When movies weave tales of government conspiracies, elaborate heists, or mind-bending time travel, audiences know that not every twist or turn will be spelled out in detail. And as bold science fiction and comic book superheroes have taken over the box office, the suspension of disbelief is almost a given for any modern blockbuster.
But sometimes, a film goes too far, introducing unclear plot points, failing to answer the obvious questions, or even occasionally breaking the rules they themselves established. Whether the filmmakers thought the issues minor, or simply hoped viewers wouldn’t think too hard about what they’ve been told or seen for themselves doesn’t change the fact: plot holes can’t all be explained away.
With that in mind, here is our list of the 10 Big Movie Plot Holes and Paradoxes.
Inception Kicks Off
Inception takes a leap into fantasy with its science of ‘dreams within dreams,’ but sets out some clear rules. For instance, it’s explained that the sensation of falling – into a tub of water, or out of a chair – will cause any sleeping person to snap wide awake. The rule is put to use in the film’s climax, as the team of heroes descend through multiple layers of dreams, ending at an impenetrable Arctic fortress. The team’s only way out? Using synchronized ‘kicks’ to pull them back to the real world, one dream at a time.
But hold on: the final sequence of drops defies the earlier rule, showing that a kick inside of a dream will snap the person out of it: the collapsing fortress first, then the elevator stopping in the dream above. Some confused editing may be to blame for breaking the film’s simplest rule. But if that’s the case, what reason would there have been to blow up the fortress at all?
Back To The Gas Station
In Back to the Future, time travel requires two thing: a flux capacitor, and enough gas to hit 88 miles per hour. But when eccentric genius Doc Brown (and his DeLorean time machine) are struck by lightning at the end of the second movie, he winds up stranded in the year 1885. Marty, despite Doc telling him (via letter) to not go back in time after him, manages to repair the stashed car in the year 1955. Marty does just that in the next film, but ends up tearing a gas line, emptying the car’s tank. With no gas stations in the Old West, the pair’s fortunes go from bad to worse.
But we have to ask: why wouldn’t Doc just retrieve gasoline from the DeLorean he’d recently stashed in the mine? Even if its tank was ALSO empty, running an engine on kerosene would surely be easier than building a time machine. In fact, California’s oil rush meant gasoline would have been available – and since it was considered a worthless by-product at the time, it would’ve been cheap, too.
Ocean’s Eleven’s Magic Money
All its style aside, Ocean’s Eleven is essentially one big lead-up to a brilliant heist, stealing money out from under a casino owner’s nose. When the vault is broken into, the thieves demand that bags of cash be carried out by the hotel’s own security – but when the money is tracked by the casino’s men, an explosion reveals the money was never there in the first place. Meanwhile, the thieves – disguised as a SWAT team – descend to the vault with bags in hand, leaving more worthless fliers behind, and walking millions of dollars out of the casino personally.
The only problem is that when stars Matt Damon and George Clooney first broke into the vault, they did so empty-handed. So where did the x-marked bags filled with fake cash come from? Fortunately, director Steven Soderbergh even admitted there’s no explanation, so don’t bother looking for one.
The Lost World’s Lost Crew
While the first Jurassic Park proved dinosaurs and man don’t mix, the sequel went a step farther, bringing the creatures off of their remote island and back to the mainland. Things go wrong immediately, as a ship carrying an adult T-Rex violently crashes into its port. The crew is revealed to have fallen victim to the island’s dinosaurs, moments before the ship’s own cargo hold is opened, and the T-Rex escapes.
But what actually killed the crew? Apparently a scene was planned in which a pack of Velociraptors board the vessel as it leaves the island, but was left out of the finished film. The results of their attack remain, with nobody ever wondering if there were more killer dinosaurs they should be worrying about.
G.I. Joe: Cobra Rises, Ice Sinks?
Blockbuster films are rarely scientifically accurate, but G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra tops them all, with one incredible oversight in its final act. When the film’s hero, Duke, is taken to the villain’s underwater Arctic Base, the rest of the Joes soon stage a rescue, kicking off a furious underwater battle. As the villains escape they trigger the base’s self-destruct process, “blowing the ice pack” above them as a last resort.
When audiences actually stop and wonder if they’ve ever seen ice sink, this plot hole becomes downright laughable. Some over-the-top action is one thing, but claiming icebergs will sink like a stone instead of floating is truly unbelievable.