I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 59

Day 59: Indiana Jones and the Hole-y Plot (Part 1)

It's time for a special week here at the Castle, as I'll be nitpicking even more intensely and obsessively than I normally do. What subject could possibly deserve this kind of cruel hypercriticism? Why, the plot holes, of course! The many, many plot holes.

We'll start with one of the bigger ones, since it's actually the plot hole that kicks off the film. Namely: Why did the Commies kidnap Indiana Jones and bring him to Area 51?

Sure, there's an easy answer for that: To help them find the alien corpse. Of course, that's not a particularly logical answer, if you stop to think about it for more than a second. Here's the sum total of what they know about Indiana Jones' history with the crashed alien spaceship: A decade earlier, he'd been asked by the government to look at the wreck, hoping for advice about just what the thing is.

Since the Commies obviously have enough access to secret American government files that they were able to locate and infiltrate Area 51, doesn't it seem like they should have known Harrison Ford had no subsequent involvement with the wreckage?

Let's give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that there were enough holes in the Commies' knowledge of Indy's history with the government that they thought he had a lot of information about the crashed spaceship - even so, why bring him to the warehouse? Even if he knew everything about the nature of the crashed alien's ship, why on earth would he have the slightest idea just where in the warehouse it was? What could Harrison possibly have to offer that a simple manifest couldn't?

Never forget, no matter how secret Area 51 is in the world of Indiana Jones, it's still a storage facility. This means that when items are brought into it, they're placed in crates, labeled, and shelved with intent that at some point in the future they'll be taken out again. This means that somewhere, almost definitely on the premises, there's a book listing the number of every box in the warehouse, and where in the warehouse that box is located. Given that they've got a well-placed enough mole that they were able to find out about the aliens and and Area 51, how much harder would it have been to just find out the number of the box that the corpse was in?

Even if they somehow thought it was a better idea to kidnap a prominent professor and war hero than to just read a book, I've got to ask the question again - why would they possibly believe that Harrison would be able to help them find it? They have no reason to believe he's ever been to Area 51, nor do they have any reason to think that Harrison has any special knowledge that might allow him to find the body.

Luckily for them, it turns out that Harrison Ford actually does happen to know some magic, contrived way to find the corpse, but the fact that incredible fortune and contrived writing worked out for the villains doesn't make it any less of a cheat than when it helps out the heroes.

That's right - the film is so terribly written that the inciting incident, the thing that kicks off the entire story, is a gaping plot hole. Not convinced? Just wait until tomorrow's entry!

PS - And while we're talking about his 'special method' of finding the corpse, I've got to mention something - you know what's a whole lot better at locating a supermagnetic box than gunpowder tossed into the air? A compass. It's too bad a compass isn't part of most soldiers' standard issue equipment. Oh, wait...

Since I'm asking questions anyways, are grenades generally filled with gunpowder? I know that gunpowder does a great job of propelling small amounts of lead long distances, but if you're making a grenade, aren't there much more explosive and deadly things you could be packing into that grenade? I mean, it's not like this is 15th Century China and gunpowder is the only explosive available, is it?

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