Thursday, November 05, 2009

Plot holes... and Speed II

I made a comment regarding the Twilight post that one of my biggest problems with that book was what I considered to be a major plot hole. The author establishes that to transition to a vampire you have to be bitten and infected with venom. However at the end of the book the heroine is bitten by the hero in an effort to suck “out” the venom from someone else but manages not to take in any of the hero’s venom. This rattled me. And it is one of those things that drive me crazy.

It happens in movies too. My favorite “plot hole” moment of all time was when I saw Speed II (Speed – being one of my favorite movies). The guy who couldn’t replace Keanu goes chasing after Sandra because she’s been kidnapped by the villain. (Willem DeFoe you should be ashamed for making this movie.) In one scene he’s trying to escape a room on a cruise ship that’s filling with water. In the process he loses his shirt. Now I remember this clearly because I love a shirtless man. However, in the very next scene he’s on a jet ski with a shirt on. (And I want to say the color of the shirt was even different from the one he took off… but here my memory could be hazy.)

I spent the rest of the movie focused solely on that. Did he not really care about her? Was he self conscious about his nudity that he felt it important to cover up before saving the heroine? Obviously, it was just a mistake. But they spend MILLIONS of dollars making these movies. How careless is that?

My other teeth grinder is George Lucas. BIG movies this guy makes. Major millions of dollars. In Return of Jedi (yes – I have the first three committed to memory because at one point I was fairly certain I was Princess Lea reincarnated) Lea says she remembers her mother. “She was always sad.” In the last prequel we see Lea’s mother die immediately after she gives birth. No chance a new born was able to make that connection I think.

What George? You couldn’t go back and watch the first three movies just to make sure you had the timelines all right? Or more likely – you thought I would forget.

I didn’t.

Look, I get it. When you write a story you’re going to have plot holes. Nobody is perfect. You have an idea on page 100. It changes by page 300. It happens. And I’m even more forgiving with really long series, 10, 15 books… that can really be tough to keep it all straight. That’s what critique partners and editors are for. To catch the things that you might miss.

But when something is really obvious to me that’s a lack of respect to the audience. The writer is being lazy and hoping we won’t notice. And for me that is the biggest no no in writing.

One of the things I respected most about JK Rowling and the Harry Potter books was that after going back and re-reading them from beginning to end… to see the effort and detail she put into connecting every element throughout each story was absolutely amazing. She plants a major plot point for book 7 as a throw away line in book 6. When I went back and realized it was right there I thought wow… you really did your work. As a reader I felt (this is going to sound crazy) loved. Like she cared enough to do this much work because she knew I would appreciate it.

I want to do that. I always want my audience to feel like I care and respect them enough that I will never be lazy with plot holes.

So tell me… what are some of your teeth grinder moments?


December said...

In Batman and Batman Begins -
One major scene in Batman was when the young joker said "have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light?"

Then in Batman Begins, they show the scene again, and the joker doesn't say it. DROVE ME BANANAS.

Maureen McGowan said...

Almost everything about the last Indiana Jones movie made me crazy. (Molly and I had a smack down battle over it on this blog.)
But one big thing I didn't get in that movie, was how he vortex or whatever it was at the end could tell the good guys from the bad guys? Once things were set in motion, how come only the bad guys got swept away?

And the whole the skull makes you crazy thing was full of holes, too. I mean it seemed to only have that effect on certain characters. Bad, bad, movie.

Simone said...

Really? You were looking for stellar screenwriting in Speed 2? What an optimist you are.

Maureen, I knew that movie would suck when Indy survived a nuclear holocaust in a 50 year old fridge. Sigh.

My personal fave was the end of the second X-Men movie, when Jeannie was creating this huge dangerous windstorm, and Wolverine is fighting it to walk toward her, and his shirt disintegrates right off him, but his pants don't. It's this big dramatic moment and I'm thinking, "Huh. Wolverine has magic pants."

Stephanie Doyle said...

Simone... yeah... it would have been much better if he lost the pants too! (For purely plot related reasons of course.)

What about M. Night (who I still love) writing a scene where people needed to outrun the wind to live.

The wind... seriously?

Eileen said...

It took me a while to come up with something! I apparently spewed all my venom earlier this week on our Twilight discussion and have none left. Oh, wait! I found a little pocket!

The last Indiana Jones movie was so bad in so many ways that it's impossible to discuss! It goes on my Three Hours I Will Never Get Back List with Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.

The only teeth grinding moment I could come up with was when James Caan suddenly has his big turnaround in Elf. Why? I never could figure out what had motivated him? It made no sense. Sadly, as I turned to say something snotty to my family about this while we were watching it, it was clear they were all visibly moved. I could tell by the tears coursing down my sweetheart's face.

In all fairness, I detest the whole holiday season (buckle your seat belts, it's started and I get really cranky) and most holiday movies. Still . . .

Molly O'Keefe said...

Steph! I've been trying to think of plot holes I have hated and suddenly I am drawing a blank. no doubt, I've ranted about something sometime, but I can't think of it.

But I was thinking about your idea that when the writer connects all the dots - you as the reader feel loved. And I totally agree - It's not just being in good hands, it's being cradeled in good hands - I love it. And while they didn't do it all the time, one of the best lessons for me of late was Battlestar Gallactica - they had a few odd ball stray story lines, but for the most part, things came back around in such a blow my mind kind of way. And of course The Wire. Those writers rewarded thier watchers all the time with big giant character pay offs and plot twists. They loved us, Steph.

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