Easter Eggs in Aladdin and The Lion King – Disney References Past Movies

Lion King: Timon
Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test!

Who knew classic, straight-laced, non-Pixar, Original Flavor Disney would start using Easter Eggs? It’s possible they’ve been doing this all along and I haven’t noticed, but usually there’s not a whiff of cross-pollination between, say, Princess properties. No nods to Snow White in Sleeping Beauty, for example, even though both feature winsome lasses in comas needing True Love’s Kiss. (Great plot resolution, folks. Sheesh.)

But then Pixar came around, relying on fresh humor often aimed squarely at adults. Pixar wasn’t afraid to mix up their universes with dozens of Easter Eggs for sharp-eyed fans to spot, especially on re-watches.

The Pixar Theory, and Beyond

In fact, there’s an entire Pixar Theory devoted to the notion that every Pixar film — with settings from the dawn of the dinosaurs, through to man’s diaspora through space — is one long, related story. Eagle-eyed viewers pour over every frame of Pixar films to spot connections between them. I’ve looked for, and found, Rex from Toy Story as a wood carving in Brave. This lends credence to the Boo (from Monsters, Inc) Theory. These things aren’t accidents.

The Carlin Brothers do a great job illustrating the Pixar Theory in their longish video (below). I think some of it’s too reachy, but the idea is fabulous and I’m willing to go all in.

It’s not just Pixar that does Easter Eggs now. Every genre franchise, including those of Star Wars, Marvel Studios, DC, Dreamworks, Sony, and “beyond” use Easter Eggs as a matter of principle.

Then…Disney bought Pixar (and Star Wars, and Marvel too).

Live Action Disney Does Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs are finally appearing in even the sacred Princess films, which were always the most straight-laced offerings in the Disney Vault. But since we’re seeing Eggs now in the live-action/CGI remakes, maybe this is where Disney decided to test the waters.

I’m going to mention a few Easter Eggs I spotted in Aladdin and The Lion King, the most recently remade Disney films, which both have Princesses.

(I’m counting Nala here. If Simba is a King, then Nala is a Queen.)

Lion King: Nala
Totally a Disney Princess.

Note: I’m not going to even try to mention Easter Eggs in Ralph Breaks the Internet, which doesn’t qualify as a remake of a Disney Classic, and is honestly one long series of amusing Easter Eggs. Feel free to mention those in the comments below, along with any other Eggs you’ve spotted elsewhere.

ralph breaks the internet and princess venelope
Uncountable Easter Eggs. Do you realize how long an article would have to be to list them all?

Easter Eggs in 2019’s Aladdin and Lion King Remakes

  • Aladdin: This one is a self-contained movie reference. The Disney studio logo opens, showing a sailing ship on their river, then pulls back to see the Disney Castle. Then the movie itself opens on a sailing ship. I need to see this again now to determine if it’s the same boat.
    will smith as genie in Aladdin and the live action disney remake
    You ain’t never had a friend like Genie, in either version.
  • When Genie is dressing Aladdin in the desert, the magic carpet plays in the sand in the background. Over a series of shots, we see Carpet making a sand castle. In the final shot of this, it’s clear the castle is a sand replica of the Disney Castle from the studio logo, and Carpet shoots a stream of sand over it that looks like the shooting star we see at the end of the logo sequence.

I didn’t even notice what Carpet was doing on my first watch. But it’s obvious now and very clever. (Logo sequence below is from 2011, but shows the castle and star.)

  • Aladdin: There’s a great nod to Shrek when he turns Abu into a donkey. Shrek is the tentpole of DreamWorks, a competitor, which is interesting. Genie utters a line like, “No, too obvious,” — pretty amusing, and only makes sense if it’s a subtle dig on Shrek.
  • Aladdin: My sister is an even bigger fan of Disney than I, and we went to see Aladdin together. She noticed Jafar had a lion sculpture on his desk that looked like Uncle Scar from The Lion King. I’d love to hear if anyone can confirm this.
    Lion King Scar
    Scar is actually his nickname. I looked it up. It’s a little cruel that Mufasa calls him that in public.
  • Aladdin: I can’t say for certain if this was intentional, but when Iago (just Parrot in the remake) becomes Giant Parrot, there’s a sequence suspiciously like one in Jurassic World
  • The Lion King: I only saw the remake once, but found one very obvious Easter Egg. It’s when Timon calls out to the hyenas to come and eat them (Timon and Pumbaa are acting as ‘bait’ for Simba and Nala) — it’s the beginning phrase of the big showstopping number Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast. I laughed out loud at that one. Timon even uses a mock French accent as he says dramatically, “Be…our…guest”: it looks like he’s about to burst into song, as the music swells. Then the chase begins. It’s a super fun moment.
    Lion King: Pumbaa
    Delicious pork bait.

