Who doesn’t have fond childhood memories of scavenger hunts or searches for hidden Easter eggs? Video game and movie makers have been inspired by this to leave surprises for their fans to find. Some of the strangest Easter eggs can be found in classic science fiction movies. Many of my favorites are easy to find if you’re paying close attention and can click on your remote control’s pause button quickly.
Steven Spielberg has been producing and directing movies for decades. His groundbreaking movies helped shape the science fiction genre into what it is today. Jaws, released in 1975, was so successful that it was followed by three sequels. Between them and the many parodies, it felt like the series would never end.
Four years later, when he produced Back To The Future II, one of the comedy DVD releases from Sainsbury’s entertainment, he included a reference to this immortal franchise. During Marty’s trip to the future, there’s a scene with a movie marquee featuring Jaws 19. Eagle-eyed viewers could see that this sequel was directed by his son, Max Spielberg. I’m not sure I’d put that kind of pressure on my kids!
Pacman was released while I was in junior high school. The game quickly caught on, becoming a top seller and one of the most easily recognized video games of all time. Two years later, as I was beginning high school, Tron came out. Seeing the familiar Pacman and pellets on the board behind Sark was an unexpected surprise.
One of the things that I find especially strange in movies is when the Easter eggs refer to movies made by other companies. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are fond of including these crossover surprises. Unlike some of the other Easter eggs, these are often left plainly visible for viewers.
Scenes in E.T. featured Star Wars figurines and a child dressed up in a Yoda costume. A few years later, the nod was returned when delegates for E.T.’s home planet were present for the senate scene in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.
This is one of those movies that you can watch a dozen times and see something new every time you see it. I love the way that Steven Spielberg makes subtle changes to reflect changes that took place when Marty went back in time.
Marty and Doc Brown meet at the Twin Pines mall in 1985, travel back to 1955, and find themselves at the Twin Pines Ranch. In an attempt to keep from being shot, Marty accidentally hits one of the twin pines with the DeLorean. Once back in 1985, the mall’s signs now read Lone Pine Mall.
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey received mixed reviews when it was released in 1968. The carefully researched scientific facts combined with cutting edge special effects appealed to many viewers, but others found the minimal dialogue confusing. Over time, however, it has become one of the most influential movies in the science fiction genre.
One of the most memorable lines in 2001 takes place between an astronaut and his father via videophone. Unaware that this will be their final time speaking, the father says, “See you next Wednesday.” Screenwriter and Director John Landis uses these words to represent a fictional movie that is mentioned in passing in most of his movies. It’s on a billboard in The Blues Brothers, a poster in Trading Places, it’s a film being shown in An American Werewolf in London, a line spoken in the video for Thriller and on posters in Spies Like Us and Coming to America.
As the Easter egg became more well known, “See you next Wednesday” has been used by other screen writers. Recently, I noticed it at the end of Nightmare in Silver, a Doctor Who episode written by Neil Gaiman, a popular science fiction author and screenwriter and it has also appeared in films as diverse as Hellboy 2 and Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!
I’ve always loved watching science fiction movies. Taking a bit of extra time to focus on the details makes the experience a little more exciting. Something that you thought was just a backdrop may actually be an important detail to pay attention to. (Julia Wolf)