1. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    Plot Holes, Plot Contrivances, and Nitpick Critiques

    Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by 18-Till-I-Die, Feb 23, 2019.

    This is kind of a discussion I've been wanting to see, but it's something that I think needs to be really hammered home with regards to the recent explosion of internet criticism. I want to see what people who actually know what writing is think, to see if anyone agrees with my assessment.

    What is a plot HOLE, what is a plot CONTRIVANCE, why one is worse than the other and what is just mindless nitpicking and grasping at straws. There are two videos I want to kinda post here, one is by Bob Chipman and the other by Dishonored Wolf, both on polar opposites of the political spectrum (a Far Left socialist hipster and a Far Right gamer bro, respectively) and while normally I have to agree more with Wolf on...virtually everything in this case sadly I think Movieblob kinda hit the nail on the head harder. Which is hilariously ironic for me ya see, cause me and Movieblob have a history of passionate hatred for one another and I'm a huge fan of Dishonored Wolf's videos, but sadly I have to say he *dramatic gasp* made a valid point! My God, what is this madness...

    They're both really lengthy, profanity strewn internet screaming fits so I'll TLDR for you:

    Dishonored Wolf is arguing that Aquaman is, and I believe he literally said this, the worst piece of shit he ever saw because it's not as realistic as The Grey or Her. Bob is arguing that sometimes you have to just accept some kind of inconsistency to make a genre work. And again, as much as it pains me to say this, I agree with Bob.

    The thing is that a lot of what gets passed around as "criticism" for movies, tv shows, games, comics etc nowadays is not "criticism" it's nitpicking and HILARIOUS logical contortions to try and justify why you subjectively hate a movie/game/etc without saying "I found no enjoyment here". This is also used to justify another argument in Wolf's video which is just because a movie is successful that doesn't mean it's good, but I again disagree: that IS what makes it good, because word of mouth is WHY it is successful. And by that I mean genuinely successful not a "cult classic" (which is fancy talk for "Millennials like it, everyone else hated it") or a movie that just made a profit. A movie has to have word of mouth, a book or a tv show or game too, to garner support and sell copies or tickets or otherwise it fails. The Last Jedi was technically a success but it scuttled the Star Wars franchise, led to a massive decrease and down-slide in ticket sails and made ardent fans like MYSELF swear off the Star Wars movies until Darth Disney is banished to the ether. THAT is a failure, but the Transformers movies, like it or not, garnered a massive fanbase, were beloved by many of the fans of the comics and cartoons, and have remained consistently high grossing since. Note the difference.

    But I digress. The point is, a lot of people mistake a plot HOLE for a plot CONTRIVANCE and build their criticisms around that. A plot hole is at best a mistake and at worse a handwave. Most of the time it comes from the writer not dotting every I and crossing every T and so some minor, completely irrelevant aspects may not make perfect sense in retrospect or have to be handwaved away or retconned. Sometimes it literally is a retcon, saying some past aspect of canon is written out for some reason. Plot holes are basically just the in result of imperfections in a story, and not necessarily a major malfunction. There are some entire genres of fiction built on plot holes. The Hallmark/Harlequin romance and the rom-com for example assumes, indeed takes as read, that some virginal everygirl who grew up on an affluent horse ranch is shy and considered "plain" but also happens to look like Jessica Rabbit and then she meets a buff, handsome cowboy who sweeps her off her feet, or some kind of foreign prince or a soldier with tight abs, etc. Is that realistic? Hell no it's absurd, but for the entire genre to function you need to accept certain basis premises like that. Concepts like Meet Cute, where the main characters bump into each other at a coffee shop and just so happen to fall madly in love, and the "She's All That/Cinderella" sequence where the "plain" girl (who is played by Jennifer Lawrence and has a huge rack and an ass tight enough to deflect a bullet) lets down her hair and suddenly...becomes Jennifer Lawrence, with a huge rack and an ass tight enough to deflect a bullet. Twist ending, right? But all that is just because the genre of a rom-com/Hallmark movie romance depends on it, removing it removes the basic idea of a romantic comedy as a genre from existence.

