Creating a full-length feature film is a monumental task for any director. In the storm of actors, set designs, production assistants and the cameras catching them all, the finished movie is just a tiny glimpse of the actual work – and talented people – that goes into making it. Usually, it’s the editor’s job to make sure that what’s outside of each shot stays there – but they’re only human. Which means some truly incredible mistakes can make it into the final product for our viewing pleasure.
Here’s our list of 10 Movie Mistakes That Slipped Through Editing.
The Bourne Identity
Matt Damon’s role as a CIA Assassin suffering from amnesia singlehandedly re-defined modern spy thrillers, showing Jason Bourne to possess superhuman levels of stealth and battlefield awareness. When he first arrives on land after being rescued from the sea by a fishing crew, he quite literally disappears into the surrounding city, illustrating how effective his innate ability to remain undetected truly is. Until viewers take a closer look at his disappearance, and notice the pair of extras attempting – and failing – to conceal actor Matt Damon ducking behind the truck driving across the set, with his feet and bright red jacket clearly visible. Maybe another take would have been wise.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
By the time the Chamber of Secrets rolled around, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy were already eachother’s worst enemies. So it’s no surprise that when the children of Hogwarts began their training in magical duels, the two wound up crossing wands. As always, Harry winds up getting the better of his foe to the delight of the students present. The students, and the camera man who the director either didn’t notice, or somehow assumed audiences wouldn’t spot. How this unplanned cameo wasn’t defeated by some editing magic is beyond us.
Back to the Future: Part 3
Aside from the questions of time travel and parallel universes, Marty McFly’s trip backwards and forwards through the decades is home to several small mistakes or inconsistencies. But it’s the most inconsequential error that has become the most well-known – and frankly, the most unsettling. When Doc Brown returns with his family in tow in the final scene of the trilogy, his youngest son offers a gesture that once noticed, can never be ignored. Most accept that the young actor was simply signaling that he was in need of a washroom break, but we’re not buying it. They don’t have toilets on time-traveling trains?
The fact that Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur adventure has aged better than most other special effects-driven films is usually credited to Steven Spielberg’s use of real dinosaur models along with completely CGI creatures. But that decision didn’t come without a few drawbacks. No fan will forget when a pair of raptors pursued the movie’s child stars through the park’s kitchen, but it turns out the dinosaur models were less graceful than their CG versions. Apparently needing a crew member’s hand to help keep their balance.
The Hurt Locker
It isn’t just dinosaurs that can use a hand from an off-screen crew member. In this story of a bomb disposal team deployed during the Iraq War, soldiers on the ground had more to worry about than just explosives. When investigating an enemy-controlled warehouse, someone on the film’s set decided that star Jeremy Renner needed some help moving through a curtain of plastic sheeting, putting his entire hand into frame. Why the shot wasn’t cut a moment sooner is a mystery, meaning it’s entirely possible it was missed altogether.
In a film as massive as Ridley Scott’s Roman epic, audiences are willing to overlook some small mistakes. But the director put that theory to the test, peppering the movie with too many mistakes to count. There’s the crew member who somehow stumbled into a shot as hero Maximus greets a Roman horse, Barbarian extras who decide to take a break in the midst of a fierce battle, an exposed air canister used to flip a chariot in the Roman Coliseum, and the downright awful body padding used to protect one actor from arrows and swords. But nothing beats star Russell Crowe’s famous question, posed after he singlehandedly wiped out multiple opponents. It’s taken as a political statement for those watching the fight, but it was clearly directed at the camera crew visible in a wider shot.
When word first breaks of a man-eating shark off the shores of Amity, everyone in possession of a boat takes off in search of the bounty placed on the great white’s head. The chaos that follows is a nightmare for Police Chief Brody, but is clearly perfect for the filmmakers. Apparently, director Steven Spielberg got so captivated by the excitement, he assumed audiences would be as well, leaving the entire camera crew’s boats visible in the middle of frame, revealing to audiences exactly how they had captured the shots shown immediately beforehand.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Given the number of extras used in the first Indiana Jones adventure, and how large some of the movie’s action sequences were, a mistake or unfortunate error is impossible to avoid. Take, for instance, the reflection of the entire camera crew in the cockpit of a Nazi aircraft, or the infamous ‘gun vs. sword’ sequence starring the world’s worst butcher. But the film’s most ridiculous mistake is also its most ironic. To make sure their Tunisian backdrop resembled 1936 Cairo, the crew famously removed over 300 TV antennas from surrounding rooftops. That level of dedication pays off in the finished film… until a man wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt strolls through the background just minutes later.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The second chapter of Peter Jackson’s fantasy trilogy begins with three of the Fellowship stumbling into the land of Rohan, leading to a tense introduction with Eomer, a noble soldier and ally in the rest of the story. An embodiment of honor and dignity, Eomer ends the standoff by giving his new allies horses and sending them on their way. Unfortunately, allowing his entire sword to slide out of its sheath in the process. Clearly too embarrassed to acknowledge the mistake, we can only assume he left as quickly as possible to find a suitable replacement.
Just because animated films are created a single frame at a time, that doesn’t mean mistakes won’t slip by just as easily. One of the most well-known sequences in Disney’s smash success Frozen stars the magical Queen Elsa, embracing her powers with a performance of the award-winning song “Let it Go.” In all the excitement, it seems the artists decided to let the laws of physics go as well, allowing Elsa to let down her hair, and have it pass from front to back, phasing through her left arm in the process. The ability to control ice and snow and create an eternal winter is one thing, but we have to draw the line somewhere.
Those are some of our favorite movie mistakes that seemed to slip by the filmmakers unnoticed. Are there any we missed? Sound off in the comments section below and be sure to subscribe to our channel for more videos like this one!