    Only a few other people in the audience laughed, though, so they clearly missed it. If I’d seen The Lion King opening night, you BET the die-hard fans would have exploded into wild appreciation. (Disney superfans are fanatic. These are the people that dressed in ballgowns during the remade Beauty and the Beast on opening night.)

That’s All, Folks

Unfortunately, that’s all I have right now from The Lion King. I’ll be looking for Eggs if I catch it again at the theater. On first viewings, it’s hard to notice background events. Naturally. Easter Eggs delight and reward us during subsequent watches.

I’m glad Disney’s decided to join the new century finally and break down their 4th wall here and there. (Maybe acquiring Deadpool was a good influence!)

Movie Review – The Lion King (2019)

Surprise! The Lion King is a Hamlet Remake

Movie Review – Aladdin (2019) – A Live Action Remake, Good for the Target Audience

 

 

Movie Review – How to Train Your Dragon 3 – The Hidden World – No Spoilers (A newbie’s initial review)

 

Movie Review - How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden WorldThis stunning third Dragon movie needs to be seen if you like the series, or even if you’re new to the series but ‘grown-up’ enough to long for dragons to bind with and fly with in your own right. In other words, you don’t even need an excuse to drag a kid along to Dreamworks anymore!

It’s not just a Pixar/Disney phenomenon. Really. Grownups can eat children’s cereals and watch animated films without societal permission.

The filmation here is glorious and the sentiment is never sappy. These ARE Vikings, ya’ll.

I’ve only seen the 3rd film, but I have the entire series in front of me to enjoy. So please excuse my initial Peetimes – I’ll update them with the insight of background, as I breeze thru the series this month.

[pullquote position=”right”]I suggest you catch the limited showing today,  at midday Feb 2, at your local AMC, or check times/tickets on Fandango. [/pullquote]You won’t be able to see this until the Wide Release showing until Feb 22 if you miss today’s.

[pullquote]Tissues Alert: you might get misty eyes, but probably won’t outright sob in this feel-good film, bearing an important message.[/pullquote]

___

I loved it for now. Let’s table the real review until I am up to date on each part of the trilogy. Be good, dragonriders!

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes: This movie isn’t released in the USA until February 22nd, although there is a small early nationwide Saturday release on Feb 2. I did manage to get to an early screening the day before. There’s a perfect Peetime at 37 minutes in, and you should take that if you can. The 2nd Peetime occurs before the climax and is easy to summarize, but is such a pretty scene that I gave it an Emergency status rating.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for adventure action and some mild rude humor
Genres: Action, Adventure, Animation

Other great animated films by Dreamworks Studios:

Movie Review – How to Train Your Dragon (No Spoilers)

Movie Review – The Boss Baby – Adults Love This More Than Infants

Movie Review – The Croods – Enough Fun and Humor for Adults Too

Movie Review – Turbo – Faster & Funnier Than a Snail’s Pace

Movie Review – The Boss Baby – Adults Love This More Than Infants

Movie Review - The Boss BabyBoss Baby is hilarious. It is packed with adult humor that will keep the parents laughing, and the children will enjoy the younger humor used too.

I do feel that it’s more geared towards adults than children. They’ll still enjoy it, though. I took my four year-old granddaughter to see it. She has more energy in one fingernail than any power plant on the earth. Yet, she stayed still the whole time and watched it. I think I laughed more than she did, but she clapped at the end, so I know she was paying attention.

The voices are perfect; they fit the characters perfectly. I usually get bored during the animated films, but this one kept me interested the whole time. Great family movie!!

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I found two really good Peetimes for you to use. Either one will work well, and both will give you enough time.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Boss Baby. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for some mild rude humor
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Buy the movie from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu Ray

More great animated films from Dreamworks Studios: 

Movie Review – How to Train Your Dragon 3 – The Hidden World – No Spoilers (A newbie’s initial review)

Movie Review – How to Train Your Dragon (No Spoilers)

Movie Review – The Croods – Enough Fun and Humor for Adults Too

Movie Review – Turbo – Faster & Funnier Than a Snail’s Pace

Movie Review – Turbo – Faster & Funnier Than a Snail’s Pace

Movie Review - TurboTurbo was a charming little movie about dreams and perseverance.

There was lots of laughter from the children in the audience, and more than a few chuckles from the parents. The characters were cute and interesting.