    A plot CONTRIVANCE is something entirely different. A plot contrivance is an artificially engineered lump of bullshit which exists purely and for literally no other reason than to make a certain point or have a specific scene happen with no context beyond that. Last Jedi is FILLED with this to the bursting point so ok, where to start...

    Captain Tumblr Post and the Hyperspace Kamikaze. This scene literally has no meaning, has no impact on the plot, has no impact on the ending or the previous story, has no emotional weight, dismantles the entire concept of how FTL works in Star Wars, defies previous canon and the SELF-CONTAINED canon of the Last Jedi itself...and it exists purely so Commander Feminism, leader of the #Resist movement, can destroy the USS White Supremacy. It is, literally, just there to make political statements. The entire sequence on the casino planet is there JUST to have Rose make statements about how much she hates capitalism. It has no impact on the story, has no meaning to what happened before or after, has no point in the movie, lags on for too long even if it did, and if removed changes literally nothing whatsoever. It is an excuse for the writers to say how much they hate capitalism. The entire sequence accomplishes nothing, and ironically Commander #ImWithHer sacrificing her "life" (such as it is) to blow up the Cis-Gender White Male Supremacy with a hyperspace kamikaze run means that nothing they did or said or the guy they got to help them on the casino world mattered in the long run at all. Princess Leia turning into Marry Poppins literally exists just to have a cool looking scene. Nothing else. It doesn't even have a POLITICAL logic behind it. It exists purely to have that scene but in doing so it dismantles everything we knew about the Force, about how the Force works, about who is best at using it, displays powers we've never seen before, and will never see again, and all for literally NOTHING other than to have a cool scene where she flies through space.

    Those are not plot holes they're plot CONTRIVANCES, they exist to put forth a few scenes or some kind of idiotic political agenda with no meaning or reasoning behind them beyond this. In She's All That, which btw is a favorite movie of mine, it's unrealistic yes that a girl who looks like our main heroine would ever be seen as or consider herself to be "ugly" so when the ugly duckling becomes a swan at the end, it elicits an eye roll because she was always this sweet, kind girl with a cute face and a sizable rack so the fact she's wearing a shorter skirt and lipstick now doesn't somehow enhance or drastically alter that. It's less an ugly duckling becoming a swan and more a swan putting on high heels. BUT it's not a plot contrivance, because the viewer goes in expecting this, by the very premise as a rom-com teen movie. It's the basic idea upon which the teen romance movie is built, it's basically an archetypal scene that plays out in all of them, going back to things like Pretty In Pink or Sixteen Candles or hell even, I believe it was, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds and My Fair Lady, which She's All That was literally a reboot of. Complaining about it is nitpicking plot holes that most or all viewers won't care about, because they go into the story assuming they exist by default.

    No one, genuinely, goes into a Slasher movie expecting realism, because the very idea of an immortal masked killed with a chainsaw hunting promiscuous teens at a summer camp but then the one virgin girl manages to kill him with a machete but then SURPRISE POST-CREDIT SEQUENCE! he survived so now we get a sequel...at heart that is unrealistic and no one would expect genuine realism from such a movie. Pointing out the "inconsistent writing" and plot holes with characters who mainly exist just to be killed in fun ways in a movie built on the absurd premise that a masked killer is stalking people at a summer camp and no one knows how to call the police is absurd, nitpicking, and grasping at straws and tha's me being generous.

