10 minutes trying to fish it out with a coat hanger.
But sometimes editing isn't just about maintaining the story's momentum; it's about skipping over parts that don't make any sense. For example ...
A T. Rex Apparently Flies in Jurassic Park
If you were born in the '80s, the greatest moment of your life was the first tyrannosaur attack in Jurassic Park. Most of the characters we know are trapped outside the tyrannosaur paddock, waiting for the electricity to come back on, when Barney herself breaks through the fence and starts chewing everyone's shit apart. Annoying Lawyer Stock Character gets eaten, Jeff Goldblum Stock Character gets his legs all busted up, and Alan Grant and the kids are trapped on the road, totally exposed:
Even his powers of "fetch!" ultimately fail him.
There's clearly nowhere for them to go. If they stay on the road, they'll be eaten. If they run into the jungle, they'll probably catch some kind of awful tropical parasite. And then be eaten.
Cut To ...
Oh, wait, no: They can climb down this sheer cliff face, which just appeared out of absolutely nowhere.
Using deluxe Climbable Fence Cables.
And we say "appeared" because it literally appeared there during the edit between those two scenes. The tyrannosaur breaks through the fence, then the heroes crawl through the broken fence the dinosaur just burst through, only to find the concrete wall you see above. How in the hell did the dinosaur scale that? With its tiny little T. rex arms? Hell, the only reason hiding down there works is because the T. rex can't chase after them. Is it like when a little kid climbs up a tree and then is too scared to get back down?
We'd say it flew up there, or jumped, but we actually see it standing on the other side of the fence -- on the ground that, one minute later, we see doesn't actually exist:
Seriously, is it up in a tree?
It's a testament to Spielberg's filmmaking wizardry that the vast majority of people never notice that one of the most famous scenes in his career has the spatial continuity of a Tommy Wiseau film. Unless, of course, you decide that it's not a plot hole at all, and just assume that hidden in the cuts of this sequence is the fact that Isla Nublar just underwent the biggest, most stealthy geological shift in history: Not only did the island swallow an entire jungle, but it covered up its crime with cement.
This revelation changes everything. The tension of our weak human characters facing off against a species that is stronger, faster, and bigger than them is somewhat tempered by the fact that they have a freaking sentient island on their side. It also explains all the other plot holes: Where'd the T. rex come from in that big hero scene? The island threw her there. Why did Dennis Nedry get so lost? The island hates fat people.
"Goodbye, Nnnnnnnewman." -Isla Nublar
Which, incidentally, proves our theory we just made up: Jurassic Park takes place on the same island as Lost. Now go, fan fiction writers ... go change the world.
Michelle Rodriguez Does the Impossible in Avatar
One of Avatar's supporting characters is Trudy, portrayed on screen by Michelle Rodriguez, and in our own heads she has a steady countdown to when she's finally going to die, because she's being played by Michelle Rodriguez. Her key character moment comes right around the halfway point, when the evil Resources Development Administration decides to bomb the ever-loving shit out of the peaceful Na'vi's home-tree and Trudy, in utter disgust, declares that she "didn't sign up for this shit" and flies on home.
"Shooting on a gun ship? This is bullshit!"
That's how we the audience know that she's on nature's side now, willing to face whatever consequences she has to, because nothing is more important than standing up for what's right.
Cut To ...
Trudy returns to the base and releases Jake Sully so he can continue on with his adventures.
"Yup, got pilots delivering food now. Never should've let the kitchen staff unionize."
Wait, what? We skipped right over the scene where the military notices that Trudy openly rebelled against their cause and she somehow convinces them she's still on their side. Despite the fact that the villainous Colonel Quaritch was all up in Jake's business the very second he started showing sympathy for the Na'vi, he doesn't seem to mind one of his pilots blatantly and publicly disobeying a direct order and basically cursing in his face? She's back there walking around like a fully functioning member of the team, entering restricted areas, strutting around in the open like she owns the place.
Then cut again, to Trudy flying a RDA heli-fighter thing, covered in Na'vi war paint.
