6 Horrifying Implications of Awesome Fantasy Movie Universes
We humans devote a huge amount of our brain power to thinking of all the ways the world could suck less. Almost all of our entertainment is based on letting us escape to some other world where people can do magic and even the hardships look like fun.
What is interesting, though, is how terrible our fictional fantasy worlds really are. They look like fun for two hours at a time, but with a little thought you see why living there would make you want to drink yourself into a stupor.
(It'd be awesome to live in the Star Wars universe though, because then you could hang with Cracked and have Adventures in Jedi School.)
The Disney Universe
Disney movies show us an animated world full of dashing heroes, beautiful princesses and loveable sidekicks. Everyone prances about so joyfully and carefree they must spontaneously burst into song and dance every once in a while just to let off steam.
If you're a good person, a happy ending complete with riches and true love is pretty much guaranteed. Death is apparently uncommon, at least on screen. Evil doers will get their comeuppance and everything always works out in the end.
"And then I fucking DIE? I should have read this script earlier."
Why It Would Suck
In the Disney universe animals talk, which at first all looks like good fun. When you're feeling lonely or rejected by your fellow humans, you can always find an animal sidekick to provide conversation, keep you company or at least entertain you with their bumbling/farting antics. Crickets give you goal-setting advice and adorable fish become your best friends. And even animals that apparently can't talk can still help out with household tasks, like the birds that help make a dress in Cinderella.
Which makes it all the harder when it comes time to eat them.
Yes, with every animal around you potentially being a fully conscious, thinking being, any animal product or service used by humans would involve murder, harassment or in the very least slave labor.
Want to enjoy some seafood? Then you'd better be OK with listening to Sebastian, the crab from The Little Mermaid, crying in his pidgin English all the way down your throat. Merely milking a cow becomes sexual harassment.
Becoming a non-leather-wearing vegan doesn't help either, because in this universe, inanimate objects can also be enchanted humans in disguise. Want to throw a cup at your prince after he comes home from another long night of "saving princesses," the stink of "magic potion" wafting from his crotch? Now you've shattered Ms. Teapot's son, you killer. Oh well, maybe he'll make you feel better by building a romantic fire with that old tree he just cut...
Everything you use to live, work, create a comfortable life and sustain yourself likely talks, wisecracks, parcels out sage wisdom and most certainly will scream their asses off when you take a hatchet to them. That mosquito you just swatted had hopes and dreams. The flower you just picked for your princess just found out it was accepted to Princeton, you dick!
The Marvel Universe
We're not going to try to pretend that being a superhero isn't awesome. The sheer joy you feel the first time you punch a bad guy and make him fly through a brick wall would render any such arguments ridiculous.
And life is never dull in the Marvel Universe, because there's always a supervillain around the corner ready to indulge in an impressive battle with you, which after varying amounts of struggle, you'll win every single time. So yeah, life would be pretty sweet.
If you were a superhero.
Above: Spider-Man and some normal chumps.
Why It Would Suck
The Marvel canon lists approximately 5,000 characters in its entirety. Even ignoring significant others, aliens and advisors and assuming that every single one of those is an Earthling with superpowers, this means that for every successful superhero, there are 1,400,000 regular people. So in Marvel world, the odds of winding up with super powers are less than half the chance of being hit by lightning (although to be fair, being hit by lightning in the Marvel universe would probably give you superpowers).
So that means you're almost certainly not the Hulk, but rather one of the screaming panicked bystanders running around the streets while he's flinging cars around. For those people--that is, virtually everyone--everyday life is a living hell.
Pray your insurance covers this.
Think about how long the trauma lasts in a city like New York after a terrorist attack. Then consider that in the Spider-Man movies alone, a superpowered terrorist attacks the city once every couple of years.
Throw in the Fantastic Four franchise and you've got shit exploding in the Big Apple every year or so. They wouldn't even have time to put a memorial together before the next one struck. The poor bastards living in the city are basically going to work every day in a warzone, where at any minute their office could be exploded by a costumed asshole who can do magic.
But would an asshole wear this?
But let's say you somehow beat the odds, avoided being one of those de-powered mutants or normal humans, and are a superhero. Lucky you! You can use your powers to scale buildings at will and blow up shit with your eyes. Oh, but there is a high chance of your loved ones dying and/or morphing into nemeses which you then have to ironically fight.