    And even then there is a difference between a plot hole and a a plot contrivance. A plot contrivance is when you dismantle core concepts and rework them JUST to have one scene or JUST to have a political agenda, with no logic or reason beyond that. A perfect example in say Star Trek Discovery (heretofore known as STD) is that there is a mentally challenged girl and a (kinda) blind person as two main characters...in a future where blindness has been cured, and sorry not sorry but autistic kids don't get to join a MILITARY FLEET and become officers on the flagship. That's there just to say "look mommy I represented minorities!" and has no actual logic. It's just as insane as when Lando is revealed, and outright stated by the writers of Soblow, a Poorly Written Story to be a "pansexual"(?!?) just because they wanted to get in on the LGBTNPCXYZ movement. At no point prior to this, in the original movies, is he ever even HINTED at as being anything but a straight guy, so suddenly changing his sexuality in a PREQUEL which by all logic preceded the original movies, just to court gender extremists is absurd. It's a plot contrivance, it exists just to forward an agenda, at best, and at worst just to get virtue points and be more "woke".

    A plot hole is a basic premise or trope of a story that may not make sense, logically, when you examine them from a real world context. A plot contrivance exists purely for the writer's personal tastes, politically and/or aesthetically, and serves no other purpose, has no effect on the story and has no meaning. If you remove the Hyperspace Kamikaze scene from Last Jedi, NOTHING changes, but if you remove basic concepts from say Aquaman or She's All That then the entire genre changes.

    TLDR: A plot hole exists because some concepts, some entire genres, are founded on inherently unrealistic and nonsensical ideas and concepts which if delved into too deeply or questioned too extensively causes the plot to implode. You literally CAN NOT expect realism in certain genres. HOWEVER a plot contrivance is a scene which exists just to make a point, or have a "meaningful" moment, with no context or meaning beyond that.


    Here are the videos in question, examine them as you wish...

    Dishonored Wolf:


    MovieBob:
     
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  2. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    Post too long. DNF.
     
  3. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    I'll summarize:
    There are some folks who like criticizing plot holes in fiction but fail to realize certain plot holes have to except for genres to exist, they're dependent on them for simple functionality. This is not a plot contrivance, a plot contrivance is a situation where something happens not to advance the plot or even to facilitate it but simply because the writers(s) decided to put it in to make a "point", politically or otherwise. Having every main character in a story be an LGBT black woman for example when none of these things affects or advances the plot is a contrivance, a plot hole is the stock Meet Cute romantic comedy set up, upon which the bulk of the rom-com genre depends on to simply exist.
     
  4. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    Still too long.

    ETA: :) :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
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  5. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    Fine, look I'm sorry if in a previous post I insulted you or someone else because of my political views, please don't troll me.
     
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  6. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    A plot hole is an inconsistency not explained.

    Like the ending to Cannon Ball Run. They all started at different times in the race so they didn't all have to actually run to the finish line to be first to grab the trophy. The person with the best time would have been calculated so whoever did get there first wasn't actually the winner (I don't remember who it was but based on the plot they didn't actually win but it was accepted by audiences).
     
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  7. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    I'm joking with you. I don't even know your politcal views. I'll go back and insert a smiley face.
     
  8. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @EBohio
    It's cool, I just made some...enemies I guess, when I made some previous statements, so I kinda assumed it was a response to that. To the point about Cannon Ball Run, I guess I would argue that comedies can't really have plot holes, or even really plot contrivances, because their stories by default make no sense and basically happen just to make the viewer laugh. Like Fritz the Cat, one my favorite comedies, is basically just Zootopia with an R rating. It's about a pothead cat pimping around New York in the 1960's looking for (literal and metaphorical) tail and making sex jokes. The "plot" is just an excuse to have a fun time watching Fritz do crazy shit and get high, so while you could say "it's unrealistic because cats aren't intelligent enough to be snarky Jewish con-men like Fritz is explicitly stated to be", and technically that's an accurate argument, it ignores the fact no attempt whatsoever was made to portray Fritz "realistically". He's not a literal cat, he's basically Charlie Sheen with whiskers. Likewise the idea behind the Cannon Ball Run is just that these characters get caught in a slapstick comedic race and what they do and say and the jokes they tell not literally about an actual race, so no adherence to realism is attempted.

