Nearly every movie poses some questions for the audiences who watch them. Often times these are answered, but sometimes they aren’t, and we’re left to wonder. Some films do this intentionally, adding an extra layer to the story, but there are plenty of films that seem to just conveniently forget about certain things, hoping that those of us watching will as well. Being the big movie geek that I am, these are the type of things that keep me up and night and that I probably spend way too much time analyzing.
Some people tend to think of these unanswered questions as plotholes. While that may very well be the case, I like to think of films as complete worlds and that there is some sort of explanation for the ‘inconsistencies’ posed in films. Despite my best efforts, answers aren’t always readily available, and these are some of the biggest questions posed in films that I desperately want answers to.
How do you use the 3 Seashells?
This is considered one of the greatest mysteries of all time when it comes to movies, and it originated from the classic Stallone action film, Demolition Man. When John Spartan is revived in the future, he discovers that many things have changed in the years since his cryogenic freezing. One of these things is that toilets apparently no longer utilize toilet paper. Instead they have three seashells of varying sizes.
At two separate points in the film, Stallone’s character inquires about this, but no answer is given on either occasion. This leaves the audience completely in the dark as to how they’re used and without so much as a clue to go on. Everyone has their own theories on how they work, and if you say you’ve never seriously thought about it, chances are you’re lying. Perhaps like understanding where babies come from, this mystery is better left unsolved.
If Buzz Lightyear believes he’s a toy...why does he freeze up when humans are around?
This is a question that’s been bugging me for a few years now. When I was a kid and watched Toy Story (a ridiculous amount of times I might add), I never thought about this, but now that I have a child of my own and have watched it again, I can’t stop pondering this problem. Throughout the majority of the film, Buzz Lightyear believes he is a real space ranger, and not a toy. He scoffs at the mere idea that he’s a child’s plaything, yet whenever humans are around, he goes ‘inanimate’ and acts like all the other toys do.
We see several scenes in which Andy plays with him and the other toys for hours on end, but Buzz never seems to think this is odd and makes no mention of it. So if he really thinks he’s not a toy, why does he choose to act like one? Is he still playing the space ranger role and believes that’s what he has to do on this “alien” planet? Tough to say, but for someone who thinks they aren’t a toy, he sure plays the part well.
What mark did Jack Sparrow leave on Cutler Beckett?
The second and third Pirates of the Caribbean films posed a lot of questions that went unanswered. While a few of them can be easily attributed to plot holes of some kind, there is one question brought up in Dead Man’s Chest that continues to gnaw and bug me to this day. What mark did Jack Sparrow leave on Cutler Beckett?
Beckett is a representative of the East India Trading Company and has a thorough hatred of pirates. In the second Pirates movie he reveals to Will Turner that he has a history with Jack Sparrow, saying that they both left their “marks” on one another. The mark on Sparrow is the ‘P’ branded into his arm, but when Turner asks Beckett what mark was left on him, the villain changes the subject.
Perhaps my biggest disappointment with the third film, At World’s End, was the fact that this issue is never resolved. It’s like they totally forgot about it, and when Beckett and Sparrow finally meet up in the film, they both act as though they barely know each other. There’s no recognition in their actions, nor any hint of the animosity that is supposed to be there. With all the other things they left open in the film, was it really too hard to show this simple thing?
How did Neo come back to real world in Matrix Revolutions?
The big cliffhanger at the end of The Matrix Reloaded was Neo collapsing and in a coma. We came to find out he was somehow plugged into the Matrix without actually being connected through the massive hole in his head. This leads our other heroes on a mission to rescue him from the purgatory of the Train Man and Merovingian. They’re ultimately successful and Neo is brought back into the real world so that he can save everyone.
Yet, since Neo wasn’t actually connected to the Matrix in the traditional way, how did they get him back out of it? It’s not like the regular way where they can transport him out via the telephone connection, since his body isn’t connected in that way. When you think about it, getting him out of the train station is only half the battle. I suppose the easy answer is the “he willed himself out of it and back into his body”, but that feels cheap and brings up the question of why he couldn’t do that in the first place.
Do the aliens in Signs not have raincoats, or something?
This problem isn’t one faced by the movie Signs alone, but all alien invasion films that seemingly have easy and natural ways for the invaders to be defeated. The alien attackers in the M. Night Shyamalan film Signs (which I actually loved) have a weakness to water, as in it’s pretty much like acid to them. So this begs the question, why would they choose to invade a planet that’s mostly poisonous acid to them?
An argument can be made that they probably didn’t know, they are aliens after all and not familiar with our planet. However, considering these are highly intelligent beings who’ve mastered space travel, you’d think this is a problem they would have figured out before. That’s not even the biggest issue I have either. There is plenty of land and potential resources on Earth that could make such a risky invasion worth it for aliens, but you’re telling me this space-faring race can’t even pack some raincoats? Seriously, a simple hazmat suit or something is enough to protect them, why wouldn’t they wear it?
Why didn’t anyone see Batman make a gasoline painting?
It’s funny that despite knowing a time-bomb is set to destroy all of Gotham, Batman still takes the time to make a Bat Symbol painting out of gasoline on a major bridge. I understand the symbolism behind it and how it was used as a way to rally the citizens and ‘strike fear’ into the enemy, yet it’s obvious that something like that would take some amount of time and planning.
Practically speaking, how in the world did no one see him do this? We know it had to take some time, and it’s placed on a major bridge where Bane has mercenaries ‘vigilantly’ watching. Sure, we can say he did this under the cover of darkness, but without any light to see, how was he able to get the design on the bridge, let alone a trail leading to it from the icy river.
Why Doesn’t Cobb have his kids flown to France?
I loved Inception and thought it was one of the smartest and best films to come out in 2010. The characters are great and engaging, the science fiction aspect is thought provoking, and it features a story that tugs at the heartstrings. The entire point of the film is that Cobb (Leo DiCaprio) is desperate to get back to the United States in order to once again be with his kids. It’s the entire reason he embarks on this incredibly dangerous mission. While the film purposefully leaves certain questions unanswered, there’s one that still nags me.
I get that Cobb couldn’t return to the States because of his outstanding warrant, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anything that kept his kids from coming to him. Cobb seems on good terms with his father-in-law (Michael Caine), so why didn’t they ever consider having him fly the kids over to be with Cobb in Europe? Of all the ones I’ve listed, I feel this one probably has a logical answer somewhere to it, but since it wasn’t addressed in the film, it leaves us to wonder.
Chances are, we’ll never get to hear the answers to any of these questions, and if we do it’ll have to come directly from the filmmakers rather than seeing them on the big screen. Until that time however, I’ll continue to rack my brain on these. You’ve seen my list of questions I want answered, now it’s your turn to share. Tell us the movie questions you want answers to in the comments below!