Animation studios realize that when they release a new product that is interesting for both kids and adults, they increase their audience by a lot, as well as their earnings. But this is not an easy thing to do. One way to do this is to add hints, jokes, and references that only adults can understand and kids will miss completely.
We at Bright Side want to show you such moments from popular cartoons.
The Little Mermaid
In her collection of stuff that once belonged to people that Ariel made, there’s a painting of a woman sitting next to a candle. It’s the Magdalene with the Smoking Flame by Georges de La Tour. On her lap, there’s a human skull. This is not a kid-friendly story, so what’s it doing in a movie for children?
Maybe it’s a hint that Ariel is the new Magdalene. Like Magdalene, she has red hair, she’s fighting the patriarchal world, and is criticized for what she wants.
One of the most memorable and unpleasant scenes in Spirited Away is the cleansing of the Stink Spirit. It’s partially based on Miyazaki’s personal experience. He once saw the river next to his house being cleaned.
For many years, there was a lot of trash at the bottom of the river. Among all the trash, there was an old bicycle, one of the wheels has been seen above the water, but it was really hard to pull it out because of all the dirt. He was shocked by this image and included it in his cartoon.
Some scenes in this cartoon will only be clear to those who are familiar with Chinese and Japanese hieroglyphs. When Chihiro and her parents come to the abandoned amusement part, there are a lot of inscriptions, some of which are reversed or hidden in the most unexpected places.
They contain hints and warnings proving that there’s something wrong with the place, and it’s dangerous.
In the animated film, there’s a funny scene where the main characters come to a place where small animals live that look like moles. In fact, Mr. Big is an Arctic shrew, a very aggressive and insatiable animal.
This character and the entire scene are a reference to Vito Corleone and The Godfather, specifically, the scene where his daughter is getting married. This is not something children can understand.
Throughout the entire cartoon, the Genie turns into different celebrities, most of which children of 1992 didn’t know. The Genie did impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert De Niro, and Jack Nicholson — actors that were very popular at the time.
But the list of stars that kids didn’t recognize along with their parents was much longer, consisting of Señor Wences, Ed Sullivan, Groucho Marx, Arsenio Hall, Peter Lorre, Cab Calloway, and many others.
In one of the scenes, the antagonist, King Candy, says, “You wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses.” But Ralph does. In 1989, Batman reacts to the same words uttered by the Joker in the exact same way.
In the scene where Bolt is holding Mittens above the road, there’s a bus in the shot for a moment. On the roof, you can see 2525. This bus is here from an entirely different action film, Speed. Sandra Bullock is probably driving it.
In Sherlock Gnomes, you can see a truck belonging to the Sherrinford shipping company. Before the name Sherlock Holmes appeared, Arthur Conan Doyle’s character was someone who had the name, Sherrinford. This name was found in the early diaries. In different novels about Sherlock Holmes that were written after Conan Doyle died, Sherrinford is the older brother of Sherlock and Mycroft.
Kung Fu Panda
In Kung Fu Panda, there’s a peach tree in many scenes. And Oogway’s staff is made from that tree.
The thing is, in Chinese culture, the peach tree is a symbol of immortality. The flowers and leaves of a peach tree are used in Dao Magic. It’s believed that peach tree wood scares away evil. Kids probably missed this reference.
In Cars (2006), Luigi’s license plate number is 44.5-10.8. These are the coordinates of the main Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy.
When Timothy says to Dumbo (which was released in 1941), “Lots of people with big ears are famous,” it was a reference to the “King of Hollywood,” Clark Gable, who also had big ears.
A Goofy Movie
In a Goofy Movie, there’s a scene where Big Foot is dancing to “Stayin’ Alive.” It’s a reference to Saturday Night Fever, where John Travolta is doing the same dance.
When the cute minions are not allowed to enter the Tower of London without adults, they dress like a lady — she is tall enough to get inside. In this scene, you can see a French guy staring at something polite men shouldn’t. The same situation was used in the Wonderbra commercial with Eva Herzigová: “Look me in the eyes. I said the eyes!”
In your opinion, do such scenes make a cartoon better or worse? Do you watch cartoons and animated films with your kids? What is your favorite animation?