Film Theory: Disney's Biggest Disasters! (Moana, Hercules, Lion King…)

*intro music* dooo doo doooo Hello Internet! Welcome to Film Theory! Where I can’t waste anymore time getting to the finale of this theory, because I keep literally being stopped in the streets and asked what one is the deadliest movie is gonna end up being It’s actually a little unsettling how into this theory everyone is Plus, the process of getting through these last 5 EXCRUCIATINGLY historically inaccurate movies is going to take us so long that I literally don’t have any time to waste today No witty banter, no cringey dad jokes, :(((((( Just death, death, and even more DEATH-ok…..- Remember, we ended last episode with our total kill count sitting at three thousand, five hundred and twenty (I forgot to add a two at the end of last episode) Those three thousand, five hundred twenty deaths were comin’ across fifty three movies The top of our deadliest Disney movie leaderboard belonged to “The Lion King”, (survival of the fittest am i right?) sitting confidently atop pride rock and a pile o’ bones with one thousand, six hundred and sixty lives lost, (oh snap!) mostly due to a half a decade of hyenas overfeeding But get ready because today’s challengers are gonna give that number a heck of a run for its money When we started in on this trilogy, everyone on our Theorist Team picked the movie that they thought was gonna end up being the deadliest It’s like guessing the weight of a new baby before it’s born, except instead of pounds and ounces, it’s beheadings and extinction-level events! (I wonder what system this measurement this is!) Hopefully, your pick made it as a finalist because this is your last chance to get those bets in! Your final five, Internet: Mulan, Dinosaur, Hercules, Atlantis or Moana! (Mulan is by far the deadliest in my eyes) Or heck, maybe it’s just gonna stay “The Lion King”. (maybe!) Choose wisely, because lives, and more importantly, internet bragging rights, depend on it Let’s start with what is bizarrely the most straightforward of these final five: Mulan which was a clear fan favorite for death count in the comments And I understand why I mean, you literally see two villages burned, an army of good guys just outright dead in the snow, and the climax of the whole thing is, as we all remember, Mulan using fireworks to cause an avalanche, that buries all but six of the invading Hun army. (ThaT’s alOt of dAmaGe!) Initially, I thought the best way to do this would be to just look at history. (History saves da day!) Mulan the Disney movie, in case you didn’t know, comes from the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, where the female warrior, Mulan, does what the movie would teach us to expect her to do, she takes her aging father’s place in the army to defend against invaders Interestingly enough, though, this is a really progressive story In the original legend, she doesn’t hide her true self from her family, or sneak away in the middle of the night Her family totally supports her decision to become a kick-butt warrior woman. (who wouldn’t?) And she doesn’t even need to fall in love with another soldier I mean, I get that Disney needed to create some conflict or something, but the 5th century historical version of this story is actually a lot cooler, (cooler than that avalanche?) and a lot more progressive than the 1998 remake Feels bad man. D’: (KERMIT NOOOOOOOO) Given that it’s a legend, maaaaaaaybe based in some history, I thought we could estimate deaths based on the number of soldiers in Shan Yu’s real army. (He was real?!!) Buuuuuuuut Shan Yu isn’t a real person. (Oh ok! Almost had a brain-splosion there) If anyone, he’s sort of super loosely based on Attila the Hun, but geographically, Attila’s Empire ended 3,000 miles west of the Northern Wei Empire, where the Mulan legend originates And most of his battles were fought against Europeans So we got ourselves the wrong enemy, at the wrong end of the continent So there were really no Attila battles that I could base this on But, I kept on trying (You always do!) Shan Yu gets his name from the anglicized version of Chanyu title, which is just the generic term for a Hun leader It would be like watching a movie about America a thousand years from now, where the head of our country was somehow named Perez O’Dent! Given that Chanyu is this totally generic title, there is still no battle that we could possibly base this finale of Mulan on It also doesn’t help us that there’s no real historical record of Mulan. (whAaaAaAaAaAaAaaAaT?) While her legend is really famous, she’s usually left out of Chinese history texts (probs cause she was a woman) and seems to be treated like a symbol rather than a real historical person.(ok nevermind) So in the end, with not enough credible information to go on, I had to result to doing a death count the old-fashioned way: counting Except that counting all these people the old-fashioned way would have taken a ridiculous amount of time, so I did it the new fashioned way: a Macro Using GNU Octave, I processed the frames of Mulan to automatically count how large Shan Yu’s horde was The program converts the images into black and white, which, in turn, makes it easier for the computer to count the individual members of the army I had to really fiddle around with the settings here, to make sure that the program only was counting what I wanted it to, soon to be dead Huns After some creative photoshopping, I came out with eleven deaths on the mountainside by aggressive firework, plus an additional hundred and seventy-eight horsemen, and one thousand and forty-eight other soldiers in the avalanche itself, (oh snap!) for a grand total of one thousand, two hundred and thirty-seven kills

