Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Four Best Stupid Questions About Disney Cartoons.

As a famous philosopher once said, "Never start out with a quote from someone. It's lazy writing."

That's why I'm going to jump right into this post without the usual foofooraw, a word, which, if you Google it to try to find out whether it's a real word, Google will ask you "Did you mean 'foofaraw,'? as though that is a real word.

Of course, if you click that link and tell Google Yeah, I mean foofaraw, even though you didn't really -- lying to Google is not (yet) a federal offense, you know -- you'll find out that foofaraw is a real word, meaning "a fuss over a trifling matter."

So, in the end, I really did mean foofaraw, even though I first said foofooraw. Thanks, Google!

I have, over the past four years, watched many a Disney cartoon, because the Babies!, who are getting close to five years' old, have watched many a Disney cartoon, too, although my watching Disney cartoons predates Mr F and Mr Bunches' existences; I watched The Little Mermaid when it first came out on video back in the 1990s (and bought the soundtrack, too) and watched The Lion King, too, when that came out because by then I had nephews who watched Disney cartoons, and then I watched Hercules when the older kids watched that (and used Hercules to help get over my irrational fears of the Jeeper Creeper, so I'm kind of an expert when it comes to Disney cartoons, which makes me the perfect person to ask

The Four Best Stupid Questions About Disney Cartoons, the third entry in my series of posts about stupid questions, and we'll begin today's (stupid) introspection with:

1. Why were the Wall-E's needed?

If you've watched Wall*E, then you know that the lovable little robot who [SPOILER ALERT!] saved humanity because he was in love with another lovable little robot had a job to do: he, along with apparently many other Wall*Es, were created to gather up trash and compact it into little squares, which they then used to build monumental trash towers.

Leave aside, for the moment, the question of how that was supposed to help clean up the over-polluted world we humans had created: the Wall*Es were, after all, simply stacking the trash neatly in and around the cities we humans abandoned, not moving it to someplace else. Let's assume that they were doing that in order to, say, launch all the trash into space and lob it into the sun, as a noted genius once said humans should be doing.

If you assume that the Wall*Es were actually doing something useful, the question still remains Why were there Wall*Es at all.

Or EVEs, for that matter.

In the movie, after all, once Eve finds the plant and returns to the spaceship, it turns out that Otto the Autopilot is under orders never to let humans return to Earth.

[OH, UM... SPOILER ALERT? Sorry, I was a little behind on that one. Blame it on my deregulated FAA Air Traffic Controller Training.]

That plan is revealed when the captain of what apparently is the only spaceship full of the only surviving humans tries to get the ship to go back to Earth because plant (and therefore other kinds of life) is now sustainable; but upon trying to execute that order, the captain finds a secret video that tells him that it's all been a ruse, and that there was never any plan to go back to Earth in the first place, because the Buy'N'Large people who set this whole thing up figured that the Earth was beyond redemption and would never be cleaned.

Which, if that was true, doesn't explain why a massive corporation created all the Wall*Es to clean up the place: they were never going to come back, so why bother pretending they're going to clean it up?

Also unexplained: what happened to all the animals on Earth? Not a single animal was seen on the spaceship holding all of humanity, which means either there's another spaceship out there, full of animals (or full of people who learned to love Zebra McNuggets, which is far more likely) or humans returned to Earth to live life as vegetarians.

"So I've just been part of this massive government make-work project...
but I'm only doing that until I finish my screenplay.
What say we go back to my place?"

2. Whatever happened to the OTHER Lost Boys in Pinocchio?

how many chances do you think Pinocchio should have had to prove he can be a good boy? After failing the first time -- going to join a theater company instead of going to school, a choice that paid off handsomely for the Olsen Twins, who are now almost billionaires and are getting richer selling ridiculously overpriced clothing to Mrs. Obama, but for which Pinocchio was punished -- Pinocchio is given a second chance, which he blows even more spectacularly, going to drink and smoke cigars on Pleasure Island.

Which could have made the stupid question "How does a puppet drink or smoke, since he has neither lungs nor a belly?" but I went more profound and philosophical with this one.

Pinocchio narrowly avoids becoming a full-on donkey, you'll recall...


Pinocchio and Jiminy run into Geppetto, who has been swallowed by a whale, and they save him, after which Glinda The Good Witch (I'm pretty sure that was her) makes Pinocchio a real boy... because why? What did he do that was so good? Run away to stop becoming a donkey? Wasn't that why he left the island?

(I've just looked it up and realized that he set off to save Geppetto and sacrificed his life to do so, which means that Pinocchio effectively co-opted pretty much all of the Biblical heroes into his story, a fact I'm only pointing out to get you to overlook that I was wrong about whether he was a good boy or not.)

So Pinocchio is a real boy and dances to celebrate with Geppetto and everyone's happy, except that Pinocchio never seems to tell Geppetto about the magical slave ring that's going on.

