The set of The Rocky Horror Picture Show was clearly quite a fun place to be. I mean what could be more fun for a group of young actors putting together a crazy, musical, avant garde, sex comedy in the 1970s than an after hours Easter Egg hunt? Still, maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe it was antici….pation but not all of the eggs were found and some of them stayed hidden on set when shooting restarted. As a result a few of said items can be seen in the footage and publicity shots of the finished film and that folks, is why things hidden in the background of movies are called Easter Eggs.
What better way of marking Easter then, than listing a few examples of these curiosities? (Okay, a review of The Passion of The Christ or even Life of Brian might have been better but I didn’t have time for that. Give me a break, it’s a holiday weekend!)
Return of the Jedi
Any good sci-fi fan knows that the words Klaatu Barada Nikto were the spoken code to stop the alien robot destroying the planet in the brilliant 1951 movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still. The really geeky ones also know that these were the names of three of the guards in Jabba’s palace at the end of the first Star Wars Trilogy.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This is a simple one but it’s a nice touch. When Robert Redford’s character opens his fridge in Marvel Studio’s latest film, there is a bottle of Newman’s Own salad dressing in there. Newman’s Own of course being the brand of Redford’s most famous on screen partner.
Staying in the Marvel Universe, there is a shot in the first Iron Man film where Pepper catches Tony struggling to get out of his suit. In the back ground, sitting on Stark’s work bench, is an unfinished version of Captain America’s famous shield. This was three years before the first Captain America film you understand and long before the studio knew its dream of bringing all its heroes together could be realised. To be fair, it is very easy to miss so they laboured the gag a little in Iron Man 2 when Stark uses the shield to prop up part of a machine he is making. The shield actually looks very different to the one eventually introduced in the first Cap film. His is solid metal whereas this one has parts and layers. I’m sure you could rationalise this if you were really nerdy. (Yes, of course I can but sometimes you need to reign it in.)
Fast & Furious 5
Sung Kang’s Korean/American character Han is introduced to the franchise in the second Fast & Furious film but had actually already played the same part in director Justin Lin’s previous movie, Better Luck Tomorrow. It isn’t until Fast & Furious number five though that they reveal his full name is Han Seoul-oh. See what they did there?
This one is almost too good to be true but in the first Tron film, when bad guy Sark is looking at some schematics on a computer screen, you can see Pacman gobbling his way through a line of gold dots on the right hand side of the mesh of maze like blue lines.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
This is probably the most famous Easter Egg of all (along with the Alien skull in the Predator’s spaceship) but representations of R2-D2 and C-3PO can be seen in hieroglyphics in one scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. This wasn’t the little astromech droids’ first and last cameo though. R2-D2 can apparently also be seen on the underside of the space craft in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (although I’ve never been able to spot him) and is there floating around among the debris of damaged ships in both of J.J Abrams Star Trek films. Let’s hope that the director treats him with a little more respect now he holds the little guys’ destiny properly in his hands.
The Pixar Films
There are dozens of references to Pixar films in other Pixar films and here are just a few to give you an idea of the fun those computer animators are having. First of all we have Ham and Rex from Toy Story who are both squeezed in amidst the junk in Wall-E’s collection. Then there is a Nemo sticker on Andy’s toy box in Toy Story 3 and a plush version of the little orange fish is also among Boo’s toys in Monsters Inc (she has a Jessie the Cowgirl doll too). Mike Wasowski then swims across the screen during the credits of Finding Nemo so that all balances out.
Getting back to Ham, there is the part when he is channel surfing in Toy Story 2. As the images whiz by we get shots from several of the Pixar Short Films including Knick Knack which is interesting as you can see the giant spherical boobs the female figurine originally had before they though better of it and painted them out for the cinema release at the front of Finding Nemo.
Best of all though is Sid, the antagonist from the original Toy Story, who turns up as a bin man in the final part of that trilogy.
My favourite Easter Egg is in Inception though. The song ‘Non, je ne regrette nien’ by Edith Piaf is significant in the film as it is the trigger tune to pull the characters out of their dream state. What is not obvious though is that the moody throbbing music that plays throughout the crew’s adventures inside Cillian Murphy’s head is actually the same melody only played much much slower. Clever of Christopher Nolan to have subliminally placed that inside our brains without us knowing.
Richard O’Brien had no idea what he was starting.