Add to that the two villages that we see burned, which, based on the size and proximity to the Great Wall of China, would have had about a hundred residents each As well as the army that gets massacred trying to surprise attack Shan Yu, which we can count in these scenes to be thirty-one, but actually only adds thirty deaths, since one messenger survives the massacre “How many men does it take to deliver a message?” *Awkward silence* “One…” And then Shan Yu himself, we get ourselves a grand total of one thousand, four hundred and sixty-eight It’s worth noting here that I’ve seen a few other different versions of this death count circulating around online, ranging anywhere from two hundred and sixty, to the upwards of two thousand I was as absolutely exhaustive in this analysis as possible, so I feel pretty darn good about that one thousand four-hundred and sixty-eight number, but in the end, it still doesn’t edge out The Lion King With Mulan out of the way, (Nuuuuuu) it’s time to move on to the last of our movies in the princess category Going from Mulan in China-ish to Moana in Polynesia-ish After this, it’s all gods and natural disasters, so Moana is gonna be our last hope for a princess to take home the murder crown Grandma Tala becomes death number one early on in the movie, and death number two quickly skyrockets to death number two hundred and sixty, when Maui and Moana blow up and sink an entire society of Kakamora, the little coconut pirates they meet, in that totally forgettable scene that’s just sandwiched in the middle of the movie Anyway, those little scamps are based on a Solomon Islands legend of the Kakamora, a race of very small people who would steal from island tribes They’re always depicted as cute and harmless Which is clearly why Moana and Maui feel it necessary to sink two hundred and fifty-nine of them, at my best count, mercilessly into the ocean, and then smile about it to each other as they sail away, leaving no survivors in their wake “We did it!” Ba-rutal! Okay, that’s two hundred and sixty It’s certainly a bloodbath, but it is far from record-breaking, but now we get to the curse The whole movie hinges on the fact that Maui stole this powerful heart of Te Fiti, and thereby brought about a thousand-year plague “Without her heart, Te Fiti began to crumble, giving birth to a terrible darkness, (Darkrai is that you?) that will continue to spread until every one of us is devoured by inescapable death!” That means that Maui would be responsible for a thousand years of darkness spreading across the Pacific Islands, which seems like it should be a shoo-in for death and destruction I am certainly excited. >:D Now we do have to remember that except for a single crab god, animal species aren’t sapient in this movie So fish aren’t gonna count And as much as I’d like to think that that leaves us with plenty of room for death, the problem with this curse quickly becomes the fact that it’s just now showing up to Moana’s island which means that it has been coming for a looooooong time Sure, Grandma’s map at the beginning of the movie shows this darkness spreading really fast, and yet when Moana and her dad visit the top of the island, he shows her how long they’ve been living there without any issues No darkness to contend with, for at my count, twelve generations If we’re being generous and say that a generation of leader is turning over every 25 years, which again, Moana’s dad looks significantly older than this but we’re giving it a worst-case scenario, we’re looking at at least 300 years of easy fish and coconuts, without even a hint of a plague I mean if you have that long to become a doomsday prepper, and you don’t build in any contingency plans, I think there’s an argument to be made that you might have had it coming. (corona virus anyone?) Anyway the point is, we need to see if this darkness is actually creeping up on anyone, or if it’s just totally avoidable To figure that out, we’re gonna have to measure how far the curse has traveled Which, we know is gonna be from the heart of Te Fiti, where the curse started, to Moana’s Island at the start of the movie So all we need to know is how far she travels in her boat between those two locations and how long it takes to get there Here’s what we know, we see Moana travel for three, maybe four days at most, her boat is captained by Maui, a master wayfinder and demigod, and her boat is a recreation of a Fijian camakau, (say: camikaw) similar to an out-rigger canoe, that can travel up to 15 knots, or, 17 MPH We’re gonna somehow have to ignore the fact that this boat was also built by those three hundred year old ancestors who landed on Moana’s Island, making this boat so impossibly old that there’s no way it would actually sail, but, whatever Disney We’ll also assume that Moana didn’t sleep at any point during the journey, something Maui considered a sign of weakness as a wayfinder. (gosh she looks bad) So at the boats max rate, steered completely straight by an expert wayfinder, she could sail one thousand six-hundred and thirty-two miles, or two thousand six-hundred and twenty-six kilometers, in four days, which is pretty incredible but we’re giving them the best-case scenario This means that Moana’s island is a little over sixteen-hundred miles from the heart of Te Fiti, or curse ground zero So okay, if the darkness started at Te Fiti, and is just now reaching Moana’s Island at least three-hundred years later,

