5 Movies & Shows That Give Away Their Big Twist Right At The Start
Foreshadowing is an indispensable dramatic device which can also spoil a story for anyone in the audience who is playing close attention. Usually, foreshadowing is peppered lightly throughout, like little puzzle pieces for you to find. But sometimes, a movie or a TV show will throw every piece of foreshadowing it has into the very first scene -- or even before -- knowing that you won't pick up on it until you catch it again on Netflix years later.
The Opening Credits of Skyfall Tell You M Is Going To Die
Skyfall gave us the most incredible plot twist of the Daniel Craig Bond movies, in that everyone wasn't fired after Quantum Of Solace. But it also gave us the second-most-incredible twist: the death of Judi Dench's M. In a movie series with more betrayals than The Real Housewives, it can be difficult to come up with truly surprising twists. It can be especially difficult when your opening titles give the twists away.
The climax of the movie is a battle at Skyfall, Bond's awesomely named childhood home. During this sequence, three basic things happen: Bond and M make a last stand, Skyfall is destroyed, and M dies. For those paying very close attention, none of these things should come as a surprise.
One of the first things that happens in the titles is that we are whisked through a graveyard. While a graveyard is a very, very subtle metaphor for death, it could symbolize any character's death. How do we know it's going to be M, rather than "Nameless James Bond Girlfriend #3"? The camera is moving fast, so it can be hard to spot, but for those who catch it, it's clear as day: The words "and Judi Dench as M" appear right in the middle of the screen as the camera pushes in on a gravestone. For a moment, it clearly looks like an epitaph (albeit a very reductive one for Judi Dench).
Heaven is not having to be in Spectre.
We then swoop to a CGI Skyfall as Adele's prophetic crooning lays out the plot like she's recording the Skyfall audio book:
Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
Skyfall is where we start ...
So there we have a complete list of the events of the climax, in reverse order: M's name on a tombstone, Skyfall will crumble, we'll make our stand there, and Skyfall is the start (we learn at the end of the film that it was in fact setting up Bond as we know him in the older movies). Fun Fact: The original title of the song was "You Can Leave After The Opening Credits," but they thought that was too on the nose.
The Opening Of Saving Private Ryan Reveals Which Character Lives
Saving Private Ryan is a movie like no other. We follow a Band of Brothers detached from their Platoon to save one soldier from the Fury of World War II. We get close to the flawed but lovable squad, only to see them picked off one by one, putting us into panic sweats over who will survive. Unless we paid attention to the beginning, that is.
The film opens in the present (1998 will always be "the present" to us), with an unnamed old man going to visit his fallen friends at the Normandy American Cemetery. Having watched more than zero war movies before, our minds immediately start to race: "Who is this old man who survived? He's at a cemetery, so I'm guessing not a lot of people made it. Is he Tom Hanks? Please let him be Tom Hanks."
We then cut to Normandy, 1944, and a boat full of soldiers. The camera hovers over the face of each man in the calm before the storm of bullets -- including Tom Hanks -- enticing us to ask "Which one of these men could be the one we just saw at the cemetery? Please don't let it be Tom Sizemore."
But to your grandfather and your friend who's obsessed with military paraphernalia, it was clear from the opening scene. The old man wasn't Tom Hanks or any of his crew that we follow in the movie. You see, he's wearing the pin of the 101st Airborne Division.
The original reveal at the end was him looking at the camera and asking the audience, "How you like dem apples?"
Tom Hanks and his men are all Army Rangers. So if you're paying close attention, the film's prologue lets you know that Private Ryan (a member of the 101st Airborne) lives, and -- unless you think he's crying because he misses all the swell times he had with his war buddies -- the main characters very much don't. Except Edward Burns. He totally lives.
How I Met Your Mother Tells You The Mother's Name In Season One
How I Met Your Mother hid the identity of the titular character through all of its first eight seasons. The show replaced the typical sitcom "will they / won't they" with the brand-new question of "Has the narrator seriously been dangling the identity of these kids' mother in front of them for nine years? Why hasn't someone taken these kids away from this emotional sadist?"
Either the story took years or the suspense really took a toll on these kids.