    A plot hole is an excuse that the audience and the writers agree on to advance a plot which, by default, is non-functional if literal realism is applied. Transformers is built on the plot hole that a race of shape-shifting AIs from an alien galaxy would know or care enough about what a Volkswagen is and turn into one. A plot contrivance is suddenly revealing that Han Solo is a transgendered Black woman transitioning into being a man and suffering from vitiligo...just to court the LGBT community and show how empowered women are in the Current Year.
     
  9. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    I agree with you on plot contrivances but I still say you are defining plot hole incorrectly but I get what you mean.

    (I have enemies too for all the wrong reasons so I know what you mean. Didn't want to be one of yours. Friends?)
     
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  10. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Movies are so different than books. I did read your entire post. I think a plot hole is a problem. And when it's an actual problem it's hurting the story, not adding to it. However, I don't think every question in a story needs to be answered or spelled out. Focus is important where that is concerned, I believe. And I think a story only needs to be believable in the world it's set in. That world (realistic or not) needs to make sense. It has to be a where readers are willing to give up some sense of logic or whatever for the sake of the story. It happens, but plot holes will break the bubble of belief or any so-called reality.

    I believe including minority characters and voices is important. I do not see the inclusion of such characters creating any plot holes or going nowhere. These things are both important for the times we live in and literature.
     
  11. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Senior Member

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    Could you give me an example of a plot hole that needs to exist in a Genre, I can't think of any so am struggling to answer the question.
     
  12. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @EBohio
    Oh yeah, no problem dude, I was just kinda expecting some shots fired. I get sarcasm. I guess I kinda always saw a plot hole as more of a...I guess a lie we can all agree on. Like in literally EVERY science-fiction movie but especially Star Wars, you can "hear" lasers firing in space, and "see" them even, while in the real world this is impossible. It's done purely for the sake of storytelling, and the reader goes in expecting it to some degree. Where as a plot contrivance is when the story virtually stops in place so that the writer can tell everyone how much he hates, say, Capitalism--like the casino planet sequence from Last Jedi--and which has no other purpose and which is far more reasonable to criticize. A story can have plot holes and, unless they become overwhelming and go against simple logic, they don't have an impact, while plot contrivances can murder a story...like Last Jedi.

    @cosmic lights
    Yes, the example I like to use here, because Dishonored Wolf mentioned how it was at the beginning of Aquaman, was the "Meet Cute" trope. The idea in a romantic story arc, usually in a fantasy or at least a fanciful setting, that two star-crossed lover will just bump into each other with no preamble or idea of who they even are and somehow form a lasting relationship from this. The entire concept of Romantic Comedy is built on this. Literally EVERY rom-com uses this, and all you need do is look at the TV Tropes site to find HUNDREDS of examples. It is effectively the default, stock way for love interests to meet in a Romantic Comedy, or largely for romances to start in fanciful or comedic films--like Aquaman with how Aquaman's mother and father met because she was an injured mermaid warrior who washes up on shore and then wakes up and eats his pet fish and he's shocked but turned on because she's hot, and she's shocked but turned on because he's handsome, so within hours they're literally consummating their love affair and awaiting their first child. That entire concept, that set up and the story from it, just look at any random Romance novel, especially the more teen-oriented stuff, and you see it replicated word-for-word SOMETIMES with the "mermaid warrior" part removed...not even that if we're talking about YA Urban Fantasy like Twilight. The recent film Battle Angel, a brilliant Cyberpunk movie btw based on one of my favorite animes, literally plays out the Meet Cute trope word-for-word: the cyborg princess wakes up wounded, saunters out into a world she doesn't understand and meets a handsome, broody, bad boy antihero with a cool motorcycle who sweeps her off her feet and within minutes they're making fuck-me eyes at each other and he's all but proposed marriage to her. Great movie, but it's literally FORGED on the idea of Meet Cute. And as I said the genre of Romance itself, regardless of the media, depends on similar ideas. EVERY Hallmark movie, EVERY Harlequin book, EVERY Young Adult teen drama uses Meet Cute in some form.

