Ever wondered where storylines for children’s films come from? If you’re an old romantic like me then you probably assumed that each and every movie is the result of a passion to thrill and entertain. Wrong.
Over the years, there have been plenty of movies made that owe their very existence to some truly scary events. Movies like these…
Ice Age is a tale of adversity and courage at a time in history when half the world’s animal life was blinking out of existence. The script could easily sum up the events that are going on in pretty much any modern day country. But the story writers at Pixar decided to focus on an era way back in the mists of time.
Set in the last ice age, the film follows the comical day to day lives of three characters: Sid the sloth, Manny the mammoth and Diego the Sabre-toothed tiger. Forming an unlikely alliance, they use their collective lack of intelligence to dodge the everyday perils of life: being eaten by humans, being eaten by sabre-toothed tigers and being eaten by, well, anything that eats meat. Oh, and they get to rescue a human baby. Just for the hell of it. Because they’re a pretty compassionate bunch of guys.
The Truth About Ice Age
The film’s comedy elements appeal to both adult and child alike but the harsh reality is that not only are the creatures all extinct but they would have spent most of their time trying to kill each other. This is one movie where the script writers didn’t think too much.
The Ice Age was very real and very scary. For just one moment, close your eyes and try to picture the scene in your head…
Every day, you’re forced into the frozen wastes to search for food. But there’s a problem as food is in short supply. And there’s lots of competition. Worse still, when night falls the temperatures plummet as do you chances of survival. Predators roam the darkness and you’re the top of their ‘things I’d really like to eat’ list.
Friendship is non-existent because you’re a mammoth. Yeah, you’re big, shaggy and kind of cute but nobody is going to actually realise that for another 100,000 years or so. In a bitter twist of irony, the very people who, in the future, will think you’re a lumbering cutie are the ones whose ancestors want to turn you into a delicious rack of ribs! Having a sloth for a friend is not only a stupid idea – it’s downright dangerous.
You live in a family group and you’re reasonably intelligent. Well, more so than a wood louse. You don’t have many friends outside your social group. In fact, you don’t have any because pretty much any animal other than another mammoth wants to eat you and that includes sabre-toothed tigers who have, for the purposes of this film, apparently managed to suppress the desire to nibble on a little fresh meat.
Ultimately, the mammoths will die out. As will the Smilodon. And pretty much half of the world’s animal population. Hey kids, how’s that for a happy ending?
Way back in the 1980’s the world was full of rich people who spent their lives making money in order to remain as high as possible on vast stockpiles of illegal drugs. Apparently, this meant they didn’t have to endure the mundane, day to day antics of the rest of the human race.
Goonies is a cult kids movie that dates from the same decade. I could go on to mention the actors who used their fat paydays to indulge in snorting lines of ‘baking soda, officer’ in some darkened night club but… damn! The film centres around a group of kids who are trying to save their parents homes from being snapped up by coke snorting property developers. After finding a treasure map, they attempt to unearth untold riches that will save them from foreclosure. To cut a long story short, all ends well for the children who manage to discover enough gems to keep them in drugs and condominiums for the rest of their lives.
The Truth About The Goonies
Pirates don’t want you to find their treasure. Even though the swashbucklers of the high seas died hundreds of years ago there was no way they were going to make it easy for anyone else to profit from their ill-gotten gains. By ill-gotten I mean, a guaranteed get rich quick scheme that involved lots of murder.
What has been coined, “The Golden Age of Piracy” lasted from around 1660 until 1726.
Considering what actually went on during this time, historian’s might want to rethink the phrase. Maybe, “The Horrific Age of Pain and Slaughter Fueled by the Greed of a Few”?
Pirates were bad men. Unlike Robin Hood, they didn’t give their riches away to the poor. In fact, bludgeoning the poor over the head and forcing them to sail the high seas was a preferred past time. Even in the Royal Navy! In some ways, it’s good to see that little has changed – a whiff of nostalgia. But piracy was dangerous work and not only for the victims. Pirates had a really unhealthy habit of finding themselves locked in a gibbot – after they’d been hung to death!
Plying their trade on the high seas, some of the most feared ‘privateers’ of the age ensured that any treasure ship without an armed guard was pretty much fair game. Amongst the most sought after booty was gold being shipped by the Spanish from South America back to Spain. Ironic that a nation intent on pillaging the New World of all its riches ended up in turn having its ships pillaged. Hasta la vista baby. The buccaneers were so intent on safeguarding their spoils that they apparently went to extreme lengths to ensure the death of looters.
Still think you can grab a handful of gold as you flip your BMX through a loop the loop over the treasure chest?
Back in the 1500’s, America was a playground for adventurers, pirates and pretty much anyone brave enough to make the long, dangerous journey across the Atlantic ocean. The 1995 film, Pocahontas followed the adventures of Capt. John Smith and a group English sailors who set sail with the sole intention of ‘liberating’ as much gold as humanly possible from native Indians.
At the same time as Smith was making his epic journey, Pocahontas, daughter of a tribal chief, was being prepared for marriage to one her tribes greatest warriors. Being a liberated woman way ahead of her time, Pocahontas had other ideas. When the English eventually hauled their pale arses ashore, she prompted fell for the dashing Captain. Considering the longstanding jokes Americans have about the state of our teeth I can only assume that yellow, stubby molars held little fear for the Indian girl. Cutting a long story short, Smith did a runner back to England and Pocahontas married a white boy by the name of Rolfe, emigrated to England, had a son and lived happily ever after with her family.
The Truth About Pocahontas
Let’s get this straight: life in the 1600’s was hard. Think Atkins diet but with all the fun taken out of eating. Traveling the length and breadth of Britain was dangerous enough. The countryside was filled with dandy highway men, dressed in tights and brandishing guns big enough to make a whale crap itself. Seafaring was even worse.
If naval heroes weren’t defeating armada’s single-handedly, they were projecting the power of the Crown and, in return, being hanged to keep our European frenemies happy.
No wonder the only way anyone could be ‘enticed’ into joining the navy with the use of copious quantities of alcohol and a wooden cosh.
Life on board a ship made a man tough. Like the food they had to eat. Scurvy is estimated to have killed about 2,000,000 sailors between 1500 and 1800. Easily avoided if they’d spent their lives looking like they’d been sucking a lemon – literally. It gets worse. If the diseases didn’t get you, the rats were waiting to chew off your face whilst you slept. You also ran the risk of being found guilty of some minor crime and being keel hauled – think, ‘vigourously massaging my body with cheese grater’ and you’ve got the general idea.
Fortunately, our squaw heroine survived the rigours of the journey. Once in England, she became a curiosity – kind of like a Victorian freak show exhibit but far more attractive. During her travels through the country, she met King James and his wife who saw this as the perfect opportunity to ply her guests with vast quantities of tea – as you do! Pocahontas lived in England for one year before setting sail back to America – a promise she made to her father.
During the journey, fate played a mean round of poker and struck her dead. A number of theories have been given for her death: smallpox, tuberculosis or having to sleep with Rolfe – all pretty terrifying ways to go.