It was a surprise when ‘The Lion King’ director Jon Favreau revealed last week that he has used a real image, not digital animation, for just one scene in the film. This is the first shot of the film when the iconic song “The Circle of Life” starts playing. A hidden pleasure so, and it is not the first time that Disney comes up with ‘secret’ hints or messages.
“This is the only real shot in TheLionKing. There are 1490 rendered shots created by animators and CG artists. I slipped in one single shot that we actually photographed in Africa to see if anyone would notice. It is the first shot of the movie that begins The Circle of Life” – so Jon Favreau announced via Twitter that there is a so-called Easter Egg in ‘The Lion King’ hidden. Easter Eggs are usually inside jokes, a subtle way to get rid of something or to refer to earlier or different work. Just like with ‘real’ Easter eggs, you have to look specifically for it to enjoy it.
For years, Disney has been the king of the Easter Eggs. They have made it a habit to give some kind of a wink in just about every movie. One of the most famous is code A113, a reference to the classroom of the California Institute of Arts where many renowned Disney employees have attended classes. The song in question comes into the picture in a whole host of films.
It started with Toy Story, where the song was shown as a license plate. In ‘Finding Nemo’ A113 was the model number of a camera, in ‘Cars’ the number of a train, in ‘Monsters University’ the number of a classroom. But did you also hear about the following Easter Eggs?
A lot of guests were present at the wedding of Princess Elsa from ‘Frozen’. Including some familiar faces: none other than Rapunzel and Flynn from ‘Tangled’ could be seen in the shot.
Huh? The service on the cart in ‘Tarzan’ is very well known. In a musical scene we also see Mrs. Potts (Mrs. Tuit) and Chip (Barstje) from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ appear.
The world-famous clownfish Nemo from ‘Finding Nemo’ was briefly shown in ‘Monsters Inc.’ There he served as a toy. Remarkable detail: ‘Finding Nemo’ only came two years after the publication of ‘Monsters Inc.’ from.
In ‘Toy Story’ Mr. Potato Head a book during a certain scene. Not just a book, but ‘A Bug’s Life’, obviously not a different story from the Disney stable.
In ‘Brave’ the viewer visits the witch, who is very busy with carving. However, the witch does not opt for random figures, but makes a wood carving that looks exactly like Sully from ‘Monsters Inc.’ Not much later we get to see another piece of art: the infamous Pizza Planet truck from ‘Toy Story’.
It must be one of the most obvious Easter Eggs: in ‘Hercules’ we suddenly see Scar from ‘The Lion King’ appear. The lion is not doing very well though, because he is strikingly staged as a rug in the film.
When Pongo and Perdita in ‘101 Dalmatians’ need help to track down their little puppies, they call in the help of some famous characters. For example, several dogs from ‘Lady and the Tramp’ come to give a hand… uh, paw to help with the search.
In ‘The Princess and the Frog’ the makers give a wink to ‘Aladdin’: the famous magic lamp from the Persian fairy tale appears clearly visible.
After a puncture on a spinning wheel, Sleeping Beauty falls asleep for 100 years, everyone knows that. What many do not know: the recognizable spinning wheel from ‘Sleeping Beauty’ can also be found in the high tower of Rapunzel from ‘Tangled’.
In Radiator Springs, the place where ‘Cars’ takes place, they also enjoy going to the cinema. And yes, you can look at ‘The Incredimobiles’, a nice reference to ‘The Incredibles’.
At a certain moment, Flynn and Rapunzel in ‘Tangled’ are surrounded by books. The makers naturally opted for other Disney classics: the books of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’ are scattered throughout the room.
For all observant viewers: in ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ you suddenly see none other than Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ walking through the screen. Just like in the original film, she also reads a book here while strolling through the streets.