6 Disturbing Unanswered Questions from Children's Movies
It's hard to find a children's movie made in the last couple of decades that doesn't have a happy ending, usually to the tune of a pop song. It's part of the formula, along with talking animals, celebrity voices and pop culture references no 10-year-old could possibly understand. Now it's all jokes and dancing. What happened to all the sadness and horror that used to traumatize children in the '80s? Where did we go wrong?
Fortunately, the traumatizing moments are still there, just better hidden. While the protagonists are learning important lessons and living happily ever after, some overlooked characters end up suffering fates that are often worse than death. Listen up, kids, because in ...
Monsters, Inc. -- Did the Little Girl's Parents Think She Was Kidnapped?
Pixar's Monsters, Inc. is about a place powered entirely by the screams of little children, much like Disney World itself. The monsters living in this Monstropolis are currently in the middle of a scream shortage, so the corrupt CEO of the one company that runs everything secretly plans to kidnap kids from the human world and strap them to a machine in order to harvest their fear more efficiently.
"Let's just kill her parents in front of her. She'll be screwed up for years."
The first lucky kid to get this honor is Boo, a little girl who slips into the monsters' world during an implied kidnapping attempt and befriends a giant blue beast named Sully and a one-eyed atrocity called Mike. After about a day of shenanigans, Mike and Sully uncover the conspiracy and finally manage to get Boo back into her own bed, and she resumes her life as if nothing happened. Everyone lives happily ever after!
They Forgot to Mention ...
Wait a minute, Boo was gone from her home for "about a day"? Unless she had extremely absentminded parents, that means her greatest adventure was also her family's worst nightmare.
We saw Boo spend a whole night at Mike and Sully's, and by the time they returned her home it was night again, so she was in Monstropolis for at least 24 hours. Exactly what kind of hell were her parents going through at the same time? There was probably a Caylee Anthony style media frenzy going on in the real world while she was off having fun with her new friends.
There's a thin line between "adventure" and "Amber Alert."
We know what you're thinking: What if time flows differently in Monstropolis, like it does in Narnia? Well, first of all, you are a huge nerd for knowing that about Narnia, and secondly, no, it doesn't, because at one point Mike and Sully are exiled to the real world, where they meet the Abominable Snowman, as voiced by Cliff from Cheers.
If you just assume a Pixar character is voiced by John Ratzenberger, there's a 20 percent chance you'll be correct.
If time flowed more slowly in Monstropolis (slow enough that an entire day there was just a few hours for Boo's parents), by the time Sully trekked to the nearest town, sneaked into a house and used the closest to go back to Monstropolis, Boo would have been strapped to the machine for a long time and unable to do anything but scream.
"Here's your kid back. We ... 'cured' her hyperactivity problem."
If there's any consolation for Boo's anguished parents, it's that she isn't old enough to talk and can't tell them she spent her missing day with a big hairy man who made her dress up in weird costumes.
The Incredibles -- Why Didn't the Government Tell the Family They Were in Mortal Danger?
The Incredibles is set in a world where superheroes have been forced to retire by the government, until they are brought back into action by a vast conspiracy that's killing them off -- it's essentially Watchmen, except with less gratuitous nudity.
In the movie, the government keeps tabs on all superheroes through the National Supers Agency, forcing them to stay in their lame secret identities. Former superhero Mr. Incredible, currently an insurance salesman, gets the chance to relive his glory days when someone recruits him to take out a rogue robot on a tropical island. However, the whole thing turns out to be a plot by the villain Syndrome. In fact, we learn that Syndrome has successfully killed several other superheroes that he lured to the island under similar pretenses:
The movie then shows a 45-minute scene of their slow disembowelment while they scream for their lives.
Mr. Incredible is eventually rescued by his superpowered family, and then Syndrome's cape gets caught in an airplane turbine and his body is torn to pieces in another perfectly happy Pixar ending.
They Forgot to Mention ...
Hold on, if the National Supers Agency is so good at keeping track of superheroes ... how come nobody noticed they were being killed off? Dozens of them. Wasn't this, like, their one job?
"Well, if we report them dead, we don't get paid to watch them, do we?"
When Mr. Incredible sneaks into Syndrome's hideout, we learn that the first six versions of his robot had killed 15 superheroes, leaving their corpses scattered across the island. And by the end of the movie, Syndrome is up to his 10th robot, each version more efficient at superhero-killing than the one before. The total body count may be somewhere around 30, which, holy shit, is more dead superheroes than in Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns combined.
So apparently, the government either failed to notice that the people they were keeping tabs on were suddenly disappearing (which is unlikely) or didn't give a shit. When Mr. Incredible's identity is compromised for the umpteenth time, his government liaison Rick Dicker doesn't even think to mention the fact that Mr. Incredible and his family may be in immediate mortal danger. Instead, he complains about how much money it would cost to relocate his family again and tells him, "You're on your own from now on."