    @deadrats
    Yes, precisely, a story needs to be INTERNALLY consistent. In the world it's set in, the idea of a superhero like Superman who is some kind of an alien plant(?) who lives off solar energy and can move planets makes sense...from any kind of realistic sense, it's absurd, but in DC comics it works. However if you then have like Squirrel Girl kill Thanos, who is a godlike alien monster who consumes worlds, then the plot implodes. The former, Superman, just assumes that in this world a race of alien trees who can move planets exists in a setting where alien life and planet-annihilating beings are common...the latter is just feminist posturing so that Lena Dunham's superhuman twin sister can kill an alien god and look "woke". It was meant to be propaganda, as opposed to Superman, which was just meant to tell a story. Including "diverse" characters is fine, but they should be fleshed out as characters first and their gender or race basically a background element. Starship Troopers, the movie, did this brilliantly: it shows a world where no division whatsoever exists between men, women, races or even species (Normal Humans and Telepaths) and yet it never says it. It just shows it as a background element. Women are considered equal to men and treated as such, no one even mentions race and it's likely the idea of separate races has vanished from human parlance, they are, in essence, a perfectly equal culture...and it's never, ever mentioned or pointed out. It's shown, not told, it's a minor plot element that serves only to show in the Earth Federation humans have unified as one race with no obvious division besides political factions. And even then, the division between Citizens and Civilians is really just a ceremonial one, showing who served in the army and who didn't. The fact the Federation actively pushes to get Civilians to join the Mobile Infantry and become Citizens shows that there is even a desire to erase THAT division, meaning it's at best a minor holdover from some past political divide long-since put to rest and now exists only in name.
     
  13. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Plot holes are tricky. They can happen when you get tunnel-vision while creating a path, and forgot to mention why a or b didn't just do this or that. I don't watch a lot of comic book movies and I've given up on Star Wars so the only one I can reference is Desperately Seeking Susan. In the movie Roberta becomes obsessed with a freespirit, Susan, who contacts her lover through the want ads. She spies on Susan meeting her lover and when Susan trades her jacket for a pair of boots in a thrift store, Roberta buys the jacket. In the pocket is a locker key. She places an ad in the paper contacting Susan. Meanwhile Susan is in possession of some Egyptian earrings which she stole from some thieves. Roberta dresses like Susan to meet her and is attacked by the remaining thief (who mistakes her for Susan), conks her head and gets amnesia. She wakes thinking she's Susan. So do other people. Meanwhile Susan contacts Roberta's husband and she thinks Roberta is connected to the thieves. Near the end of the movie Susan's reading Roberta's diary and says -- why didn't you tell me she reads the want ads. A serious boo-boo because it's how she knows Roberta contacted her in the first place to give her back the key. And she knew it was her cause Roberta wore her coat. The story ignores the plot hole because they need a way to keep the two women separated for a certain amount of time.

    I've seen more plot holes in drafts on writing sites though, and less in published books. Though Flowers in the Attic felt like a huge ignored plot hole. Who escapes simply to go for a swim?

    Also the inclusion of minority characters that's a tricky one. I don't find them necessary (depending on your story) and I don't think they should be pushed - what's the point of pushing something? I've read books that didn't mention church or religion and given the make up of the town that they're describing, that's not representing the make up of America or even Canada etc. But that's their choice. I think if you can write minority characters go for it. If it doesn't come natural to you don't bother. And if you do it as some kind of agenda, or with some kind of agenda in mind, it will probably look contrived.

    I've seen some pretty daffy shit on writing sites lately with writers trying to write woke character or woke stories and there's no real way to address the situation without them cutting you off as being the opposition rather than say, being a writer/reader first who wants to address it on that level.
     
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  14. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Supporter Contributor

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    I think of this in terms of immersion. Is there anything in the story that breaks the reader’s suspension of disbelief? Readers enjoy stories that include many inplausible things: magic, alien battleships, convoluted mysteries. We accept these to a point, but to prevent the reader from being pulled out of the story, writers must manage these implausibilities.

