Film Theory: No One Survives Disney! (The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Bambi, Pinocchio…)
Hello Internet! Welcome to Film Theory! Where there’s no rambling spiel needed to open this episode. Because we all know why we’re here. To kill off as many Disney characters as we can. Then feel satisfied and have ourselves a merry little Christmas. Last time we started our emotionally scarring journey through the entire Disney Animation Studios canon, and came out on the other side having covered 41 out of our total 58 movies. Basically everyone with either zero or single digit death tolls. And we’ve wound up with a total death count of 44. It’s not too shabby for our first time out. But now we have to contend with those remaining 17 movies. Where things go from mildly hazardous to outright Saw levels of death. *Saw Evil Laugh* It’s also now that we have to start making some tough calculations. To separate out the deadly from the “I can’t believe Disney greenlit this deadly.” So if you need a refresher on the rules of our little game, or wanna catch up on those 1st 41 movies, link to that first video is in the upper right hand corner. But for today’s episode, we’ve got no time to waste, if I’m going to prevent this from being a four part series. So in the immortal words of Phil DeFranco “Let’s just jump into it.” Often times in Disney movies, they present us with a scene of some light action or violence. But usually cut away or gloss over the actual ramifications of those scenes. As a result, it’s easy to overlook the skyrocketing body count that’s happening right in front of your eyes. “Chicken Little” is actually a really good example of this. And a really bad example of 3D animation It’s like Johny Johny levels of bad animation “Eating sugar?” “No Dad” This movie is U G L Y and ain’t got no alibi! But if you consider the animation rough, the plot is a whole heck of a lot rougher. Chicken Little claims that the sky is falling and he’s right because they’re being invaded by aliens. . . And the thing that’s falling is a faulty piece of alien spacecraft. “There goes that panel again. . . someday it’s going to hit somebody on the head.” At first, all you “Chicken Little” aficionados might think that this movie would have a zero death count. Since, everyone that we see get zapped by the aliens, ultimately returns home at the end of the movie. “Ok, everything’s been put back to normal. Except for this one over here.” “Roxy?” But that would mean that you overlooked the mass murder that you witnessed within the FIRST two minutes of the movie. Where we watch as a water tower rolls through town, causing massive destruction. Oh sure, most people escape, including this comedically long string of rabbit babies. But not everyone is so lucky. Specifically the people in this theater. Notice that this theater is completely destroyed and, cut to the wide shot No one gets out. So adding up all the bodies crushed under that giant sphere, we get ourselves, seventeen. Meanwhile, in “Hunchback of Notre Dame”, the one scene is the fire scene near the end. Where at least six separate houses are burned to the ground Because the families inside won’t hand over gypsies to the authorities. “Find the girl, burn the city to the ground so be it.” Pack that on to the several villagers killed in the last scene Plus the hunchback’s mom and Frollo, for a grand total of about, 47. But those two were just the warm-up. “Home on the Range” is the little-known, and very little watched, western comedy about animals trying to save their ranch from a *Sigh* I can’t even make this stuff up. Animals trying to save their ranch From an evil cattle rustler, who yodels to hypnotize cows to do his bidding. “Now don’t everybody speak at one time. What is this, the frozen food section? *voice echoes* Is this thing on?” It was a movie so bad, that it killed Disney Animations for like, five solid years. And you know what else it killed? About three hundred and four sapient cattle who were yodeled, hypnotized, and then sold off to the black market of Black Angus. Five thousand cows are saved before the end of the movie, but the three hundred and four depicted in this one scene are never found again. And yes, rest assured internet, I counted each and every steer. *Yodeling* *Rock crushes* Speaking of Disney flops, “Treasure Planet”. Which came out two years earlier, and lost them even more money. About, 30 million dollars this time. But not only was this a massive failure, it also came with a massive body count. If you count just the explicit deaths in the movie, there’s seventeen. The hotel explosion in the beginning of the movie racks up nine, plus a couple of pirates and murder plots sprinkled in along the way and you get yourself a delicious murdery stew. However, it’s this opening storybook scene that causes us some issues. *explosion* Mom: “James Pleiades Hawkins. I thought you were asleep an hour ago.” James: “But mom, I was just getting to the best part.” Yes, it is a children’s story but we find out later that the pirate Captain Flint is in fact a real person. And that the Treasure Planet is in fact a real place. And so presumably, everything depicted in this fairy tale is true. Meaning that this cruise ship was full of real people and was actually ransacked And then everyone on board was left for dead. So, running through the numbers real quickly, Flint’s ship here is roughly the size of Queen Anne’s Revenge. One of the most famous pirate ships in all of history. One of the ones that belong to Blackbeard That ship was about 100 feet, or 30 meters long. Based on this wide shot of both ships,