Well, at least there's an end to it all. You can retire, or die bravely in combat while saving the planet. Oh, wait, no. No matter how painful and final your death, no matter if you were an adult in the 1930s and everyone and everything you know and love has passed from this Earth, somewhere, eventually, you will be brought back to life and forced to continue your eternal, unending struggle to provide enticing drama in serial form.
People want to live in Middle Earth--or one of the countless knockoff fantasy worlds it has spawned--so badly that they dress up, gather in the park and spend the day pretending it's true.
We can see why. All of these Tolkien-inspired worlds present us with a beautiful alternative to the complicated, hectic modern life of today. No traffic jams, computer crashes or student loan repayments. The bad guys are clearly and unrepentantly bad and easy to spot, politics are reduced to clear good versus evil. Plus, there are goddamn Wizards.
And they don't all sit around making tiny unicorns.
Why It Would Suck
Just look at the little hobbits, living in harmony! And here are the elves, in a completely separate, roped-off area, also living in harmony! And here are the people of Gondor, living in harmony in their homogenous enclave! And the dwarves, happily mining for minerals with other dwarves! And only other dwarves.
For there is no race-mixing in Middle Earth. There are no humans or elves living in the Shire, and if a hobbit is going to live in Rivendell, he'd better be a big goddamned deal. Ask yourself: If everyone has wound up perfectly segregated, how did it get that way? What happened to people who tried to intermarry with other peoples of Middle Earth? Whatever it was, it discouraged everyone else from daring to try it.
The orcs never stood a chance.
So maybe you want to do something to fix this, like electing a new government that makes it illegal for shops in Rohan to refuse to hire orcs. Well, too bad: power in Middle Earth is hereditary. You have a king, a lor, or maybe, if you're lucky, a thain. Were you pissed off when George W. Bush was in office? Well, imagine his line continuing in power, forever... and you can't move away because you (presumably) get your ass kicked if you try to buy land among another race.
Sure, we see a human get to bang an elf at the end of the saga, but he had to save the freaking world to earn the right.
Speaking of elves fucking, let's talk about that for a moment. Although most of the elves are hundreds or even thousands of years old, there are hardly any children around, and their population has remained relatively small and stable. Since it's unlikely that the staunch-Catholic Tolkien would have allowed birth control inside his creation, it is obvious that no one in the Elfish kingdom is getting any, anywhere.
We wonder why.
Of course all of this avoids the obvious, which is the fact that if you get a toothache in Middle Earth, you've got a date with a dude with a hammer and a rusty pair of pliers. Did you notice how the flashback in Lord of the Rings from thousands of years earlier showed there has been zero advancement in weapons, clothes or anything else since? That's because technology of all sorts was generally considered evil in Tolkien's imaginings, and pretty much anyone who tried to mass produce anything in Middle Earth soon became both immoral and insane.
No wonder everybody is baked on pipe weed every waking moment. It's the only escape from the soul-crushing depression.
The Star Trek Galaxy
In the idyllic future that is Star Trek, warp speed allows mankind to travel in comfortable starships to the furthest regions of the galaxy. Rather than barren rocks and lifeless stars surrounded by light-years of nothingness, this universe is inhabited with fascinating metaphors for humanity, wise philosophers and whole races of humanoid female aliens who want to learn want love is.
On top of this, in the human society of Star Trek, abundance and satisfaction are so widespread that money is actually obsolete. People work simply for the joy of it. And the jobs are great, particularly in Starfleet: intrepid space adventurer, hardcore science officer, seducer of many babes.
Why It Would Suck
Starfleet, which apparently holds a monopoly on cool space exploration in Star Trek, is run pretty much exactly like a military organization. And in the average military, the ratio of officers to enlisted averages around five to one. On Star Trek, we usually just see the officers' decks, quarters and day-to-day life. What we don't see is that the majority of people on starships--the enlisted--clearly work in places like engineering, in unsafe conditions around unstable bulkheads and vats of flesh-eating gas.
Petty Officer Ricky, RIP.
Well, we do see them sometimes, when something explodes and they are graphically ejected into space to die in slow agony, their bodies destined to float through the void for all time with shrieks of pain still frozen on their faces. But more often we hear about their deaths in passing, while the camera zooms in on Captain Kirk or Picard's face so we can see his guilt over the death of so many of his men. That's your life, majority of people in Starfleet. A passing bad mood before Kirk cheers himself up by bedding a green-skinned woman on his sparkly bed made of gold.
But at least these poor dudes can relax after work in the flesh-eating gas room with a stiff drink, right? Wrong. In Star Trek, you drink synthehol, a drink with all the pleasant-tastingness of whiskey but without its "undesirable elements" like well, drunkenness.
