Animation is great because artists can let their imagination run wild and create pretty much anything they want. That also includes little secrets and references hidden in plain sight for viewers to find. These are called Easter eggs, and many movies are known to have them. But have you actually ever found one?
Zootopia is great for Easter eggs because it has many wide shots in which to hide crazy little details. For example, during a winter scene there is an elephant family taking their daughters ice-skating. If you look closely, you’ll see that the little elephants are dressed as Elsa and Anna from Frozen. The next film references a part of history that you’re probably too young to remember.
Relics Of Humanity
Wall-E takes place in the year 2805, when the Earth is no longer livable and humans have left. After Wall-E meets Eve and follows her by clinging on to her mothership, he cruises past a bunch of derelict satellites. One of these is actually Sputnik I, the first satellite ever launched, made by the USSR. Speaking of old references… you probably haven’t seen the movie that this line calls back to.
Hat Tip To The Greats
Sometimes, animators like to pay homage to classic movies. In The Secret Life Of Pets, there’s a scene where Chloe reminds Pops that she’s a cat, and he replies, “Well, nobody’s perfect.” This is actually a callback to the last line of the movie Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis. The following detail will make you wonder if those two movies are in the same universe.
In the movie Inside Out, there’s a scene where young Riley is seen playing in the living room. On the coffee table, there is a stack of magazines, and the one on top is called Haute Dish. We assume it’s a cooking magazine, because the cover features Colette, the chef from Ratatouille. These next two movies are for sure in the same universe… and this Easter egg proves it.
Symbol Of Their Culture
Maui’s giant hook plays a big role in Moana, as part of the lore of the islanders’ origins. In Lilo & Stitch, Nani’s boyfriend David Kawena wears a necklace with a very similar hook, if not the exact same. This makes sense because it’s very possible that, in the Disney universe, the people of modern-day Hawaii are descendants of Moana and her people. You’ll be surprised when you see who this character is based on.
The Perfect Guy
In the 80s, Michael J. Fox was a huge star. So it’s no surprise that when time came to draw Aladdin, animators wanted to base his likeness on the actor. But after a few screen tests, producers thought he looked too boyish. So animators adjusted him by mixing in some features from Tom Cruise, another big star of the era. Speaking of Aladdin, where do you think the genie’s lamp is these days?
An Old Artifact
In Zootopia, When Judy the bunny and Nick the fox are investigating the disappearance of Emmitt Otterton, they go to the Mystic Spring Oasis for clues. There they meet the owner, Yax, who lets them into the premises. On a shelf by the door there are several objects, one of which is the genie lamp from Aladdin. You must have noticed the following detail – after all, both movies are less than five years old.
His Name Was Marshmallow?
At the beginning of Moana, her grandmother tells the children legends of Maui the Demigod defeating a flurry of monsters. Moana’s father interrupts and tells the children there are no such things, but accidentally unfurls a series of tapestries depicting monsters. The one on the first tapestry is a reference to Marshmallow, the giant ice monster summoned by Elsa in Frozen. Here’s another beloved character based on a famous star – this one may blow your mind.
Mermaid Next Door
When making The Little Mermaid, animator Glen Keane wanted Ariel to look not just attractive, but relatable to young girls. He ended up basing her likeness on actress Alyssa Milano, who was a teenager at the time. And that’s not all: the movement of Ariel’s hair underwater was created using footage of astronaut Sally Ride in outer space. Are you an art buff? Then you might have noticed the next little Easter egg.
Only For The Cultured Eye
In one Beauty And The Beast scene, Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth and Lumière hold a meeting to discuss how to get Belle to fall in love with the Beast. They are in one of the castle’s hallways, filled with sculptures and paintings. One of the paintings is actually Girl With A Pearl Earring, by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. The following detail is hidden within a scene that spoofs a popular TV show.
One of the biggest plot points in Zootopia is the illegal operation to create the blue serum that turns predators wild. This is, of course, a riff on Breaking Bad. But the scene has another little hidden Easter egg: in Woolter’s lab there’s a board with photos pinned all over. One of the photos is a parody of the “Sad Keanu” meme. If you’re bad at geography, you probably didn’t catch this Easter egg.