But it turns out that the show teased the mother's name way back in season one, making seasons two through nine an even bigger waste of time than previously thought. In the ninth episode of the show, the narrator recounts the time he went to a strip club. There, he meets a stripper, and at the end of the episode, she reveals her name is Tracy. Right after, the narrator tells his kids in the present day, "And that, kids, is the true story of how I met your mother." The kids then bolt up with a scandalized "What!?" and the narrator reassures them that he's kidding. Weirdly, learning that their mother was an exotic dancer would've been way more interesting than the anti-payoff of "She was some lady who barely appears and then dies of plot disease so I can marry Cobie Smulders."
The kids totally believe for a moment that this stripper of the story is their mother, even after hearing her name. So assuming they have some idea of what their mother's name is, this means the mother is named Tracy, and we should have realized this nine episodes in. Every time the show tried to trick us into thinking some girlfriend named "Victoria," "Stella," "Zoey," or "guest starring Katie Holmes" would turn out to be the mother, we should have rolled our eyes and refused to be made fools of. And sure enough, at the very end of the series, we learn that the mother's name actually is Tracy.
You'll also notice that the kids are never on their phones during this long story, which can only mean they're trapped against their will, with no means of calling for help. In retrospect, a more appropriate title than How I Met Your Mother would've been How I Exacted A Nine-Year Revenge Upon My Children.
The Beginning Of Back To The Future Shows The Ending In Miniature
The opening shot of Back To The Future pans across a bunch of clocks. At first glance, this seems as subtle as naming the strict principal of the high school "Mr. Strickland." But on closer inspection, one clock in particular is saying more than "Get ready for a movie that involves time!"
If you recall, at the end of the film, Doc Brown has to string a cable to the clock tower so that a bolt of lightning can power the time machine. If you don't recall the end of the film, you are an unfeeling alien robot which must be destroyed. In either case, Doc Brown runs into some trouble while trying to connect that cable to the clock tower and slips, dangling from the clock hands in an homage to Harold Lloyd in Safety Last.
Right before Doc browns his pants.
Now, if you were paying close attention to that seemingly-only-tangentially-relevant opening sequence, you might have noticed one clock in particular among the dozen or so Doc inexplicably has in his laboratory/garage.
He's even looking up at Doc. Everyone was in on this.
Yep, that's Harold Lloyd in Safety Last. The movie is letting us know right away what the climax is going to look like.
The parallels don't stop there. That opening shot even shows us Red the Bum, the homeless dude who gets charmingly assaulted by the mind-bending concept of time travel at the end of the movie, as a character in one of Doc's clocks:
"And this one whimsically depicts a broken man dying in his own filth!"
The Entirety Of Forrest Gump Is Previewed In Its First Scene
The 1994 film Forrest Gump taught America that a fulfilling life is all about clumsily stumbling through incredible events. We watch delightful simpleton Forrest go on a wide variety of very different adventures. He becomes famous for going on a run back and forth across the entire country. He becomes famous for becoming a world-class ping-pong player. He becomes famous for his successful shrimping business. It's a real roller coaster of Forrest becoming famous for seemingly random, inconsequential things.
However, those random events aren't so random after all, provided you were paying attention during the movie's opening sequence.
"It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as feather and son."
In the opening shot, we follow a feather that falls from the sky. It lands on the ground next to Forrest, who is sitting at a bus stop. It lands next to his muddy, muddy sneakers -- which are still dirty from his nation-wide jogging adventure. He picks it up slowly and moves the box of chocolates (the movie's metaphor for life) off of his suitcase. He's on his way to give those chocolates to Jenny, the love of his life.
Then we see Forrest open his suitcase, revealing a Bubba Gump Shrimp hat and a ping-pong paddle. Then he opens his Curious George book, which we see his mother reading to him as a child and which he will give his own son at the end of the film, and puts the feather in the middle of the book. This shows us where we are: in the middle of the story.
It turns out that Forrest Gump is like a box of chocolates: There's an index at the top telling you what each thing is going to be.
For more twists and endings you should've totally seen coming, check out 5 Movies Plots Given Away By The Characters' Names and 5 Mind-Blowing Subliminal Easter Eggs Hidden In Movies.
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