we see the cruise ship is six times longer and 4 times taller than the pirate ship. Meaning that it’s gonna be about 600 feet, or 180 meters long. Modern cruise ships of that size usually have between seven hundred and a thousand passengers, and an additional three hundred crew members on board. So let’s snowball it and say that a thousand deaths total are in this scene. Suddenly jumping our movie with a total of seventeen, up to a thousand and seventeen. Like I said in the beginning, all it takes is one scene and the numbers fluctuate dramatically. And with that, we have ourselves a new front-runner in the contest for Disney’s deadliest movie. I don’t know if fictional massive losses of life are something to celebrate, but uh, ok. Having established a new leader, I need a bit of a break. There’s only so much early 2000’s era Disney that I can take in anyone’s sitting, So lets wash it off us like taking a cold shower with some much beloved Disney classics. Classics that are so brutal, I literally cannot watch them because they are so sad. That’s right, we’re talking about Bambi. The universe “Bambi” establishes implies that any forest creatures from deer to rabbit, can talk, think, and make character-developing decisions meaning that any animal that dies during the course of this movie is gonna get added into our kill count. And aside from the infamous scene of Bambi’s mother being shot, there’s also a dramatic forest fire scene. Remember, this is what passed as children’s entertainment. Having just gone through a forest fire here in California, where the fire burned literally across the street from my house, I’ve gained a sudden appreciation for how devastating and scary these sorts of fires can be. I assumed, that in “Bambi”, all of those woodland creatures would quickly become crispy fried. But surprisingly, that could be further from the truth. National Geographic published in 2014 piece titled, “What Do Wild Animals Do in a Wildfire?” Where seasoned bush firefighter, Gabriel d’Eustachio, claimed that he didn’t usually see animals trapped in the fires. The article goes on to point out that the loss of life for animals in these situations is probably smaller than we think. Something that’s supported, by yet another article, from the US Fish and Wildlife Services. Because animals have such better senses than we do, they’re able to evacuate areas on fire long before it becomes an issue. And most deaths only come from old or injured animals. And that’s an important fact for our purposes, not just because we love animals, but because in “Bambi”, Bambi IS the injured animal running away from the fire. He just came off from a brutal head-to-head battle against another deer. And yet, he still manages to escape. Along with the birds, squirrels, and rabbits, that we see making it away from the plains. So how many died? Well, while there aren’t any significant studies on the numbers of wildlife lost during forest fires, The Rim Fire, in Yosemite National Park, the 5th largest in California’s history, only saw about three-hundred and forty-five elk die, out of an estimated fifty thousand. There are also thirty-six mule deer, twelve moose, six black bears, and nine bison lost to the flames. And that was a huge fire, whereas in “Bambi”, we can actually see the outer limits of the flames. So, let’s overestimate, and say that Bambi’s fire, is about 1/5 of the size of The Rim Fire. So about eighty animal casualties all together. Oh yeah, and lets not forget about mom. Eighty-one. If we want to start getting into higher animal death counts, well, we’re gonna have to start looking outside the forest, and take it under the sea. Yup, this next, fun, deathly-subbed category is one like to call, The Fishy Queens. Because almost all of their fatalities are just sapient sea creatures biting the dust in massive quantities. The first, surprising entry to this category, is “Alice In Wonderland”. Which racks a kill count of twelve, just from this walrus polishing off a dozen oysters in a scene that is surprisingly horrifying, because, look at this, they are wearing bonnets. They are established as baby oysters. Add to that, four playing cards, who are hauled off to lose their heads, And “Alice” rings in with a surprising death toll of sixteen. Certainly not to get in the title of Disney’s deadliest movie, but it is enough to get it Disney’s deadliest movie when it comes to killing children. Continuing to fill watery graves by the dozens are “Brother Bear” and “Pinocchio”. Which both lose a shocking number of sapient fish. In “Brother Bear”, we never actually see the fish caught, so it could be questionable