One of the best sequels of all time is Gremlins 2: The New Batch, probably the only one that ever got away with being both a narrative follow-up as well as a kind of parody of the original. In a reflexive scene, Billy (Zach Galligan) is explaining the rules of Mogwai/Gremlins to employees of Clamp Tower and the guys start asking technical questions that reveal those rules to be ridiculous in their allowance for exceptions. It's a joke about the first film's plot hole, actually inspired by questions raised by fans and the filmmakers themselves, and gives us full transparency that we needn't be concerend about such a plot hole. Gremlins is a great story regardless of whether or not those rules are logical.
We don't need meta sequels for every movie with a major plot hole. We just need to remember the message of that Gremlins 2 scene when getting frustrated with any film we'd otherwise really enjoy. For example, I love Back to the Future Part III more than most people, but one thing that always bugged me is how Marty's 19th century ancestors include a great-great-grandmother who looks like his mother. Unless there's some accidental incest going on by the time George and Lorraine hook up, there's no reason Lea Thompson should have played an early McFly (other than casting contract). If only Crispin Glover had still been involved with the series and could have played Maggie McFly in drag. Anyway, as dumb as that bug is, it doesn't ruin the movie for me. It helps that it's a light movie dealing with time travel and so shouldn't be taken that seriously.
"If a plot hole feels so stupid that it makes you enjoy the film less, than [sic] the director has not done their job. You should be able to acknowledge, but still enjoy," writes N.P. Horton in a list of "50 Plot Holes and Paradoxes" for Den of Geek. He's totally right. A great director can make a great movie even out of a sloppy or inconsistent or parodoxical script.
And speaking of BTTF3, one of the movie's alleged holes comes in there at number two. If you ask me, that "extra DeLorean" thing is not a hole if you really think about it, but time-travel movies are good at confusing us. The fun thing about them, too, is that while we may not care about plot holes and paradoxes in movies in a critical sense, they're still fun to pick out in time-travel movies as a way of engaging with the puzzle of timelines and parallel universes and such. For my wife and me, one of consistent debates we have regards the plot of The Terminator -- and more recently, similarly the plot of Looper.
With other plot holes, they may just be a matter of narrative convenience and choice, and that's fine. Any question of "why didn't so and so just do this" isn't really a plot hole, and if the movie is otherwise produced well enough that choice shouldn't matter. Let's not forget that movies are first and foremost about storytelling, no different from myths, tall tales and other fantastic narrative media that sets out to do much more and much different than present a logic-tight universe and plot. We shouldn't fault a good movie for holes any more than we should fault it for employing genre conventions, character archetypes or expository dialogue.
Still, to bring it back to Gremlins, the snow issue is a pretty big deal, and one I never even heard or thought of for almost 30 years. See the first of our readers' Twitter responses below.
What major plot holes do you forgive from your favorite movies?
Here are some responses received so far via Twitter:
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