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October 19, 2018

Movies || Walt Disney: Moments Explained by Real Life

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As a child, you are completely unaware of nuances and details that inform the film you are watching. While many films nowadays still pander to the adult audience with below-the-belt jokes and references that supposedly go over children's heads, I don't think Walt Disney films do just that: they are sometimes very much based in reality and when, as an adult watching the film you wonder why certain things happen, it's enlightening to learn about the fact that inspired it.

Here are 10 moments from Disney films that may have left you wondering that can easily be explained by real life:

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1. Why is Dumbo's mom the last to receive her baby from the Stork? Well, isn't it obvious? It's because elephants have the longest gestation period of all mammals! Elephants gestate for 95 weeks in comparison to humans' gestation period of only 40. Of course she would have to wait longer - the baby is still in her belly.


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2. Why did Ariel not just write a letter to Eric explaining what's happened? She could write, right? Ariel is supposed to be, like, 16 in The Little Mermaid. Not really an age where she could be expected to be entirely logical. I mean, after all, she didn't hear Ursula's asides about tricking her, believed she was offering the spell as a kindness, signed away her voice and life in the sea to marry a man she only saw once and never actually spoke to... There is an idea that she could only write her name because of the setting in the 1890s, but literacy levels were actually very high in Europe, especially north-west Europe, at that time, obviously even in the depths of the ocean because Ursula's contract is written. However, it is possible that Ursula would have considered writing a type of 'speech' and thus removed Ariel's ability to do so. It was the deal in the end, that she make Prince Eric fall in love with her without her 'voice'.


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3. Why were the seven dwarfs mining for gems at all, if they, as they say in the song, didn't know what they were going to with them? One idea is that since the land belonged to the Queen, as a result of 1500s feudalism, the gems actually belong to the Crown, too. It's possible that the dwarfs were effectively poaching them, or simply mining them for someone else, since they never take any home with them.


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4. Why did Cruella de Vil need puppies for her fur coat, and why 101 of them? Well, dalmation puppy fur is softer than an adult dalmation's fur, which is coarser. And 101 puppies would have given Cruella a reversible coat (i.e. with fur inside and out), a lined coat (i.e. fur only on the outside), and maybe some accessories, like a muff.


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5. Why would Simba and Nala turn their noses up at being betrothed to each other (Well, aside from being too young to think about that kind of stuff)? They're technically related, most likely cousins. A pride of lions is only ever ruled by a single male, with a couple of young males hanging around until they're of age. The male lion has a harem, technically, and all the cubs in the pride are his. So when another lion decides to try his luck as leader of the pride and wins, he will actually kill the cubs that are not his. Scar would have been in his right to kill Simba.


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6. Why did no one miss the Prince in Beauty and the Beast? This could easily be explained by the difference between title and rank in France. The title of 'prince' was given to anyone who owned a principality and known as a family tradition. and often given to the eldest sons of more important duke-peers. It should not be confused with the ranking, which would only apply to those who have a direct descendency to the kings. So Belle may in fact not be a 'princess' at all!


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7. Why did the Chinese army wish to enlist Mulan's father, Fa Zhou, who was obviously too injured to be an effective soldier? Fa Zhou seems to be somewhat of a celebrity within the army, as Li Shang asks, 'The Fa Zhou?' with awe. It is unlikely that they would have recruited him as a soldier and possibly would have given him a leadership role. Perhaps, General Li would have given Fa Zhou the general position instead of to his relatively inexperienced son if Fa Zhou had not sent his moronic son instead.


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8. Why can Quasimodo understand what Esmerelda and everyone else is saying to him, since ringing the bells of Notre Dame would have made him deaf? Well, my best guess is that he can lip-read. He can keep a tune pretty well, too...


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9. Why was Jafar so eager to overthrow the Sultan, aside from wanting the most power? Based on the history of the Ottoman Empire, it was likely that the Grand Vizier, along with lower viziers and other advisors, would throw out a Sultan that was a threat to the state. The Sultan was pretty incompetent, so Jafar is sort of in his rights to attempt to oust him.


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10. Why did Sabor kill both Tarzan's parents? And why did she live for so long? For the first question, perhaps Tarzan's parents decided to build their treehouse in one of her favourite haunts. Leopards also eat monkeys and small primates, so the humans were simply larger versions. There is a possibility that she was a man-eater, but this is unlikely since the island appeared largely uninhabited by other humans. As for the second question, the answer is based on details in the source material: Sabor was actually the word for all female lionesses, so Disney just used the same name for the leopard.

Do you have any questions about Disney films that may be answered by reality? Please share them in the comments!

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