This one is going to be a bit different from my usual Trope Shark article because someone else is doing the talking instead. But as I was getting ready to put this together, it just felt like it should be under the Trope Shark banner.

Every now and then YouTube will recommend a video that it almost demands I watch. Like, it will keep coming up and it gets on my nerves. Sometimes I’ll click to no longer recommend it, but every now and then the idea does at least merit watching and I’ll watch it so YouTube will stop shoving it in my face. I have a subscriptions list for a reason and it’s tough keeping up with that between everything else I do in my life you know, Google!

One such video was a response to a commentary about people complaining about plot holes. TVTropes defines a plot hole as “those gaps in a story where things happen without a logical reason. When a Plot Hole involves something essential to a story’s outcome, it can hurt the believability, for those who are bothered by such things. Hitting a Plot Hole at high-speed can damage your Willing Suspension of Disbelief.” Although to be fair, that should be extended to “without a logical reason within the universe of the story or at least doesn’t contradict events and characterizations shown earlier in the story. Nobody watches a Looney Tunes short and points out plot holes. Although I do remember a joke about it on an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures. If something makes sense within the rules of that world then it isn’t a plot hole, just something illogical by our world’s standards. That’s why the whole “Indy hides in a refrigerator” thing doesn’t bother me, because even as someone who doesn’t watch the movies I know it’s not the most unbelievable thing in this franchise. If something contradicts a rule seen earlier, that’s a plot hole. I do wonder why Bugs is so worried about being shot when for Elmer and Daffy it just seems to be an annoying inconvenience and not a death sentence, but at least it’s consistent through the series. Bugs only dies via lightning bolt from a magic helmet in an opera.

The original video comes from Patrick (h) Willems, in which he rants (with some impressive visual editing mind you) about why he’s sick of people talking about plot holes in movies. However, I think there’s some stuff he doesn’t quite get, and the responder, the host of Cynical Reviews, points out a lot of them. But I do have a few thoughts to add on my own. Note that there are by necessity going to be spoilers for various movies.

The running theme here is that plot holes keep things from being really f@#$% boring, but I don’t think that’s all that accurate. A good writer should be able to make things happen logically (in the fiction universe if not the real one…and more into science fiction, fantasy, or science fantasy you go the harder it is to match the real wold) without contradictions or leaps of logic. If you’re in a real world like universe you shouldn’t be able to make it from Milan to Omaha in two hours. Even in a fantasy world, if you enter a cave at night and leave in the afternoon you had better have been in there slaying monsters for longer than ten minutes in-universe unless there’s some time warping spell in the cave or some sort of mystic chaos happening outside.

As for the rest, the other guy already goes into most of it. This one censors most of the swears, until the last few minutes. Is that a plot hole? 🙂

Seriously guys, the Cinema Sins hate by both videos? I’ve already given my opinion on that and I still like the show and the other Sins videos. Although I did lose interest in Brand Sins and Music Sins because I don’t watch a lot of music videos and the only web show about brands that interests me is Company Man.

Some supposed plot holes can be explained with a little thought. One example Cynical Reviews gives is why didn’t Glenda tell Dorothy the shoes could get her home. His only answer is “because we wouldn’t have a movie”, but it could also be that Dorothy might need to go on this journey for her own benefit, or even that she couldn’t believe in the magic until she really got involved in the world and believed in magic. (In many stories magic is powered in part by belief, which is also how faith works in Christianity–“faith comes from believing and believing by the word of God” while the faith of a “mustard seed” is supposed to be enough to move mountains and all that.) Plus Oz and the friends she made (including Oz himself; nobody notices he has to learn the folly of his guise) need her help and the mission helps all of them to see what talents they have while Dorothy has to actually learn “there’s no place like home” and not just “get me out of this weird place with little dancing people”.

As for the The Last Jedi I’ve already reviewed that movie, but I want to address the Holdo and Poe bit. Like Cynical said, all she had to do was tell Poe that they had a plan. He rebelled…sorry, resisted because he and the other mutineers didn’t know if they even had a plan. Meanwhile, every ship except that one was being killed, which means friends and colleagues, fellow members of the Resistance against the First Order, were slowly being killed off by the First Order and really being sacrificed for just the one ship. (At least Poe’s sacrificing others was an attempt to save other lives in the future, stupid and unnecessary as his plan was. It’s not like the Order didn’t have other Star Destroyers and would miss one.) And as far as the mutineers knew they were simply waiting their turn because they had larger fuel tanks. They didn’t know Holdo even had a plan. Just say “yes, there is a plan but you don’t need to know it because I don’t know who to trust and you’re no longer in the command structure” and he might have been satisfied enough to see where it goes. So it was either mutiny or wait to die like the other ships. Does this officially quality as a plot hole or just stupidity by everybody involved? You make that call, but it sure as heck does matter!

Finally, I thought the point of the drained cell phone was that they couldn’t possibly be ready to be stranded in a cabin with a serial killer? And how you explain areas where there are no service? And having to make the killer find a way to attack them when they don’t split up isn’t about making a movie less boring, it’s about making the killer earn his kills.

Are there people who overly nitpick? Yes, and if they’re doing it to be funny that’s fine. If not it’s being pedantic. Sometimes characters do things that don’t make sense because for whatever reason they aren’t thinking straight. Or the laws of physics may not completely match our own even if the world is close to ours otherwise. (Again, Indiana Jones.) But to say plot holes don’t matter is a mistake. Anything that breaks the established rules of the fictional world, whether those rules match ours or not, should be challenged. A good writer can work around logic while remembering people aren’t always logical, and that it’s even to their benefit as well as their detriment. Plot holes should be filled or the audience won’t be able to see the good parts and the movie will be ruined. So, don’t stop talking about plot holes. Just try to figure out if you’re complaint is actually a plot hole or if you just can’t suspend disbelief as much as anyone else.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. […] The Plot Hole Debate: In this installment of “Trope Shark” I look at a debate about whether or not plot holes are something to complain about and give my own thoughts on the issue. […]


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