Sure, maybe that took place offscreen - -maybe, after the movie ended and Pinnochio settled into life as a real boy, he said over dinner one day "Hey, Father, by the way, did you know that men are kidnapping bad little boys, turning them into donkeys and selling them into slavery?"

But I don't think so -- because wouldn't that be pretty much the first thing you said when you woke up as a real boy?

Assuming you're a good real boy, that is: wouldn't you say "Hey, great, I'm a real boy, and now I can help do something to help all those other kids."

But, no, Pinocchio just seems to go on about his life, never bothering to wonder what happened to Lampwick and the rest.

"Oh, yeah. Those guys.
Well, maybe they
like being donkeys, right?"

3. Where were the super-villains in "The Incredibles?"

The whole plot of The Incredibles revolves around the idea that Americans -- I'm assuming it's America, because the insurance industry makes its money screwing people over and the government claims to be out of money -- would reject superheroes who want to help them and engage in a variety of frivolous lawsuits making outrageous claims about people whose only purpose in life was to protect them.

That would never happen, right?


Anyway, after the trial lawyers got hold of super hero claims -- and somehow forced the government to pay for damages caused by the heroes, who must have had some government affiliation to cause that, right? -- the super heroes went into hiding and the government passed a law mandating that no superhero lawsuits could be filed anymore.

Which is great... except that it left a bunch of supervillains running around, in a world where the police needed help to catch a bank robber.

Now, granted, the movie was pretty short on naming the villains-- there was Bomb Voyage, and that Mole Guy at the end, The Underminer, and other than them, and Syndrome, who wouldn't have been a villain if Mr. Incredible hadn't been such an incredible jerk (see what I did there?) But there were other problems -- including the guy with the missile in this clip:

So if there were other supervillains, what happened to them? Did the police suddenly become much more effective? Did Syndrome kill them off? Did they go into hiding, too?

It's easy to be a superhero
when the only people you fight are
skinny muggers.

4. Why did Buzz Lightyear stop talking when Andy came into the room?

The original Toy Story movie is generally lauded as the single greatest human achievement ever, judging by the hyperbolic way people rhapsodize about it.

Don't get me wrong: I loved it as much as the next guy, and, like the next guy, I tried to blame my tears, at the part of Toy Story 3 where the toys are going to be incinerated, on dust in the theater.

But Toy Story had a major gaping plot hole: If Buzz Lightyear didn't know he was a toy, why did he stop moving when Andy was around?

As I gathered, the rules of being a toy are that you're not supposed to move around people. Woody says as much, at the end, when they're all going to rescue Buzz from Sid: "We'll have to break some rules," Woody tells them.

(That, by the way, is supposed to be kind of a dramatic moment: Woody is advising toys to break the rules. But that's about the least disturbing thing Woody -- who I've pointed out previously wasn't the nice guy everyone thinks -- does. Woody, remember, knocked Buzz out a window and then lied about it.)

Woody's plan then goes on to break those rules, proving that toys, when they want to, can move around in the presence of people. They just choose not to.

Which means that Buzz, at the beginning of the movie, can move around even when Andy's around. So why doesn't he? Buzz, after all, doesn't think he's a toy -- most of the plot of the first movie revolves around Woody's efforts to get Buzz to realize his place in the world (and, not incidentally, to realize Woody's place in that world.)

If Buzz doesn't think he's a toy, why does he act like a toy?

Toy Story 2 explained part of this by pointing out that all Space Rangers are to be in "hypersleep" until they're purchased -- which is why America wasn't terrorized by legions of tiny men struggling against their plastic bonds at Toys'R'Us stores -- but nobody ever explained why Buzz, once freed from "hypersleep" at Andy's birthday party didn't immediately start moving around, and enlist Andy and his other giant friends in an effort to help him take on Zurg.

"I'm telling you, Sheriff, these people are HUGE, and
I'm going to enlist them to help me fight. Heck, with
just a few of them, I can quit being a low-paid Space Ranger
and set myself up as Emperor. If you thought a clone army was
tough to beat..."*


Rogue Mutt said...

Good questions. I doubt most people have really considered those before because it's DISNEY, so we're not supposed to be critical.

1. Maybe the WALL-Es were put there to make people think the planet was going to be cleaned up when everyone took off.

2. Pinocchio is just a jackass. (See what I did there?)

3. Well there's always that philosophy that supervillains need superheroes and vice-versa (like the Joker and Batman) so maybe without the heroes, the villains just got bored.

4. Maybe since Andy and other humans are so huge, Buzz thought discretion was the better part of valor.

Anonymous said...

4. Just read this trivia on

Woody is the only one of Andy's toys to "come alive" while in the presence of a human.

Kevin Cachuela said...

4, I just read this on

Woody is the only one of Andy's toys to "come alive" while in the presence of a human.