we’re saying that it took three-hundred years for the darkness to spread sixteen hundred and thirty-two miles Meaning that the curse has spread 5.4 miles per year That is NOTHING!! When you’re standing on the shore of a beach, the horizon you’re seeing is 2.8 miles away From the top of Moana’s Island, you would be seeing well over 12 miles into the horizon You would literally see this darkness coming towards your shores for several years in advance, which is why Moana’s deadliness just falls apart With that much notice, it would be almost impossible to believe that seafaring Polynesian island dwellers, who primarily fish for survival, would be unable to, you know, get in their boats and sail to the next island over when they see the curse coming, thereby buying them a few extra years Even Moana’s tribe of people who are water-phobic are still gonna have time to see their shriveled coconuts, throw some Flex Tape onto those centuries-old boats, and move to the next island, which would buy them more time So the final death tally for Moana, two hundred and sixty-one.(OMG SO LOW) Not. even. close After a thoroughly disappointing performance by Moana, it’s up to the last three movies to knock my socks off, and I’m confident in the next two: Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Hercules Sure, Atlantis: The Lost Empire ain’t one of those beloved Disney classics, with a big plastic VHS cover, but looking back on it, it’s pretty darn good, and at the very least, it is pretty darn deadly But at this point, that’s all I really care about And since “We’re in the endgame now”, it’s gonna need to prove itself in gladiatorial fashion, against another strong challenger from the same part of the world, Hercules! In one corner we’ve got ourself a flood that wrecks an entire civilization, and in the other we have ourselves a complete war between gods and Titans, with the world of man caught stuck in the middle So let’s set up those dueling death tickers and get down to it “Atlantis” there’s a big chase scene with a Leviathan early on in the movie, that accounts for one-hundred and seventy-one deaths right off the bat. (OUCH…) Adding in the King’s death, and the ending battle, we suddenly jump up to a hundred and eighty-five Though it can be hard to tell how many of the explosions we see signifying certain death, and how many are just like, “Pew pew pew! Boom boom! Bhlur bhlur!” As I believe is the technical term of what we’re watching. (i thought you said no banter.) Hercules His kills are mostly taking place during the montage of him completing some of the most famous twelve labors of Hercules Herc’ kills the Hydra, Erymanthian boar, the Nemean Lion which (looks suspiciously like Scar), a sea monster that isn’t part of the labors, but we’ll give him credit for anyway, and then the Minotaur, a Gorgon and some really scary looking bird Two of which were actually fought by the Greek hero Perseus, but you get the idea We can also give Hercules credit for killing Nessus, the Centaur that’s torturing Meg It’s unclear in the movie if he’s officially dead or if he’s just unconscious, but according to Greek myth Hercules does indeed kill him, so we’re gonna go with that and no, we’re not counting Meg, sure, she dies, but she has to die and stay dead Meg gets revived before the end of the movie Also, you can’t count Hades, because he already lives in the underworld So, based off of these early action sequences, Atlantis: The Lost Empire has a significant lead, but at the end of the day, this isn’t really gonna matter Because these numbers are tiny, compared to the huge catastrophic events in both movies The sinking of Atlantis, and the Titanomachy And here’s where the counting has to get creative Atlantis: The Lost Empire starts with a giant tsunami headed for the island of Atlantis A protective barrier, bubble, thing is formed around the center of the island, and sinks into the ocean It’s not as though everyone in Atlantis dies, but we do see a lot of people banging on that bubble from the outside, and the bubble only ends up saving just a small fraction of the land of Atlantis.(ouch…) Which leaves us with an obvious question, and the not so obvious answer: How many people die when Atlantis sinks? It’d be nearly impossible to get a decent guess at this just from the design of the city that we see at the beginning of the movie, so we’re gonna have to go all the way back to the ancient Greek Atlantis story to determine the most likely death toll Ditto for when Hades releases the Titans onto Earth and they start wrecking house Let’s start with Atlantis From a historical perspective, all our information about Atlantis comes from the Greek philosopher Plato You know, the Plato who tells a story about a farmer who finds himself a ring that makes him invisible but corrupts him morally A story that J.R.R Tolkien deeeefinitely didn’t steal Anyway, in his dialogue “Critias”, Plato tells of the continent Atlantis, a 10,000 BC superpower with a great military and tons of technology, so advanced that it sank because the gods got jealous and sent a big earthquake/flood combo to take it down. (it’s super effective!) Sounds fine, cool myth bro, but Plato never mentions how many people live on Atlantis, which would have really done a lot to make my life easier Bizarrely, the mythical estimates for Atlantis’s army ranges from 5 million to over 100 million, and everything in between