Or blueface, because she's racist.
So that means two insane scenes were left out: one where she returns to the base and talks her superiors into giving her unfettered access to the prisoners she just refused to fight against, then another one where she gives her military aircraft a brand new tribal racing stripe:
So she could fly faster.
The only explanation is that whenever Trudy is off screen, she becomes Solid Snake. How else did she manage to fly back to a heavily guarded military base in a jet plane full of soldiers who just watched her disobey a direct order? How did she paint that whole ship without anyone in the RDA base noticing? Where did she get the paint? In general, what? We'll forgive you for something corny that at least makes sense, and we'll let something that doesn't make sense slide if it's awesome enough. But when you combine stupid and nonsensical, it makes us long for the days when James Cameron would shoot a whole sequence just to explain why robots have feelings.
Everybody Forgets About the Alien Baby in Prometheus
Prometheus' best scene was also the most blatant attempt to recapture the horror of the time a dick-headed alien burst out of a dude's chest in the original Alien. After Ripley -- er, sorry, "Elizabeth Shaw" -- is impregnated with an alien fetus by the guy from Devil, she uses a futuristic robot surgeon to have the alien fetus cut out of her womb, and that's the least terrifying way we can think of to describe the scene.
Almost as scary as actual human childbirth.
Then, covered in blood and amniotic fluid, visibly traumatized and sporting a massive open wound on her stomach, she stumbles around the halls of the Prometheus until she finds ...
Cut To ...
Twist! It turns out Weyland, whom we all assumed was still back on Earth, has actually come along for the ride! Double twist, he's actually Benjamin Button!
Or Hollywood has collectively seen one single old person and bases everyone on him.
Triple twist: He's an idiot, because he (and everyone else) ignores the obviously injured woman in their midst and immediately goes on a quest to communicate with aliens. In between those scenes, there apparently is a discussion about why this makes sense, and it's impossible to imagine how that discussion would go without everyone sounding like they've suffered traumatic brain damage. We the audience didn't think it through because we were distracted by Weyland's appearance, but the actual movie characters don't have that excuse.
After all, shouldn't Shaw be considered a massive threat by Weyland and his lackeys? The last time a character in this movie encountered someone who had come into contact with an alien organism, this happened:
"We should quarantine him and conduct a full analysis of- oh, you already have your flamethrower."
In this case, they're even more sure that Shaw's a threat. They knew she was pregnant with an alien (they were about to put her in cryosleep to smuggle the species back to Earth, setting something of a precedent), so her giving birth to a gigantic squid monster is actually one of the least terrifying things that could've happened -- they're lucky she didn't end up a superstrong killer zombie like that punk-rock geologist character. But not only do they ignore that she's now the single most dangerous person on their ship, they bring her along on their mission, confirming our long-held theory that the scientists in Prometheus are all dummies.
A 10-Year-Old Boy Benches a Third of a Ton in Real Steel
Real Steel is a sci-fi movie about professional robot-boxing that, flying in the face of every convention in Hollywood right now, is not based on Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Early in the story, Hugh Jackman learns to connect with his 10-year-old son, Max, by illegally sneaking past guards and breaking into a robot junkyard to try to salvage enough parts to build their own robo-boxer. After falling to the bottom of a deep, muddy pit, Max is rescued by a functioning robot -- which the boy then insists they should dig up and bring home using the winch and cart they brought. But Wolverine is too grumpy to bother doing the exact thing they came here to do, and instead makes the more responsible, adult decision to leave his child behind, alone, at a crime scene.
"I bet if I was a married redhead you'd help!"
Cut To ...
Max walking down the road, carrying the robot behind him in an all-terrain Radio Flyer.
Such a wagon could never really exist, obviously.
This means the movie skipped right over a scene where Max sneaks the past the guards while dragging a 700-pound robot -- and that's after he somehow gets it out of the mud and up the incline that almost just killed him, in the rain. On one hand, he has a winch to help him, but on the other hand, the kid is freaking 10 years old: How does he dig the robot out? How does he get the winch all set up without falling again, since it's already been established that the ground can fall away at a moment's notice? Why is Hugh Jackman such a shitty dad?
