Ah, I do love a good Easter egg. Now don’t fret, youth of today, I have not misplaced my calendar. For today, I am not talking about the chocolatey goodness that remind us of the day Jesus turned into the Easter bunny (don’t quote me on that, accuracy fails me), but about Easter eggs in media. Virtual Easter eggs, if you will.
Now, Wikipedia (forever a reliable source, I assure you) defines a virtual Easter egg as:
‘an intentional hidden message, in-joke or feature in a work such as a computer program, web page, video game, movie, book or crossword.’
Now, I’m sure that made a lot of sense to you all, but I’ll explain anyway. An Easter egg, in layman’s terms, is when the producers of a film slip in a little something in the background to giggle at, and to see how many of their fans notice.
Still lost? I’m not good at explaining things, so I’ll let John Lasseter do it for you. For those of you who aren’t up to date with modern film, John Lasseter is the man behind Pixar, and for those of you who live under rocks, Pixar make films such as Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and the like. Now, John Lasseter and the rest of the Pixar crew are the biggest Easter Bunnies around (I’m not actually sure if they are called that, but I like it), and they plant Easter eggs in every Pixar film made.
Have you all seen Toy Story? No? Well, watch it, then come back and read this. Done? Good. In Toy Story, Woody and Buzz find themselves inside a little restaurant known as the Pizza Planet, and a delivery car is visible. Now, those of you who have too much time on your hands will recognise this car, as it is very well travelled. So far travelled, that it appears in every Pixar film (bar ‘The Incredibles’, I hasten to add) to date. This here is a prime example of an Easter egg, but if you still haven’t quite got it, then examples on sites such as this might be of use to you. *Be warned, there is some swearing. And then, if you STILL are a tad hazy, the episode of Doctor Who entitled Blink gives a brief but precise explanation of DVD Easter Eggs.
So, now that I can safely assume we’re clear on what an Easter egg is, I can continue. These Easter eggs make film watching a very entertaining pastime. You would be shocked to see how many films actually have them, and it’s not limited to the world of Disney. This stretches from the secret languages and complex math theorems of Futurama, to hiding naked ladies in movie posters. Back to the topic of Pixar, Toy Story 3 is rumoured to contain over 60 little clues in the backdrop, just waiting for you to discover them. These Easter eggs can be a hint to partners with the film company, birthdays, initials, postcodes, a future film in the pipelines, or a back-story that was never addressed; in short, almost anything which would make someone in the know smirk a little. It has even been known for a plotline to be given away in the first scene, only in a different language! Nothing is an accident, my friends. A number plate, a billboard or a music score, they almost always have a hidden meaning, and it is the unwritten law that we must try and find them.
I spent my free lessons yesterday watching Toy Story 3, and although I didn’t quite reach sixty eggs, I did notice familiarities throughout. Okay, you don’t need to tell me how sad this looks, I’m aware of it. But if you’ve seen a film half a dozen times and you’re forced to watch it, keep an eye out for the producer’s in-jokes. He wants to share them with you, but you need to be aware of it!
I have rambled on about a topic that not many people give a flying fig about, once again. But I can’t help it; I’m uncontrollably fascinated by the innards of film producers’ minds!
Have you noticed any eggs but were too ashamed to admit your observation? Do you recognise the terms A113, or Buy’N’Large? Now is the time to cast aside the shackles of embarrassment and shout out to the world, “Yes! I am a film buff and a nerd for detail!”
I leave you with one simple message: Hunt the eggs, amigos. You would be astounded to see how much detail and thought is put into every poster, every t-shirt, every company name. Open your mind, crack open the egg!