Sunday, July 08, 2007

What Is This "Plot Hole" That You Speak Of?

I don't understand the concept of a "plot hole." When I see what other people tell me are these things called "plot holes," I don't think, "HAHA! TEH SUK!" I think, "Huh. That's interesting. I wonder what that means?" And I'll think about it for a bit, and it'll usually inspire some insight.

At least, I think that's what I think. I can only assume that this is what people are talking about. People will say, "Oh, that movie had so many plot holes in it, nothing made sense," and I will have, literally, no idea what they're talking about.

This happened with Transformers, (Great movie, go see it.) which inspired this line of thought. I am told that this movie's plot is full of holes. I have no idea what this means. Where are these holes? Would someone care to enlighten me on this topic?

And, heck, does anyone have an example of a plot hole in a general sense? In a movie, in a book, anything. Examples are the key to learning!


  1. A plot hole is something unrealistic in a plot. It is not necessarily a failing of the plot (if real life were interesting, people wouldn't watch movies), but it is a point where realism was sacrificed to make things more interesting.

    I didn't notice any glaring ones in Transformers - most of the realism was sacrificed in set-up, after all.

    An example would be in one of the later Matrix movies when the machines tunnel for miles instead of using the road. Fortunately for the movie, no one noticed because it was obscured by the fact that the movie was absolutely terrible.

    It's not really a problem in the sense that people don't know what's going on, or that it makes things uninteresting but unbelievable.

    It's one of those unfortunate problems whose positive side-effects (good story) are harder to recognize the actual problem, which causes an obvious negative reaction.

  2. I don't really think plot holes are lack of realism. Most audiences are fine with suspending their disbelief.

    Sometimes I think of unresolved issues as plot holes, such as seeing a character in mortal peril, never seeing how they got out of it and then later seeing them again without any mention of said mortal peril.

    I also define things that were not properly explained as plot holes. Note that this doesn't include things like the 2001 movie. That was supposed to be unexplained. I'm all for writers being a little cryptic. I just don't like getting halfway through a movie and suddenly thinking something like, "Wait, since when is that character psychic?"

    I think of plot holes as things in a movie, book, or game that non-deliberately make the plot (or aspects of it) excessively hard to understand. If it doesn't mess with comprehension, it's not really a plot hole.

    Plot holes are sometimes the fault of bad writers, but usually they are the result of film editors cutting scenes that shouldn't be cut.

    One thing about plot holes is that they're usually pretty obvious, because they leave the audience with questions. I didn't really leave Transformers with any questions (except "Where can I get a car like that?"). I didn't notice any plot holes.

    I suppose "plot hole" really is a loosely applied term though and can really be used for anything plot-related that was "bad." *shrugs*