We get that Jackman is supposed to be an irresponsible father figure at this point, but you can't expect your heartwarming "father saves son's life" scene to have any impact if it's immediately followed by "father leaves son to die in a pit of robots." That's why the movie had to skip that part: It would've established Max as superhuman, which would've made him look like kind of an asshole for letting his dad get beaten up by gangsters later -- although he didn't have a winch that time.
We Skip Bruce Wayne's Insane Reason for Faking His Death in The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises ends the Dark Knight Trilogy the only way that it possibly could have: with Batman sacrificing his life to save Gotham. Rather than living long enough to become a villain, he dies a hero by flying a nuclear bomb out into the ocean, and the city is made safe (until Joseph Gordon-Levitt inevitably blows it up with a rocket car and then dies). We get one final mournful shot of Bruce Wayne's funeral, attended by the only four people to know that he was anything more than just a shallow playboy -- the only four people who will truly remember his legacy.
"He was born into the hardest life of all, that of a rich, handsome white man."
Cut To ...
Surprise! Turns out he's totally fine and sticking it to Catwoman in Italy, because tragic endings have no place in Hollywood. Which is OK, we guess; good for you, Bruce, you deserve some hot European sex. But ... why can't anyone know?
Don't get us wrong -- there are a thousand reasons for Batman to "die." The entire movie has been leading up to that decision. But we skip over the scene where Bruce makes a completely separate, utterly insane decision to actually fake his own death as Bruce Wayne.
Bruce Wayne, who'd been seen alive and well in public just 12 hours earlier.
Remember, killing off Batman is nothing; there was never a paper trail for Batman. But the decision to pretend the real-life billionaire Bruce Wayne died is huge -- in addition to screwing over his grieving friends (remember Alfred, openly weeping? What about Commissioner Gordon?), it involves actual fraud -- there are death benefits, estate issues, a whole avalanche of complications that would have to be covered with lies.
And it's not like it's a "better safe than sorry" situation -- faking his death creates way more loose ends than it fixes. For instance, what's the official cause of death? Is he playing it like Bruce died during the Occupy Wall Street revolution in Gotham? All right, so somebody is going to get prosecuted for this non-murder? And how did he fake it -- did he leave a fake corpse behind? Fool a bunch of witnesses? Pay off a medical examiner to fake some paperwork? Even if he staged something that would draw less attention (like, say, a drowning), there's going to be an investigation to rule out foul play -- there's a billion-dollar estate at play, and life insurance, and loved ones demanding answers. Commissioner Gordon -- who thinks Bruce died in the explosion but can't tell anyone -- would be forced to lie to his colleagues about some completely separate reason the "totally not Batman, guys" billionaire died the same day.
"See, boys, Bruce Wayne had a double life. He died that day -- as his alter ego B'ayne!"
Remember, the only reason his funeral scene happens in the movie is because at that point we still believe Bruce is dead, because we knew it was really him in the Bat-plane that exploded. But watching it after you know it's all a sham makes it seem like one of the biggest dick moves in the entire series.
"Ha, got you good, Guy Who Devoted His Whole Life to My Happiness and Well-Being! You cried like a bitch!"
The gravestone and funeral are only for the benefit of Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, and "Robin." We'll buy that it might be easier for Bruce if Gordon just never finds out that Wayne is still alive, in case he's worried about being hassled on Facebook for crime-fighting advice or whatever, but cutting "Robin" out of the loop just seems ridiculous. Especially considering "older, retired Batman helps a young dark-haired brat take on the mantle" actually worked out pretty well that one time. Come on, don't these characters watch cartoons about themselves?
Do you have a pop culture muse? Channel it in our T-shirt latest contest and you could win $500.
Related Reading: Speaking of Batman, the cops should totally know he was Bruce Wayne at the end of The Dark Knight Rises. And while we're on the subject of plot holes, the bad guy in Skyfall's plan made no sense at all. Oh, and there are dozens more where those came from.