that they’re sapient but I’m gonna assume they are because every other animal that we see in the film is. So how many fish die in this movie? Well, they literally have an entire song dedicated to fish genocide. Eighty-one salmon bite the dust in just that three minute scene alone. Which gives us a whopping twenty-seven deaths per minute. But it doesn’t even tip the scales. The fish scales that is, when compared to “Pinocchio”. Surprisingly, the only deaths in “Pinocchio”are the fish that Monstro eats. At first, I thought “Pinocchio” would have a massive count. I mean, after all, we calculated how many little children were kidnapped and turned into donkeys, In our “Kids for Sale” episode on “Pinocchio”. And it would be a huge kill count. Two thousand one hundred boys per boatload. But notice that the children in the movies aren’t being slaughtered, they’re just being transformed And sold off to the salt mines. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am sure that many of them are having horrifically awful, painful, and slow deaths, but here’s the thing. Once they’re shipped out, they’re beyond the purview of this movie. Thereby, taking them out of contention of this theory based on the rules that we set. I know, its a bummer they don’t know. But, as consolation for losing those donkeys, we get ourselves a ton of fish. According to the relevant frames of the movie, if you count the fish that Monstro eats in the ocean, You can see him consume an entire school of eighty-three tuna. Sorry Charlie. To corroborate this number, I did some research, only to find that the original novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio, written back in 1883, doesn’t specify the type of tuna that we’re dealing with here. It’s shocking and unacceptable, I know, for a children’s fairy tale. A fairy tale that we read our children, do not tell us the individual species of tuna that a giant fictional whale is eating. Can’t believe the drivel that we feed to kids. It does, however, note that the tuna are big. According to the novel, they are quote, “As big as a 2 year old horse.” The Disney version doesn’t quite live up to that standard. But, from that description, we can at least expect that what we’re dealing with here is the largest variety of real tuna out there. Which is the Bluefin Tuna. A tuna that can actually grow up to sixteen-hundred pounds in weight. Schools of Bluefin Tuna range from about sixty to a hundred fish per school. So our estimate of eighty-three being eaten in this scene is right on the mark for an entire school eaten by Monstro. Today, these fish sometimes go for thousands of dollars at auctions. And become some of the best sushi in the world. So ironically, inside of that whale, Geppetto and Pinocchio were basically sitting on a gold mine. But oh well, no use being a dead fish. Let’s move on. The last in our fishy queen category is actually a fishy princess, “The Little Mermaid”. Which may not be top in the charts, but at least definitely scores points for creativity. These eight sentient sea-grubs gets sacrificed to make Ariel’s legs. Ursula personally polishes off a shrimp and a barnacle, five fish die in the opening scene, And zut alors! Nine are recently deceased in the kitchen. Flotsam and Jetsam are toasted by Ursula by accident, And Ursula, in one of the single most epic Disney villain deaths ever, is stabbed in the stomach by the sharp bow of a sunken ship that then sinks back in the sea. Scary, but certainly not as scary as the ending of the original “Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen, where in one version, Ariel turns into sea foam, and in the other, she stabs herself so that her blood becomes the colors of the sunset in the ocean. And just like that, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve taken another eleven movies out of contention for the deadliest. But, I don’t want to just end this part of the trilogy without giving you a taste for how high these death counts go, and for how high we have to reach for some of them. That is why for our finale in today’s episode, I’m taking on, “The Lion King”. And now, we have entered the big leagues of Disney kill counting. With Scar and his band of Hyenas decimating an entire lion pride territory. At the beginning of this whole theory, my personal bet was on this one to win, and here’s why. We begin with arguably the scariest Disney movie villain, its Scar. One of the only villains who actually succeeds in his evil plot. He kills one of the heroes. But oh no, that’s not enough. He then goes on to cause a massive ecological collapse that devastates the entire pride land. So much so that in the movies’ original script, they had Pride Rock being destroyed entirely. But what does this translate this to in terms of raw deaths? Most obviously, there’s Mufasa. The one that Scar personally kills, though he actually kills a zebra, and two hyenas before this. But the real story here is all about the starvation. According to Sarabi, “Scar, there is no food. The herds have moved on.” So what exactly happened? And if Scar has been eating so many antelope, then why is