And he was even at their wedding!
Assuming that every registered superhero had their own liaison like Rick Dicker, what were the other ones doing this whole time? Besides enjoying a lighter workload, that is.
The Iron Giant -- What Happens When the Rest of the World-Destroying Giants Show Up?
The Iron Giant follows the friendship between a 10-year-old boy and giant amnesiac robot from outer space who is currently being hunted by government agencies, since they view him as some kind of secret doomsday weapon. As it turns out, he actually is a secret doomsday weapon -- as soon as he gets his memory back, the lovable 50-foot-tall steel monster turns into a terrifying 50-foot-tall steel monster.
In a subsequent shot, speakers emerge from his back, blaring NWA's "Fuck tha Police."
Eventually, the boy convinces the robot that full on murder mode isn't the best way to make friends, and the robot ends up sacrificing himself to save an entire town in a heroic, tear-jerking final scene. However, in the epilogue, we see the scattered pieces reassembling and repairing themselves out in the wilderness, promising us that the robot will eventually come back to life.
They Forgot to Mention ...
If that ending made you feel good, you got it all wrong. And here's why.
We've previously pointed out that if there was a sequel to The Iron Giant it would have to deal with the fact that someone had to send this robotic weapon thing to Earth (a small detail the movie never acknowledges), and they probably aren't gonna give up after one failed attempt. What we didn't mention is that there couldn't be a third movie after that, because by end of the second one the whole world would look like this:
That's a burning city in the background, with an army of iron giants marching in the foreground.
That's from a deleted scene in The Iron Giant, which shows the robot's memory of what he and other robots did to another planet. Not only do we get a confirmation that there's an army of these things out there, but also that they don't just conquer planets and enslave their inhabitants -- they actually punch them until they explode.
And there must be a shitload more of them, because they were pretty willing to sacrifice the ones on the surface.
Also, as the final scene points out, they can survive nuclear blasts. The only one who could fight them is the Iron Giant himself ... but who says he's still friendly after rebuilding himself? For all we know, when those eyes lit up at the very end of the movie, the one thought in his head was "DEATH TO HUMANS."
"I long for the abbreviated screams of children."
If a bump to the head was enough to erase his memory at the beginning, we'd say a nuclear blast can do the trick as well. Sure, the boy could probably convince him to be friendly again, but he's in freaking Iceland when we last see him -- by the time his path of destruction reaches the boy's town, half the country would be in flames.
Madagascar -- What Happened to the Ship's Crew?
In Madagascar, a group of talking animals living comfortable lives in the Central Park Zoo are sent to a nature preserve in Kenya under pressure from animal rights activists, which results in them becoming stranded in the wilderness along with dangerous predators and, even worse, annoying dancing lemurs.
On the boat ride to Kenya, the crew of the ship carrying the animals is overrun by a group of sociopathic penguins, who take over the vessel and set sail toward Antarctica. Amid the confusion, the main characters are washed overboard and drift to Madagascar, where they learn important lessons about friendship and being true to their own nature, etc.
Never store your penguins on the same boat as your weapons cache.
But what we want to focus on is the penguins hijacking the boat. Now, the boat was not piloted by animals (that would have been unrealistic), so taking over meant subduing the humans. The next time we see the penguins (after returning from Antarctica), the humans are nowhere to be found. A penguin quips that the people are "on a slow boat to China."
They Forgot to Mention ...
Pretty much everyone in this movie got a spinoff of some sort, except the ship's crew ... most likely because they're all dead.
"Day 27: Ate the last body four days ago. Have no more urine to drink. There's a rope at the top of the sail ..."
Seriously, the humans were with the penguins when they got to Antarctica, so obviously they set them adrift somewhere between there and Madagascar. Just plopped 'em on a raft and pushed them in China's general direction. In case you're having trouble grasping the distances involved, here's a visual aid to help you:
The blue stuff is what we evolved as a species to escape.
See that small strip of land next to Africa? That's Madagascar. We'll let you find Antarctica and China on your own. Even if the penguins cut the humans loose just off the coast of Madagascar, they're still an entire freakin' ocean away from Asia -- they would have been better off if they'd just dumped them on Antarctica like they apparently did with the other crated animals.
Wait, other crated animals? Yep, this is a huge cargo ship we're talking about -- there had to be at least a couple dozen people working there.
"Eh, screw it. It was mostly just snakes and stuff nobody wants to pet."
On the upside, the stronger ones will have plenty to eat once the others start starving to death as they drift across thousands of miles of open water. The only way they could have survived is if the penguins had let them radio for help before kicking them out, but based on what we know about them, it doesn't seem likely.
