It’s no secret that our favorite children’s movies and cartoons had some pretty dark moments in them that may or may not be responsible for our collective subconscious childhood traumas.
Whether it’s the not-so-wholesome imagery found in The Little Mermaid, or naughty clouds in Aladdin, there are all types of “subliminal messages” found in kids movies that we could go on and on about for days.
However, these are just singular moments in otherwise wholesome films, so it’s easy to just chalk it up to an animator or writer being frustrated with their job and pulling a Tyler Durden on whoever’s kid was unfortunate enough to witness the movie on the silver screen just got an eyefull of something they were too young to understand.
Now if you’ve ever delved into the world of fan theories then you’ll know that people spend lots of time connecting the dots between plot points while inserting a bit of subtext of their own to not just read too much into single moments of a film, but completely re-imagine what the movie’s entirely about. Like some of these crazy Disney movie fan theories.
That’s right, innocent old, whole Disney films have got some fans thinking very, very dark thoughts, and their “alternate storylines” may have flown over your head as a child.
Like this Snow White one that says the fair-skinned princess was actually dead at the end of the movie.
Someone in the comments section of a BuzzFeed article served up the controversial take that, the more I think about, makes a lot of sense. It imagines that the Prince isn’t actually a charming hero at all, but the Grim Reaper himself giving Whitey a smooch before taking her to the afterlife.
“The prince is supposed to be kind of like an angel of death, basically a happier version of a grim reaper. When Snow is being careless around the well at the beginning of the movie, the ‘prince’ hears her and goes to investigate. She gets her first glimpse at the prince when she gets her first glimpse at death; when she almost falls into the well and dies.”
User Matt Morgan’s metaphor goes even deeper:
“He arrives on a pale white horse (which is what Death was often portrayed riding at the time). He kisses her. The ‘kiss of death’ is a way people knew someone had passed before they knew about taking pulses. When you die, the air is expelled from your lungs. Folklore said this was death kissing you to take the ‘breath of life’ from you.”
That crazy bit of imagery that could totally be coincidental starts to paint a real morbid picture when you take a closer look at the way the film ends, specifically the Prince and Snow White’s interactions with the Seven Dwarves and that Golden castle in the sky:
“Snow and the Prince say goodbye to the dwarfs rather than bring them along because they’re going somewhere the living can’t follow. They then ride off to heaven or a heaven-facsimile afterlife, where we see the last shot of the movie: a castle-shaped cloud surrounded by golden light.”
Yeah, crazy, I know. But it’s an otherwise trippy fairy tale that doesn’t make much sense as a face-value, pretty girl vs pretty Queen story. I kind of like Matt Morgan’s more “out there” approach. There are some fan theories that seem to take too many liberties, however.
Aladdin is set in a post-apocalyptic world — our world.
Agrabah, on its surface, is a hybrid Indian-Arab universe tailored for the Disney universe: the perfect backdrop for a story about a street rat who falls in love with a princess that has a tiger bodyguard.
However, the fact that Genie knows a bunch of pop culture references that couldn’t exist in a far away land from over a thousand years ago got someone thinking there was more to the story than meets the eye.
Aladdin: In one scene, Genie calls Al’s clothes “so 3rd century.” Genie has been trapped in the lamp for 10,000 years, so there’s no way he could know of the fashion trends which have happened since he’s been trapped. Which means the latest Genie could have been trapped in the lamp is the 3rd century. If he spent 10,000 years in there, it is now AT LEAST the year 10,300 AD when he gets out.
Conclusion: Aladdin takes place IN THE FUTURE. A post-apocalyptic world where only Arab culture (and some Greek) survived. It has been so long that the name “Arabia” has been corrupted to “Agrabah.” The Muslim religion has atrophied to the point where there are no mosques, Imams, or prayer mats, but people still give praise to Allah in moments of happiness. Amazing technological marvels left behind by the previous civilization, like sentient flying carpets or genetically engineered parrots which comprehend human speech instead of just mimic it, are taken for granted by the locals or considered “magic.” The Genie proves this by making impressions of ancient, long-dead celebrities like Groucho Marx, Jack Nicholson, etc.
Up is actually Carl’s trip to the afterlife, which is why the movie has such a huge shift in tone.
If you managed to watch Up without crying, then congratulations on having a heart of stone. Watching Carl meet the love of his life, get married, grow old together, and then lose her all in the first few minutes of the movie’s opening is about as somber and heartbreaking as an animated film could ever be.
The rest of the film becomes surprisingly uplifting and fantastical, which lead some people to come up with an interesting theory: that Carl’s journey is actually a trip through the afterlife before he’s reunited with Ellie. But what about the boy scout?
Kevin’s actually his guardian angel who’s been tasked to help the old man who actually passed away in his sleep out of heartache right before he was taken to the “Shady Oaks” retirement community.
Sure, the whole, “it was actually in his imagination the whole time” is kind of a cop-out for what happens in the film, but when you think about just how different the first half of the movie is from the rest of it, it could totally make sense.
I just refuse to believe it because I’d rather Carl and Kevin live happily ever after and no I don’t want to think about what happens after that thank you very much I’m well aware of Carl’s age I don’t need to imagine a CGI Kevin weeping over the loss of his friend.