To state it: there are more than a few spoilers below. If you haven’t seen the eight films on the list, it would be worth checking them out before digging around for the Easter eggs. If you’re curious whether we’ve compiled a list of movies with Easter scenes, we have not…though we could. Instead, we’re addressing the cool little clues and tributes left in movies by filmmakers. Things that are difficult to see, but may have everything to do with the film or just simple nod to a fellow filmmaker. Here are eight to peruse.
8. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Everyone is well aware: Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are longtime buddies. They’ve collaborated many times and have long considered one another a source of accountability when it comes to their films. Neither filmmaker is a stranger to putting a few Easter eggs into their movies, and on one particular filmmaking collaboration Steven Spielberg and his production design team offered a stellar tribute and Easter egg to story writer George Lucas. We are, of course, referring to Raiders of the Lost Ark. The film that introduced us to Indiana Jones. Fast-forwarding to the scene (look away now if you haven’t seen it) when Indy and Sallah are revealing the Ark for the first time, just behind Indiana hieroglyphics can be see on a post. And in one of the scenes? R2-D2 and C-3pO make a quick appearance. They were from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
7. Fight Club
When was the last time you watched Fight Club? Do you remember what you did after you viewed the film? Did you get the hankerin’ for a tasty beverage? Perhaps something that came in the sizes Short, Tall, Grande or Venti? If for some strange reason you wanted to take a trip to Starbucks, it’s easily understood. If you also went straight to Spotify to add “Where is My Mind” by the Pixies to a playlist, it’s also understood. Back to Starbucks. Did you notice the frequency of Starbucks in Fight Club? Every time you see Edward Norton in an office scene, or throughout the dilapidated house, or during therapy…there’s a Starbucks cup making its way into a scene. In fact, it has been stated—by David Fincher himself—that Starbucks appears in every scene of the film. And there’s still one on every corner.
Regardless of films he makes five, ten or twenty years down the line, Paul Thomas Anderson will never outdo his effort on Magnolia. Other films have been made based on a similar formula, but none before it or after it have been so bold in suggestion. The film was full of virtuoso performances by some of the finest actors in the business, and it’s also full of mystery, oddity, weirdness and allure. One thing that continues to appear, and serves to predict events that will come to pass are the numbers 8 and 2 used in succession. It is used in title cards describing the weather, it is displayed on street addresses and shows up as twisted rope on top of a roof. The 8s and 2s are seen over 100 times, some obvious, some nearly impossible to find. They’re all in reference to Exodus 8:2.
5. The Departed
The Departed may have been Martin Scorsese’s last great film. That’s not a shot fired at the legendary director. All of his films are good—greatness is next level. And with The Departed, greatness was achieved. It was layered with several story lines, as well as a roller coaster ride of anticipation, action and violence. During a first viewing, it’s hard not to become engrossed in the characters’ lives, and the fear of what might be lurking around the next corner. Who is working for the good guys? Who is working for the bad guys? Are the good guys really the bad guys? And Leonardo DiCaprio is getting chopped up and fed to the poor. As peopled are getting off’d right and left, there’s a consistent something that serves as a harbinger to murder. Every time someone is killed, or about to be killed, an “X” is present in some form.
4. Toy Story
We’ll take the next couple slots on the list to honor the masters of hiding Easter eggs. For Toy Story, there are a number of Easter eggs placed throughout the film, but one of the best and most obvious occurs when Woody and Buzz are stuck in the home of the dreaded character, Sid. Sid is not a good guy. He does things to his toys that are…eh, completely natural for a prepubescent, experimental type. When Woody and Buzz are taken to his house of toy horrors, they must find a way to escape, and when they do, they find themselves in the symbolic terror known as The Shining. The genius minds at Pixar offer a little homage to the late Stanley Kubrick and put the carpet of the Overlook Hotel into the hallway at Sid’s house. No kid would sight this reference, but any film buff would.
Let’s continue on this Easter egg hunt with a pause to address the gang from California Institute of the Arts and how they’ve become major players in Hollywood. If you punch in “CalArts graduates” into any search engine, it’s going to populate a list of directors, writers, animators, actors and producers that are some of the most brilliant minds the industry has ever enjoyed. In so many of their films—especially the Pixar gang—there are little Easter egg that show up time and time again. It is the combination of the letter “A” and the numbers “113.” You can pick it out in every Pixar film, and you can find tributes offered by other animators in reference (sometimes satirically) to the legendary classroom A113 at CalArts. Ask any fringe conspiracy theorist and this is not the case, but we’ll stick with the most logical explanation of A113.
2. Lilo & Stitch
The Disney and Pixar gangs kind of go hand and hand, and it is imagined the the Pixar team gained great insight on hiding Easter eggs from Team Mickey Mouse. You can find Easter eggs in a number of Disney animated films. Even in recent box office smashes like Frozen you can find little things here and there, including a Mickey Mouse on a book shelf. One of the best subliminal Easter eggs in a Disney animated feature is found in Lilo & Stitch. It would only make sense that the world of Disney remain intact throughout all of its films, and the studio put this on full display when they put a Mulan poster in Nani’s bedroom. It can be seen just behind her bed anytime a scene takes place in the bedroom. Sure, it’s an Easter egg, and yep, it’a also a little subliminal advertising.
1. The Dark Knight Rises
Consider this one a little Easter egg, or a clue that only the sharpest eyes might pick up. While people were busy trashing The Dark Knight Rises, they missed a few really cool things that were set up in Batman Begins. It all has to do with The League of Shadows, and that branding iron Bruce Wayne was supposed to face before he decided he’d bail from the rogue unit and take on the perspective of restoration artist, as opposed to a demolition man. During The Dark Knight Rises, Bane is seen repeatedly, and his head bears the mark of The League of Shadows. For those who were paying close attention, they would have known that Miranda Tate possessed the same marking—the scar on her back. Obviously, hardcore fans were aware she was Talia al Ghul, but it was still a well-hidden egg.