Aladdin -- Did the Genie Create an Entire Country for Aladdin to Rule?
This classic Disney flick tells the age-old tale about the boy who wants the hot girl beyond his social stature and finally gets her through perseverance and deception. Also, Robin Williams with reality-warping powers.
When he frees the Genie from his tiny lamp prison, Aladdin gets his share of three magical wishes that can give him anything he wants. Knowing that the princess could never marry him if he was poor because of the law (also because ewww), he makes the Genie turn him into a prince. Princess Jasmine resists him at first, but is eventually charmed by his singing voice and impressive on-the-spot lyric creation.
But it's mostly just Robin Williams with reality-warping powers.
They Forgot to Mention ...
The exact wording of Aladdin's wish to the Genie is "I wish for you to make me a prince" -- not to make him look like a prince, or to make him pass for a prince. He wants to become a full-fledged prince, and that's exactly what the Genie does ... with some disturbing implications.
"Seriously, your next wish will end with me whipping my out dick and showing it to people."
For the wish to come true, the Genie must have made an entire nation spring out of nowhere. Aladdin has to be the prince of something, otherwise he's just a guy in a pimp costume and should ask for his money back. When Jafar asks him where his kingdom is, Aladdin doesn't seem to know, but that doesn't mean the Genie didn't create one. The wish wasn't really fulfilled if there wasn't really a kingdom somewhere.
Further evidence that "Prince Ali" actually does have subjects is this little number:
Aladdin marches into town with a small army of servants, including guards, cooks, dancers, trumpeters -- hell, he's just one float full of colorful cocks short of a pride parade.
No, wait, there they are.
Where did all those people come from? They could be lifeless constructs created by the Genie to give the appearance that Aladdin is a prince, but again, that would be cheating, because that's not what Aladdin asked for. The way we see it, there are only two options here: Either the Genie ripped innocent people off the street and brainwashed them into thinking they'd always been inhabitants of a fictional nation, or he created life out of thin air for the purposes of a musical number. We're not sure which one's more horrifying.
Wait, that means all those things are golems? Monkey golems?
Rio -- How Is One Pair Supposed to Repopulate an Entire Species?
Rio tells the story of Blu, a socially awkward blue macaw so sheltered that he doesn't even know how to fly. One day Blu's owner is approached by a bird expert from Rio de Janeiro, and the film's main dramatic quest is posed: getting Blu laid. Seriously, the whole film revolves around Blu's ability to get some feathery poontang from a fellow blue macaw named Jewel.
And she's all like, "Who will save your soul ... if you won't save your own?"
As it turns out, Blu is the last male member of his species, and this is an attempt to prevent the blue macaws from going extinct. Blu being the last dude on Earth, however, isn't a compelling enough reason for his date, because he's Jesse Eisenberg and she's Anne Hathaway. Eventually Blu mans up and learns to fly, saving the day from vicious bird smugglers and impressing Jewel into spreading her legs for him ... or, you know, however that works.
Later, we see that their mating was successful, meaning that their species is saved ... right?
No bird sex is actually depicted, so you can take this off your Netflix queue.
They Forgot to Mention ...
Nope, they're all doomed anyway. The plot of Rio is actually pretty similar to the real-life story of a blue (or (Spix's) macaw named Presley, who was discovered in Colorado in 2002 and was also taken to Brazil to help save his species with his dong. The end of the story, however, isn't as happy as the DreamWorks version.
For one thing, there was little choreography involved.
Remember how we mentioned that Blu was the last male blue macaw? Yeah, nature simply does not like that. Even if there's more than one female, every new macaw from then on will still be a descendant of the same guy, which will be devastating for their genes. Inbreeding causes serious health problems in the population and has caused species to go extinct in the past -- some types of felines, for example, essentially bred themselves into dead ends. In other words, all that boning was for nothing.
In reality, there are somewhere around 80 blue macaws in the world, and even that appears to be way too few to save them. Most are related to each other, leading to all the problems mentioned above -- so when Presley was discovered in 2002 and found to be genetically diverse, scientists were hopeful that he could help mix up those genes a little. However, Presley's first batch of eggs turned out to be infertile, so his partner was taken away from him and no further attempts to mate him were made.
Scientists make the worst wingmen.
If the scientist in Rio had mentioned that by "saving the species" he meant "producing a few more generations of sick, genetically doomed birds," Blu's owner probably wouldn't have bothered. Sadly, this also means "Let's repopulate the species" is no longer a valid come-on in apocalyptic situation (sorry, everyone).
For more reasons children's movies should come with R ratings, check out 6 Classic Kids Shows Secretly Set in Nightmarish Universes and 9 Traumatizing Moments from Classic Kids Movies.
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