18 Awesome Sci-Fi Movies That Got Away Without Explaining Major Things

Voting Rules
Vote up the sci-fi films that were better off for never explaining that one thing. Vote down the films where the lack of explanation doesn't really work.

If you’re a film buff, you know there are unexplained things in sci-fi movies all the time. Someone will tech the tech or a robot can suddenly fly and no one bats an eye. Sometimes these scifi movies with unexplained plot points work wonderfully without keying the audience in on their artistic choices, but some scif-i films with unexplained moments leave the viewers scratching their heads, trying to figure out what they just witnessed. In the world of film, the suspension of disbelief is necessary for you to go along with a farm boy from Tatooine harnessing a magical force and defeating an army, but suspension of disbelief doesn’t really work when you have him falling in love with his sister.

There are plenty of science fiction films where audiences are willing to overlook simple things like characters showing up in a new room, or knowing how to drive a time machine despite never actually seeing one before. However, if you focus on these things, you start to lose the magic of the film. While some scifi films can get away with never explaining their scenes, there are a few that lose viewers completely when they try to pull some of the downright disrespectful jive that you’re about to see.   

Vote on the sci-fi films that were better off for never explaining that one thing. Vote down the films where the lack of explanation doesn’t really work. 

Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY

  • Yeah. So. The whole T2 thing. To recap, Sarah Connor, mother of John Connor (who the Terminator comes back to protect this time, because he's been reprogrammed by some human rebels), decides to kill Myles Dyson, creator of Skynet, so he can't create Skynet or develop terminators. This would ostensibly save the world. 

    What do we learn when she goes to kill him? He developed terminator technology using pieces of the terminator that came back in the first movie. Which means, if the terminator never went back in time in the first place, terminators wouldn't exist. There's surely some philosophical argument to be had here about fate - Sarah Connor does, after all, carve the phrase "no fate" into a picnic table at one point - but this is never explicitly addressed, so the audience is simply left to wonder, "What in the f*ck of all f*cking f*cks is happening right now?"

    And one more thing - if the humans reprogram a terminator to protect Sarah and John, why would they make it look exactly like the terminator (albeit aged 8 years) that tried to kill Sarah in the first movie? It never occurred to them how traumatizing that would be? And if the terminator never went back in time in the first movie, John Connor wouldn't have been born, because the guy sent to protect Sarah... wait, hold on.

    If Sarah was never visited by terminators, she never would've trained her son to fight them... he's Jesus, isn't he? John Connor is Jesus. Which negates all logic in and of itself. 

    1,533 votes

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  • 2
    1,435 VOTES

    Most of the weird scenes and plot holes in almost every Spielberg film can be brushed off with the conceit that Steven Spielberg makes rad moves everyone loves. But, in Jurassic Park, when the T-Rex shows up and saves everyone from those d-bag raptors, it's hard not to wonder how he got in the building.

    Is there a special T-Rex door? There's probably a special T-Rex door. 

    1,435 votes

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  • 3
    1,039 VOTES
    Photo: Gremlins / Warner Bros.

    Quite possibly one of the most biggest unexplained things in all of science fiction is the fact that you can't feed mogwais after midnight without them turning into gremlins. lIs there a "true midnight" that all mogwai brains correspond with? Or do they acclimate to their surroundings? Like, if you took a mogwai on an international flight, what would happen?

    Also, you're not supposed to get them wet, or expose them to bright light. But according to mogwai lure, they're from China. Yep. No bright lights in China. Not in Hong Kong or Shanghai for sure. And it's not like Hong Kong can get as much as 10 feet of rainfall a year. These mogwai sure are tricky creatures. 

    1,039 votes

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  • 4
    859 VOTES

    The Abyss was ahead of its time in so many ways. The CGI was spectacular, it's a great story, and they even figured out how to depressurize a giant ship in less than a minute! Sort of. If you haven't seen the film, there's a big to do at the beginning about how the scientist's pressurized station is so deep underwater it can cause illness to people on board. That makes sense.

    At the end of the movie, the ship is zipped up to the surface by some aliens, and everyone exits the ship like they just stepped off a rollercoaster. One character actually brings up the depressurization thing, but it's explained away by another character saying, "[The aliens] must have done something to us." Thanks, aliens! 

    859 votes

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  • 5
    867 VOTES

    This unexplained moment can probably be explained in a deleted scene, or by texting Ridley Scott late at night (if you have his number, which you probably do, since he has a habit of hanging out at IHOP at 3:00 am in a different city every night, giving out his cell number), but how did the titular creature get on the escape pod for the final scene? Like, seriously? How did the f*cking thing get past Ripley? And the closed doors? And that cat? Because that cat don't play. 

    The answer probably lies somewhere between "alien vanishing powers," and "there was no money to shoot the alien entering the craft wearing a fake mustache."

    867 votes

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  • 6
    696 VOTES

    Arrival makes some beautiful points about the reality of the human condition, and it makes audiences rethink narrative filmmaking in ways that haven't happened in blockbuster cinema before. But when it's revealed that learning how to speak Heptapod allows you to see everything that happens in your life without making it fit into a straight line, does that mean anyone who learns their language can mess with the future?

    Theoretically, you could actually pull the Bill and Ted stunt of reminding yourself to put a key somewhere in the past, and then grab that key in the present. Or it might even allow you to fix the stock market, or something even worse on a global scale. Is that a thing in this movie or are the filmmakers just going to ignore it? Unless everything is predetermined. Where's a Tralfamadore to explain things when you need one? 

    696 votes

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