    Readers expect the world in books they read to be similar to the real one. Horses don’t talk, unless otherwise specified. People are guided by normal human motivations. We can change these expectations to a point, but only with ample warning, and to a limited degree.

    Set down the ground rules for your world in advance and stick to them. Give hints and clues if you’re not going to write them out in full. Some people will always nit pick but in generally you’re aiming to make your target audience happy. People will complain about aquaman on YouTube but that is primarily to get more attention to their channel. Honestly that probably drives more attention to the movie too, which is good.
     
  15. XRD_author

    XRD_author Banned Supporter

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    An improbable thing happening isn't a plot hole. In fact, it's the basis of almost all fiction, because when only the likely things happen, the reader gets bored.

    You may not believe in Love at First Sight but many people do, enough that it's pretty common in fiction. And for two people who accidentally meet and quickly fall in love to subsequently be "star-crossed" isn't even improbable, it's actually likely, when you think of all the potential obstacles that two people who had been complete strangers and are now trying to establish and maintain an intimate relationship face.

    A plot hole is a hole, and absence of something, not a presence of something. According to Wikipedia, a plot hole is "a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story's plot. Such inconsistencies include such things as illogical or impossible events, and statements or events that contradict earlier events in the storyline."

    For example, imagine if, in the original Star Wars, mercenary rogue Han Solo had come back to save Luke without having first fallen for Princess Leia. That would have been a plot hole. (BTW, my primary objection to the so-called "Solo" movie is that the Han Solo character, even at a younger age, isn't in it.)
     
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  16. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    So here’s a question: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, if the rebels attacked the Death Star while it was still under construction and not currently threatening a world, the timing of the scene and the line “fully operational battle station” would make more sense, but the battle would have lacked fantastic amount of tension it carried.

    Would a more logical setup for the battle make the movie better, or is the contrivance adding tension making it better?
     
  17. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I think a lot of plots are built on contrivances because they make better stories.

    I might write a book about a coward who is forced to ride as a knight by his father, but gains inner strength through the quest and then overcomes his cowardice when he stands his ground alone against the dragon.

    At every step of the way, I’m aiming to make sure he has his great moment of courage when he comes up against the dragon, and not before.

    Totally contrived, but average storytelling and perfectly marketable.
     
  18. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Senior Member

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    But something like that happening isn't a plot hole, I'm not sure you entirely know what a plot hole means. What you're showing is a contrived example.

    A plot hole is an inconsistency is a plot or a character. And it's the fault of the story-teller and not linked to a Genre - all Genres have these.
    A contrived thing is deliberately created rather that anything that forms organically. You see this is romance novels a LOT. As you said, it can feel very forced and predictable, but still not a plot hole.
     
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  19. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @John Calligan
    The thing with the DS2 is kind of a plot TWIST more than a plot hole/contrivance. Cause see, in the end it turned out that the thing was fully armed and operational from the start, it had probably been completed days or weeks ago. In fact considering some of the politicking and backstabbing that Palpatine went through just in the prequels the reality is HE probably lured them there (hence the "It's a trap!" line) and had purposefully leaked the info about the station.

    In fact I kinda assumed that was the general consensus, that the rebels were tricked into thinking they were striking some devastating blow like in the first movie, when they genuinely had the upper hand and did a real sneak attack...but then had the rub pulled when they realize it was all a set up, and not only was the new Death Star fully operational it as back up by a huge fleet of ISDs. Oops! The tension is formed from the idea that they thought they had the upper hand, but in fact had been swindled by Palpatine into throwing their entire fleet at an immovable object, and mind he had literally certain victory here and it was only because of Darth Vader's betrayal and killing him he lost. Ironically, fulfilling Anakin's original destiny, to bring balance by destroying the last Sith and now with both the Jedi and Sith effectively extinct the Force is balanced, so in a way it could even be said PALPATINE was set up by the Force here, while also setting up the Alliance.

