I watched Captain America for the first time this weekend, and very nearly gave myself a concussion from all the facepalms I did during the movie. It wasn’t that the movie itself was bad, per se, it was the simple fact that so much of it was glossed over and left completely unexplained. There are countless examples I could bring up, but the most glaring is, of course, the glowing blue cube around which the entire plot revolves. Now, there are times in film when leaving things deliberately unexplained is effective, either for comedic or dramatic effect — a notable example being Woody’s “incident” from the sitcom Cheers — but in this case, it just felt like they forgot. Not only did they completely fail to explain what the box was, what it did, or where it came from, they couldn’t even be bothered to give it a name, or indeed even refer to it in dialogue.
It is, then, the very definition of a “MacGuffin”: from Wikipedia, “a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist (and sometimes the antagonist) is willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to pursue, often with little or no narrative explanation as to why it is considered so desirable”. This glowing blue box is the central piece to the story, but in reality it is so irrelevant that they couldn’t even bother to focus on it. The writers got so caught up in the story surrounding the MacGuffin, that even they forgot to pay any attention to it at all.
What is your favourite “MacGuffin” in the history of film?