he still so skinny? Well, in real life, lions usually only kill a very small number of animals, considering their size. A lion may go for 3 to 4 days between eating. And even then, they tend to share just 1 carcass with the entire pride. But when Scar letting the hyenas in on the same land as the lions, the herds start leaving for safety. So, how much devastation is there? Well, it all hinges on how big the Pride Lands are. Mufasa tells us, in one of the most memorable lines in 90’s cinema, “Everything the light touches, is our kingdom.” “Wow.” Well that’s great dad, but, just how far is that? Using some pixel measurements of this shot in the opening, and using the average height of a lion of 3.9 feet, I worked out that Pride Rock, at the very top, is about sixty feet tall. From a sixty foot height, the horizon appears at 9.9 miles away. Meaning that Mufasa’s kingdom is roughly a hundred square mile area. Which, unbelievably is actually the area that one would expect a pride of lions to control, according to National Geographic. I don’t know if the Disney animators did this much research, or just looked into it. But that has got to be one of the most incredible factoids I have ever uncovered by doing these episodes. Suffice it to say, we know that Scar brings ecological ruin to about a hundred square miles of plain lands. But then, how much deaths would that really cause? Lets start with wildebeests, one of the key herds we see in the movie. Mainly, when they’re stampeding over Mufasa. Which has got to be one of the biggest wildebeest herds in history, by the way. Roughly one thousand, if you actually count them. That’s almost twice the size of a normal herd of wildebeest. Meaning that when Scar starts out his reign, Pride Rock has one of the most vibrant, enormous wildebeest herds in Africa. And to chase them out of the area is gonna mean a lot of increased hunting and lost food for everyone in the Pride Land. Scar wants to allow not just some hyenas, but a whole society of hyenas into the Pride Lands. I counted a hundred and thirty-nine total in this shot from “Be Prepared”. Which is a massive amount of hyenas to drop into one contained area. Usually, hyena pack sizes top out at about eighty. And with spotted hyenas, like the ones that we see in “The Lion King”, That number is usually even smaller. So how much food would a hundred and thirty-nine hyenas eat? Hyenas consume roughly eleven kilograms, or twenty-four pounds of food every week. In nature, that may include it’s share of tasty wildebeest, but they can also chow down on all kinds of smaller critters and even some bugs. Of course, with Scar’s regime giving the hyenas anything they want, we can imagine a lot more of their diet is gonna be shifted towards the bigger game. Using the slaughter weight, or eatable weight of a wildebeest, we can calculate that eighty to a hundred kilograms of wildebeest is gonna be enough to feed about seven to nine hyenas for a week. That means that each. Week. This massive hyena pack is gonna be chewing through about twenty wildebeest. Now of course, we also have the lions. And lions don’t just eat wildebeests, but we can use research documents like the “Seasonal Diet and Prey Preference of the African Lion in a Waterhole-Driven Semi-Arid Savanna” to figure out just how many other animals the lions would need to be killing in their normal distribution to feed just the hyenas. So each year, the combination of the hyenas and the lions would have to kill a hundred and ten buffalo, twenty seven elephants, forty giraffes, fifty-three kudus, thirty zebras, forty-four wildebeests, twenty warthogs, and seven impalas. So, that’s a lot of animal death, but how long does this go on for? Well, when Mufasa dies, Simba’s height indicates he’s between two and four months old. And when he returns to Pride Rock, he’s a fully maned adult, which puts him at about five years old. So assuming five years of Scar’s rule, and multiplying that by our three hundred and thirty-one kills per year, brings us to one-thousand six-hundred and fifty-five extra deaths, due directly to Scar’s promise to share his food with this enormous one hundred and thirty-nine hyena pack. “Stick with me, and you’ll never go hungry again!” Oh yeah, and then Scar dies in the end. And that, my friends, is what it looks like to get into the big leagues. The new number to beat is “Lion King” with one-thousand, six-hundred and sixty deaths. After fifty-three movies with a whopping total of three-thousand, five-hundred and eighteen total deaths, we only have five contenders remaining in our little battle royale. Will “Mulan”, “Dinosaur”, “Atlantis”, “Hercules”, or “Moana” be able to take the crown from the king, “The Lion King”? We’re now up to entire armies dying, extinction-level events, and acts of god, or rather gods. Of the remaining contestants, let me know who you think has the edge in the comments, and then get out your umbrellas, because it’s gonna be raining G-rated corpses on the next episode. Who will win this literal death battle? I am dying to find out. But remember.. It’s all just a theory. A Film Theory! Aaaaaand….. cut!