    Now of course, the modern SJWars and the "writers" who crank it out would never realize this, because basically they'd have to actually watch the previous films and recognize what an ACTUAL writer is capable of, e.g, setting up stories years in advance and developing them to a logical conclusion based on a singular vision that the author had from the start--or as it was known in the olden days when Lucas was first writing the series, "genuine fucking effort". A lost sorcery from ages passed, or so I been told.


    RIP Star Wars. Thoughts and prayers.
    (1977-2015)
     
  20. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I wouldn’t go that far. I thought VIII was wonderful.
     
  21. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    No, like I said a plot hole is an unexplained inconsistency.

    What you are talking about, I believe, is "suspension of disbelief". We all accept that Superman can fly with just a cape.
    Suspension of Disbelief.
     
  22. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Supporter Contributor

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    I'm pretty sure they're working off of Lucas' outline. Yes, the ending of TOS is good, but where does that leave the Star Wars universe? There isn't peace in the galaxy. Compare the world in Episode I with the world in Episode VI. In Episode I, there is a strong galactic republic that has stood for thousands of years and is successful in maintaining peace in the galaxy without physical force, but instead through diplomatic negotiation. Palpetine destroys that. The Galactic Empire is ruthless and terrible. It finally falls, but where does that leave the galaxy? The Jedi are destroyed. The remnants of the empire are controlled by small-time warlords. The Galaxy is at war and the standard of living is nowhere near what it used to be. So at this point there is "kind of" balance in the force. A kind of balance where both dark and light are devastated, and everyone is just fighting each other for food.

    Right now we are seeing the culmination of this story. It deals with the consequences of what happens in Episode VI, which far from resolves things. We see Luke in despair at being unable to fix these problems himself. We see the order that he, Leia, and Han built falling apart. And we see the legacy of the Skywalker family live on through this tragedy, as they try to pick up the pieces and create something new. There is a dark and a light side to this. We have Kylo, who is Anakin's nephew if I recall correctly. He wants to be Darth Vader. He has this silly helmet thing that alters his voice to sound Darth-Vader-y. But he realizes that the whole act is just him trying to imitate his uncle, and he becomes his own person. He smashes the mask and defeats his master. He picks up the banner for himself. Meanwhile on the light side we have Rey, who wants to pick up the hopes that Luke left behind. She's probably a Skywalker, and definitely picking up their legacy. Jedi have a tradition of brooding when they fail to save everyone. We see this with Obi-Wan and Yoda. But Rey has her chance to pick up the torch as Luke did, and let's see what she does with it. I have the feeling that we will see a more healthy balance in the force, one where the galaxy isn't a huge mess. And our best hint at that is the boy who learns to use the force at the end of Episode VIII. My personal theory is that we will see the force come back substantially -- there will be hundreds of force users, and they will be neither Sith nor Jedi. They're just be people. But we'll have to see what happens in Episode IX. Lucas was planning 9 movies from the beginning. There's a pretty good chance that this is where he originally wanted the series to end up, even though there were roadbumps along the way. Yes Disney has its faults, but George gave us Ewoks and Jar-Jar-Binks. Star Wars has never been above selling out a little bit. That doesn't mean that the story can't be awesome.

    Episode IX will tell us whether there are any overarching plot holes in the entire series. Thinking about the more traditional criticisms though: lasers firing in space is one of those allowances that we give scifi movies in order to entertain us more. Star Wars' status as Science Fantasy gives them leeway that is not offered to Hard Scifi. This goes back to suspension of disbelief and how much slack audiences are willing to give movies. If star wars got super-technical into how everything worked, they would be exiting the realm of Science Fantasy and would open themselves up to more criticisms in terms of accuracy.

