#3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Quidditch World Cup Paraphernalia
No one would argue that the Harry Potter universe is as detailed as The Lord of the Rings (it helps that no author beats Tolkien for sheer obsessive attention to inconsequential details). But the makers of the Potter films didn't exactly knock the series out in an afternoon, either.
Take the massive Quidditch World Cup sequence in the fourth movie.
They actually got all those people to pretend Quidditch was interesting.
A ludicrous amount of detail went into the stadium merchandise that you almost certainly didn't know was even there. For instance, the crew created hundreds of Quidditch World Cup programs to be carried by the people in the crowd. And we're talking about full guides to the sport -- including specific stats and profiles of the competing teams:
HP Univers Galeries
They even wrote up fake tabloid articles about Viktor Krum's dogfighting ring.
Various sponsors of the World Cup:
And even advertisements for products from within the Harry Potter universe:
HP Univers Galeries
Shame on them for promoting the specter of pumpkin juice abuse in youngsters.
If you're wondering why you never noticed the programs, it's because only a single one ever appears onscreen, in the background of exactly one shot:
Totally worth it!
#2. The Shining: Jack's Entire Crazy Manuscript
As we've discussed before, Stanley Kubrick wasn't exactly known for his restraint when it came to nailing down the fine details -- even those that wouldn't show up on film. Well, here's a gloriously ironic example of Kubrick's madness.
Because there aren't very many of those.
You know the scene where Shelley Duvall goes through the novel Jack Nicholson is writing, only to discover that it's just the phrase "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" repeated over and over again, thousands of times? You know how that was supposed to foreshadow his axe-crazy rampage, since no sane person would ever do something like that?
"Boy, that really doesn't look like a photocopy ..."
The Shining's editor (in the link above) and Kubrick's daughter Vivian claim that the director made his own secretary spend "literally months typing up individually unique pages," basically forcing her to go down the same path of madness as Nicholson's character. We can only assume that the only reason he didn't make Jack Nicholson do it is because he's Jack fucking Nicholson, the only person in Hollywood who could outclass Kubrick in troll-bludgeoning lunacy.
For example, Nicholson did not know the camera was rolling during this scene.
Then there are the foreign versions of The Shining -- remember that most movies make a big chunk of their profit overseas. They probably just used subtitles, right? That is, Kubrick didn't have special pages typed up for each foreign-language version, right?
Of course he did.
#1. Finding Nemo: The Entire Pixar Staff Was Required to Learn Fish Biology
Pixar is not exactly known for their laziness. Given the immense amount of time it takes to animate an entirely CGI film (typically several years), they have plenty of opportunities to perfect their scripts and pour endless amounts of detail into every frame. What you might not realize is that when they set out to make a movie about talking fish, they dedicated themselves to making the movement of the fish as realistic as possible -- going so far as to hire a functional morphologist to teach the entire staff a graduate-level class in ichthyology.
Also, everything the stingray sings is factually accurate.
Unlike other movies, where "underwater" is treated like "space" and characters just go wherever they want to, every movement of every fish in Finding Nemo makes physical sense and is accompanied by the correct fin propulsion, even down to whether those fins are "flappers" or "rowers" (referring to how they tread water). It is as if Pixar were daring people to count all the ass they had busted in animating the movie.
You also might remember the jellyfish scene:
You know, the one with all the jellyfish.
You may have said, "Damn, those are some realistic jellyfish," if you are the kind of person who was theretofore frustrated by the depiction of jellyfish in film. That's because Pixar actually wrote an entirely new system, called transblurrency, to depict the way light refracts through a jellyfish's membrane, as well as figuring out exactly how to show things fading into view underwater -- because no one had ever done that with computers before:
Let's see you advance the frontier of human knowledge, DreamWorks.
Of course, this is all wasted effort, since clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites. So in the real world, after his wife was eaten by a barracuda, Nemo's dad would've just turned into a female and had sex with another clownfish, abandoning Nemo's half-crushed gimp egg to be eaten by a crab. Do your homework next time, Pixar.
For more things you may have not have noticed, check out 7 Insane Easter Eggs Hidden in Movies and TV Shows. Or learn about 7 Classic Movies You Didn't Know Were Rip-Offs.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out A Word About the Parasite Controlling Your Brain.
And stop by LinkSTORM to see how much detail went into Robert Brockway's cod piece.
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