Watching a film on DVD may not offer the same big screen, surround sound experience of the cinema (unless you’ve invested quite a bit in your home entertainment system), but there is one major advantage to watching at at home: control. You can pause the movie whenever you want, allowing you to get a snack without missing the big fight scene, or advance frame-by-frame to spot Easter Eggs – hidden references and shout outs sprinkled throughout many of our favourite films. Easter Eggs are a common way for filmmakers to reward perceptive fans, amuse themselves with in-jokes, or suggest continuity between films. Here are a few particularly fun Easter Eggs to look for.
Club Obi Wan in Temple of Doom. Remember the night club scene at the beginning of the second Indiana Jones movie, when Indy is poisoned and ends up jumping from the balcony while fleeing Lao Che’s goons? If you take a look at the sign in front of the club, you’ll notice the name of the establishment is Club Obi Wan, a callback to another Harrison Ford and Lucasfilm franchise: Star Wars, one of the action DVD releases from Sainsbury’s entertainment.
E.T. senators in The Phantom Menace. Speaking of Star Wars, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas seem to love peppering their movies with references to their other works. Careful observation (or use of the DVD remote) will reveal some familiar alien faces in the Imperial Senate during the first Star Wars prequel. E.T. must have hailed from a galaxy far, far away, for representatives of his homeworld to appear on Coruscant.
Stan Lee in all the Marvel movies. Cameo appearances make great Easter eggs, especially in franchises where fans learn to expect and look for the next appearance. In the X-Men, Spider-Man, Avengers, and other Marvel movie properties, comic book creator Stan Lee has made cameos in a variety of minor, often uncredited roles, and fans know to look for him in future films.
Pixar’s Planet Pizza truck from Toy Story. Not only actors can make cameos, and the repeated appearance of a recognizable object across multiple movies is both a treat for fans and a suggestion of a shared universe. Pixar accomplishes both with the yellow pizza delivery truck that first appeared in Toy Story, and has shown up in nearly every Pixar film since.
Xenomorph skull in Predator 2. Easter eggs can be a clever way for movie-makers to foreshadow future developments. Movie audiences would not officially be introduced to the clash between the Alien xenomorphs and the merciless extraterrestrial Predators until 2004, but the 1990 movie Predator 2 gave audiences a hint of things to come in the Predators’ trophy room, where the watchful viewer can see the elongated skull of Ripley’s frequent foe.
The entire Watchmen title sequence. The opening credits of Watchmen would be worth freeze-frame viewings simply to absorb all the details that Zack Snyder included about the superheroes’ influence on history – like Sally Jupiter painted on the side of the Enola Gay, and the Comedian with a rifle on the grassy knoll – but there are also several Easter eggs for watchful viewers to spot, including a 300 reference using the Comedian’s apartment numbers, Sally Jupiter’s retirement party evoking The Last Supper, and a certain wealthy couple being saved from a mugger outside an opera showing “Die Fledermaus” (The Bat).
Pac-Man cameo in Tron. Just after Flynn and his new friends escape the light cycle grid, viewers are shown a shot of Sark looking at his control screen, which is bordered by a maze of blue lines. If you look carefully, you will notice a familiar string of yellow dots and an iconic arcade game character inside this pattern. Pac-Man made its debut only two years before Tron was released, and the subsequent popularity of the game makes it a highly appropriate Easter Egg for a movie about video games.
The troubling Tribble in Star Trek (2009). Though the recent Star Trek movies take place in an alternate timeline, some nods to the rest of the franchise were all but required in order to reward long-time fans and ground the new movies in the old universe. Many alert viewers were pleased to notice a fan-favourite alien critter, a Tribble from the original TV series, put in an appearance on Montgomery Scott’s desk when we are first introduced to the character. In another wink at the extended Trek continuity, Scotty mentions a failed transporter experiment with an admiral’s dog (Admiral Archer, who was captain on the Enterprise TV series).