    The overall plot of Star Wars is pretty credible. The Prequels draw heavily from the fall of the Roman Republic, which of course actually happened. We see Palpetine legalize private armies in the book Darth Plageius, which leads to commercial empires like the Trade Federation holding more military power than the republic itself. This is one of the key elements in the fall of the Roman Republic, where families held more influence over legions than the republic did, and were able to conquer Rome on multiple occasions for political purposes (two specific examples being Sulla and Ceasar). Palpetine positions himself as a Ceasar of sorts, using his control over an army to wreak chaos in the republic. Though he does so through more devious means. His plan is actually too devious to really work -- if he were Ceasar, he'd just march his army into Corressant and proclaim himself savior of the people from rich, powerful interests. But he's a Sith Lord, and is super devious. Fans grant Lucas artistic license in this regard, and we see Palpetine contrive a war. His plan works flawlessly, since it's a movie, and people generally accept it because Lucas does a good job of revealing the plan in phases and managing conflict well.

    The story in the original three movies is pretty basic. We have the farm boy versus the evil empire, which is a tried and true story that everyone believes because we've seen it a million times. The magic in these movies is more in the translation of this fantasy archetype into science fiction, and the brilliant combination of revolutionary effects with a rich space western setting. More specifically, we have the Tarkin Doctrine in New Hope, which is basically the Empire's policy of governing through fear. They build an "invincible" battle-station to secure their control over the galaxy. But to actually make it, they have to enlist the help of engineers. And engineers are smart people who usually don't like doing evil things. As we see in Rogue One, there is a flaw built into the Death Star, and the rebels exploit it. Yeee-hah! They destroy the death star. And from a plot standpoint this is pretty plausible. Lucas doesn't pull any rabbits out of his hat. He establishes early in New Hope that Luke can use the force to do incredible things. Luke even practices blocking blaster bolts with a visor covering his eyes. It isn't surprising when he can land a torpedo in a vent without his eyes either. This is plotting well done. And as the series develops, we see this done well for the most part at every turn. We have the whole dialogue between Vader and Luke which sets up Vader's later betrayal of the Emperor. And as you say, the Second Deathstar was a trap. And it would have worked, because the Imperial Fleet completely outclassed any other fleet in the galaxy. But there was a problem. Palpetine used his knowledge of the force to control and coordinate the fleet, which we see in the Thrawn Trilogy. The fleet uses Palpetine's force powers as a crutch. And when Palpetine bites the dust, his fleet falls apart because they lose the benefit of his aid. This might have been a plot hole before the Expanded Universe material came along actually, though much of the EU material is able to fill these so that everything makes sense.

    Overall this come down to developing backstory well. And even when there are plot holes due to the time constraints of the format, they can be filled in by future publications. Books and movies only have to make so much sense, as fans will give leeway. The victory of the Rebel fleet in Episode VI comes off as plausible because we've all seen this formula. Yay, the heroes win! Readers will forgive the heroes winning even if they have poor odds. They're the heroes. It's only interesting if the tension is so high that they barely win.

    (Okay, that was a long post. As you can tell, I'm a star wars fan... haha)
     
  23. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    We don't even need to come up with hypotheticals for plot holes in the original Star Wars. There's a gaping one early on.

    An Imperial officer orders gunners not to fire on the escape pod containing C-3PO and R2 because there aren't any life signs aboard, apparently forgetting he lives in a world where fully autonomous robots are everywhere and don't show up on such scans.
     
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  24. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Supporter Contributor

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    Interesting. This is rather mind-blowing, because that one officer's decision arguably resulted in the fall of the entire galactic empire. The death star plans aboard that life pod later resulted in the destruction of the death star, moments before it would have wiped out the primary rebel base. The same group of rebels later grew and successfully overthrew the empire. That one officer's incompetence lost an entire war. I agree this is a plot hole to the extent that the officer should have known better. But it is a rather small one, as it's easy to imagine an officer making an incompetent on the spot decision. Particularly since imperial officers in the star wars universe are never shown to be particularly competent. This could well be a result of Darth Vader's demonstrated policy of executing officers who fail under his command, which prevents them from becoming experienced enough to make good decisions.
     
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  25. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    You could argue incompetence, but that basically adds a plot contrivance to the hole. Resting an entire plot on someone behaving idiotically is pretty questionable writing.
     
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