Nitpicking the Movies/ Biggest Plot Holes


Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2001
I admit I'm kind of a nitpicker with regard to accuracy in military-related movies, but I know some guys who take it to extremes. They shredded "Saving Private Ryan" for incorrect sights on the machine guns, improper tactical movement across open terrain, P-51's wouldn't normally be tankbusters, etc. "Enemy at the Gates" was cited for wrong reticle pattern on the Mauser sniper rifle, the Mosin-Nagants had a PU instead of a PE scope ( evidently incorrect for that year), historically inaccurate sniper tactics, etc. Do the Trekkies and others follow suit?
I can't speak for all Trekkies, but I do, and there is a whole series of "Nitpickers Guides for Trekkers" by Phil Farrand which says that at least some others do too.

The thing with all science fiction is that unlike the historical military facts that you just described, the writers can write anything they like and make up an excuse for the reason why. However, it should be internally consistent within their own universe, or else it is no longer believable.

An example of this would be having a control panel in a turbo lift of the Enterprise in only one episode of 'The Next Generation', when it suited the storyline for it to be there, but never before and never again. This kind of thing annoys me for several reasons. First, they think I'm too stupid to notice it. Second, the writers are too lazy to think of another way to write it.

If it is a genuine mistake, I can let them off. Making weekly episodic television on a limited budget must be much harder than a blockbuster money-is-no-object film, and they often re-use shots. But it is still fun to find the faults and cheats.
Hi Slater,

Yes, a lot of people who watch the Stargate SG-1 are nit pickers. But mostly it is about keeping the internal logic of the show straight. Some also talk about some of the obvious things like continunity. For instance in Season 4 a show called "Prodegy" Major Carter and Cadet Haley entered the gate in one position and it was reversed in the exiting the gate shot on the moon. And some talk about the technology and what is happening with it. But most are fans of the show and it enhances their enjoyment.
if i nitpick stargate it's for silly things, like danny's shirt sleeves going from long to short to long in the same shot. or them exiting the elevator on level 25 and walking down the hall to the gateroom which is on level 28. those are big ole continuity errors that show that someone wasn't paying attention.

the sites on the guns or wrong engines in a movie...sometimes stuff happens. though blatant stuff like in twister, now that's sheer laziness.
I've only seen "Stargate SG-1" a couple of times, but very much enjoyed it. Being retired military, I guess I tend to nitpick military-related things. For instance, in one episode (can't remember which one) the captain (Amanda Tapping?) gets into a somewhat heated exchange with the general. In real life, she would be handed her hat and shown the door, until such time as she could address a general properly. But I understand it made for good drama, so life goes on.
>>>> resurrecting thread

I hate it when movies are internally inconsistent. I mean, don't they hire people to control the continuity? Do they get reverse bonuses if they stuff up? :evil:

Most things people nit pick about pass me by - I am just not that observant, but this means that if I actually noticed something wrong then it must be quite a glaring mistake.

But what about things like how, in the recent blockbuster Pearl Harbour, the creators made a conscious decision to not show the characters chain-smoking, as they likely would have been in this era? I am not sure about that, I am all for realistic depiction of past events, but at what point do we draw a line?
with historical movies it's hard to tell when to draw the line...I mean do you go for accuracy in all things or like with the chain smoking do you leave out something that doesn't really impact the movie for the sake of political correctness or whatever you want to call it. That's a tough call to make I would think but that type of thing doesn't bother me to much.

What gets me is when things "diappear" from one scene to the next. My favorite recent example being in Lord of the Rings right before Frodo falls and loses the ring in the snow on the mountain ridge they do an aeriel shot and Bill the pony is conspicuously absent in the shot. That's the kind of thing that irritates me.
I never noticed that in LOTR! I guess I shouldn't be surprised though :)

I guess with historical accuracy it is also a bit more open to interpretation - for example we don't have any videotape of the American Revolution, so how can we really know exactly what it looked like?