Samuel Jackson, as the voice of Whiplash, and Paul Giamatti, as the brother Chet, were outstanding.

The plot was easy to follow, and there were a few tense moments near the end to keep the kiddies on the edge of their seats.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: The first Peetime is best. It’s one long, continuous scene that is very easy to sum up.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Turbo. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for some mild action and thematic elements
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Buy the movie from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu Ray

Movie Review – The Croods – Enough Fun and Humor for Adults Too

TheCroodsThis is a smart, funny, and colorful movie about a clan of cave people who must travel to unknown territory after their cave was destroyed by plate tectonics. They meet up with a more evolved person — his forehead isn’t sloped — who introduces them to the prehistoric version of shoes, cell phones, sun glasses, and a walker for Grandma.

In a way the story is a lesson in history, geology, evolution and, most importantly, relationships.

Grug, the father, is having a difficult time relating to his teenage daughter, Eep. It’s not so very different from today’s struggles between fathers and daughters.  There were laugh out loud moments, and also tender touching moments, topped off with some great action scenes.

This was Nickolas Cage’s finest performance since National Treasure. Emma Stone’s husky yet feminine voice was perfect for the daughter Eep.

This is not a movie for just the kiddies — it will also appeal to the adult audience.

I didn’t see the 3D version of the movie, because I was getting Peetimes — it’s hard to write with those glasses on — but I would highly recommend seeing the 3D. I know that I’m going to go back and re-watch it again, this time in 3D, just to enjoy the beauty.

Movie Grade: A-

More reviews of Animated Dreamworks Films, on RunPee:

Movie Review – How to Train Your Dragon 3 – The Hidden World – No Spoilers (A newbie’s initial review)

Movie Review – How to Train Your Dragon (No Spoilers)

Movie Review – The Boss Baby – Adults Love This More Than Infants

Movie Review – Rise of the Guardians – A Great Holiday Film About Jack Frost

Movie Review – Rise of the Guardians – A Great Holiday Film About Jack Frost

Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the GuardiansA visually stunning movie that is destined to become a holiday classic, along with Rudolph and The Grinch. The overarching theme of The Rise of The Guardians revolves around Jack Frost finding his identity, and how important beliefs are in shaping reality.

The importance of “finding your center” is explored by multiple characters. It’s a message that young children may not grasp, but may resonate with some pre-adolescent kids. The movie and its concepts could be used as a stepping stone to a thought provoking discussion with your children afterwards…much the same way that watching Rudolph can lead to a discussion about how everyone feels like a misfit sometimes.[pullquote] And yet that trait that makes us feel like a misfit may later become a source of strength.[/pullquote]

While Guardians might have its greatest appeal for pre-adolescent children, it’s really a movie for all ages. Its silly humor will appeal to younger children, and of course it has humor aimed specifically at adults, as all good animated movies should have.

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The Grinch Who Keeps Stealing Christmas

Movie Rewatch Review — Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

In Defense of the Grinch (1966)

Virgin Movie Review – Jim Carrey’s The Grinch (2000)

Movie Review – The Grinch (2018)

 

Movie Review – How to Train Your Dragon (No Spoilers)

How to Train Your Dragon was a good solid kids movie the whole family can enjoy. There were a handful of fun action scenes that appeal to kids. I was surprised it had a PG rating instead of a G. The fighting scenes are very cartoonish: nothing more violent than a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

The movie had a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, but that was it. It wasn’t hilarious by any means.

The story is very easy to follow. Nothing complex to get lost in.

As far as the Peetimes go, I think they are all pretty equal. Each one is fairly easy to sum up. But none of them are as missable as I would really like.

The voice acting was top-notch. Gerard Butler as Hiccup’s dad was perfect. There wasn’t a weak spot in the cast.

[ Spoiler ]

One thing that bothered me a little after the movie: it wasn’t obvious if Toothless knew Hiccup shot him down in the first place. I would have liked to have seen that added in, that after they bond, Toothless discovers the truth and then forgives Hiccup. I think that would be a good message to kids about forgiveness.

What did you think about How to Train Your Dragon? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie Review – How to Train Your Dragon 3 – The Hidden World – No Spoilers (A newbie’s initial review)

Movie Review – The Boss Baby – Adults Love This More Than Infants

Movie Review – The Croods – Enough Fun and Humor for Adults Too

Movie Review – Rise of the Guardians – A Great Holiday Film About Jack Frost

Movie Review – Turbo – Faster & Funnier Than a Snail’s Pace