So in this galaxy, you can't even get drunk and fantasize about the sparkly officer's sheets that without a currency, you can't even save up to buy.
The inhabitants of James Cameron's fantasy moon live at one with nature in an unspoiled world full of beautiful glowing plants and ubiquitous high-speed Internet connections. The kind, attractive locals, the Na'vi, spend their days hunting fantastical creatures from the air and worshipping their gentle mother goddess.
As if that's not enough, when times are tough they allow outsiders to ease their Western guilt by fighting with them against their greedy corporate oppressors. In our disconnected, technologically advanced world, it's only natural that many would want to join the Na'vi and live in a place where you can fight dinosaurs and communicate via fiber optic cable in one day.
Pretty rad, yes?
Why It Would Suck
You wake up in a daze one glorious Pandora morning among the helicoradian plants, after a long night featuring way too many unobtainium cookies and fermented rainforest dew. As you cough and squint your eyes against the fading bioluminescence, the Na'vi woman next to you whose name you can't remember turns happily and says: "Now we are mated for life."
"Should have let that panther thing kill me."
If you thought that annulling a Vegas marriage was complicated, try getting out of a relationship after Na'vi sex. Sleep with a person once and find out that you're not sexually compatible? Your life partner loses interest in you, and starts synching up with the neural whips of every life form in town? Too bad. You're stuck with her forever, because there's no divorce in paradise.
Oh well, at least you can get some private time all alone in your bunk, right? Wrong. The Na'vi sleep in close proximity to each other in their giant tree, in improbably dangerous hammocks.
That's right, communal barracks. Even if you're lucky and nobody near you snores, you still have to contend with continuing the Na'vi species while your grandmother lies in bed three hammocks away, wide awake in silent, repulsed horror.
The Star Wars Galaxy
Space princesses, precarious ledge battles, faster-than-light travel across the galaxy. Who wouldn't want to live in a world where you can pick right up and travel into space without even having to take your shoes off or walk through one of those nude scanners?
And then there's the infinite number of worlds to explore (each with perfectly breathable atmosphere) and alien races to impress with your cool midichlorian powers. What better place is there to spend your life?
Why It Would Suck
The medical care.
At first glance, the medical technology in Star Wars looks far more advanced than ours. After Luke's hand is lopped off by Darth Vader, he is easily provided with another robotic one which is virtually indistinguishable from a real hand. Even a generation before that, Anakin Skywalker is given a not-quite-as-natural-looking but still functional robot arm.
But once you look more closely, this apparently superior medical science falls apart like a battle droid who has been kicked in the chest by a four-year-old girl. Let's take Anakin Skywalker. Horribly burned, in the care of the best droids the Galactic Republic has to offer. We see the future Darth Vader is operated on without any form of anesthetic, in a galaxy where nobody's invented skin grafts or even simple bandages.
But, you say, "How often do people need that kind of surgery? I'll just stay away from lava pits, and I'll be fine." Well, the Star Wars galaxy also shows us a far more common medical experience: childbirth.
Padme Amidala, a rich ex-Queen who presumably has health insurance, gives birth to twins unsedated and with her legs held together in some sort of narrow metal skirt, apparently because the delivery droid is highly religious and didn't want to see any naked woman parts.
And then there's the glimpse of what can only be described as a "birth paddle":
That sound you hear is a million women crossing their legs in terror, and then being suddenly silenced.
You might argue that this birth experience wasn't typical. They were on an asteroid, after all. Maybe Padme wasn't sedated because she wanted a natural childbirth, which somehow includes robots. But if this was the case, why, when Anakin had a premonition about his wife dying in childbirth, did he try to make a deal with a Sith Lord rather than just admitting her to a good clinic?
The only obvious answer is that he knew that medical care was universally shitty, and that the droids in the medical industry hate humanity and will routinely let patients die with bullshit excuses about them "losing the will to live." Say what you want about our health care system, but you try that shit and you're about to get handed one hell of a malpractice lawsuit.
For the trailer to Cracked's visionary new Star Wars mini-series, click here.
Read more from C. Coville at http://bloodslides.livejournal.com.
Do you have something funny to say about a random topic? You could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow. Go here and find out how to create a Topic Page.
Make sure you swing on over to our special Craption Contest to achieve Internet (and possibly Hollywood) glory.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 4.01.2010) to see why living in Arkansas is also very terrible.