I suppose I am lucky I don't notice all these gaffes - it would probably really annoy me if I did.
>>> resurrecting thread -

Most of the stuff I catch 'nit pick' wise is stuff like in "Someone Like You" -- Eddie starts feeding Jane noodles with his left hand, then, when the camera shifts, he's feeding her with his right. In the same scene he says that something he's gonna do to merit a cheer is to toss 3 dumplings into the trash 'left-handed' - dude - Jackman *IS* left-handed -- you can tell when you watch him write something down later in the movie -- argh!
Biggest plot holes

Do these niggle you too?

Having recently watched Terminator 3 (which I enjoyed) towards the end the terminator wants them to get to a safe distance but she says they must go to Skynet and the terminator obeys (having been originally reprogrammed by and made to obey her).
My quibble is that at least twice before she had given it orders and been ignored. The initial scene where it locks her in the van at the Vets she shouts let me out of here and also in Sarah Connor's crypt.

In I Robot Wil Smith is attacked by a robot in a subway that looks surprised when he defends himself with his implanted metal arm and runs away. But wasn't the core running the robots and which knew all about his rebuild?
Re: Biggest plot holes

I'm fairly forgiving when it comes to plot holes in movies, most of the time it has to really stand out to bug me.

But the biggest plot holes of all time must be in the Highlander sequels, I've said it before and I'll say it again:

If your tag line is "There can be only One" and in the end of the movie there is only one.... Think really, really, really hard about whether there needs to be a sequel!
Re: Biggest plot holes

I wish people would not refer to Terminator when discussing plot holes...the entire series is one big plot hole. Anyway if you want to pick nits one could probably argue that the cyborg's dictum is to ignore orders if they're detrimental to the safety paremeters of the ones he has been programmed to protect. So if obeying her meant leaving her to the risks of running into the Terminatrix...
Re: Biggest plot holes

I'm fairly forgiving when it comes to plot holes in movies, most of the time it has to really stand out to bug me.

But the biggest plot holes of all time must be in the Highlander sequels, I've said it before and I'll say it again:

If your tag line is "There can be only One" and in the end of the movie there is only one.... Think really, really, really hard about whether there needs to be a sequel!

And that's not even the WORST of their continuity errors.

I can forgive the 'well, okay, maybe we missed a couple' and making other movies, but had the studio / money ppl not goofed up the second one so badly, it might've stood a chance.

If you watch 'em all - poor Brenda dies twice. Once in 1999 of skin cancer and once in 199? (HL:III) in a car accident with Connor.

Worse than plot holes are characters who are written into a movie to fill space but don't stay 'in character' in the script - that'd be Methos and Joe from HL:IV (which was SO much worse than HL:II and HL:III combined).
Re: Biggest plot holes

Do they niggle? It depends on the film.

If the films screams quality then you can overlook the plot holes. There are few stories that are so watertight you can't see the holes. Not only that but all genre films have tropes which are staples in that genre and yet don't make any sense. For example in horror there is the frequent "entering the basement" scene.

However if they jar you out of the story and irritate then they are a real problem.

A big example happens in Sunshine (the recent Boyle movie) about halfway through. The clanger is so huge that the film falls to pieces.
Re: Biggest plot holes

Yeah. At the end of The Abyss (which I confess to's on SciFi channel right now), the alien ship/city brings everyone up to the surface very, very quickly with no stops for decompression. How come no one gets the bends?

They even mention it in the dialogue...which I guess makes it not a plot hole. But it is a hole, because they don't explain it at all, and it just bugs me.
Re: Biggest plot holes

For me, it has to be the end of Fantastic Voyage (1966), when, according to Harry Kleiner's script, they successfully get the miniaturised scientists out of the man's body just before they return to normal size - but leave all the wreckage of the miniaturised submarine inside him!:eek::rolleyes:

Isaac Asimov corrected this glaring error in his novelisation of the script, but the film itself still has this gaping plot-hole as its climax.

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