but regardless, those numbers give us a bit of an issue, because the population of the entire world at the time in 10,000 BC, would have been somewhere in the order of 1 to 3 million people! Adding insult to injury, Atlantis probably isn’t even from 10,000 BC, because a mistranslation basically changed the entire story to nine thousand years ago, when it was originally meant to be nine hundred years ago So basically, TL;DR, we’re looking for some historical event that Plato could have based his clearly made-up story on, that he then used to pass off as if it were historically true to all his bros So what historic clues can we find in Atlantis the movie? Well, the one thing we actually know is that there was a tsunami So we just have to find a massive historical tsunami at the right time and place to make this happen, and for that ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The Minoan civilization Located on the island of Crete and most prominent from about 2000 to 1500 BC The Minoans are most famous for building palaces and being the inspiration for the myth of the Minotaur, but Minoans are also our best proxy for both Atlantis as Plato reported it, as well as how Disney imagined it The large buildings that we see present in Atlantis: the Lost Empire would have been extraordinarily rare in the ancient world, but the Minoans were building palaces and multi-story buildings earlier than any other island civilization that we know of The Minoan language also checks off the boxes from what we see in the movie Nobody is really sure what Minoan sounded like, because we can’t read the basic Minoan writing system known as “Linear A”, which parallels the fact that no one can read Atlantean in the movie itself “Yes, yes, I can read Atlantean just like you.” “You can’t, can you? “No one can.” And most importantly of all, we have an event that would make sense for the “sinking” of Atlantis Around 1550 BC, right around the real time Atlantis was supposed to be set without Plato screwing up his dates, the volcanic island of Thera- modern-day Santorini, exploded, destroying part of the island and sending gigantic waves to the shores of Crete, only about 70 miles away The resulting tsunami devastated the coast of Crete, destroying cities, ruining coastline, and of course killing a lot of people Now I hear ya, Atlantis is supposed to have sunk into the sea, and Crete is still very much around That said, part of the island of Thera sank, you can actually see where a bunch of it is missing even to this day So the whole idea is still right, for this event sunk an island and destroyed a civilization So for God’s sake, after all of that over analysis, what the heck is the death count? Well, estimates have the eruption of Thera killing 35,000 Minoans on Crete Wow. That’s to say nothing of the people who are on Thera itself Even if we want to use a more conservative estimate, those estimates still run in the range of twenty thousand deaths Definitely enough to dwarf any of our other Disney contenders up to this point So as devastating a historical event as this was based on, the silver lining here is that in the Disney version there is no way “Hercules” can beat this, right? I mean, sure, houses are crushed, temples are blown away, but it can’t measure up to the explosion of Thera, right? Except, interestingly enough, many people believe that the inspiration for the story of the Titanomachy, the exact scenes that we see take place in Hercules, was the massive eruption of Thera The same event that we just attributed to the loss of Atlantis So the long story short here is that the destruction in these two movies are based on the exact same event So what is it, like a tie, then? I mean, effectively For as much as we can calculate real numbers out of poorly documented historical facts, that influenced fictional movies hundreds of years later, yeah Although Hercules is taking place in Thebes, which is much farther away from Thera than Crete is, so there would be fewer deaths associated with Hercules just by proximity alone There you have it. Hercules and Atlantis practically in a tie I mean, of the two, Atlantis would qualify as the more deadly movie, with Hercules in second place, but the two of them have a commanding lead over anything else in the Disney canon that we’ve covered so far Congratulations, Disney, on leveraging a devastating global event for children’s entertainment, not just once but twice But don’t worry, I hear ya “A tie? What?!” “You can’t lead us through an entire flippin’ trilogy on Disney movies, and ruin Christmas, and string us along through this ungodly long episode, that has itself a flippin’ mid-roll just to tell us that it ends in a tie!” I mean, I don’t write the movies, so take it up with old Walt Oh wait! There is still one more Dinosaur That’s right The Disney feature you didn’t know you needed and then definitely continue to not need, because it came out in 2000, and we already had the far superior Land Before Time series since 1988

But regardless, it’s a movie that the Disney Animation Studios made, and it is here where the buck stops when it comes to Disney deaths And I know you’re all like “Oh! Of course! This movie shows the extinction, right? So many millions of dinosaurs died!”, And as much as I’d like to just finally, finally end this with the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, this movie actually doesn’t show that event I swear, that would have put the easy way out! But in the entire film, only five dinosaurs died Two bad guys, two good guys and one neutral Triceratops That’s it I know, I couldn’t believe it either! But if that’s the case, then where else could all the deaths come from? And the grand answer, the answer to where the most Disney deaths come from in the animation studio’s 80-year history isn’t coming from humans, isn’t coming from fish, it’s coming from lemurs Yep. These guys Prehistoric lemurs You might be thinking to yourself, “Gee! I didn’t think dinosaurs and lemurs really lived at the same time!” And right you would be! Pretty much There’s some research that mammals and dinosaurs did overlap for a very short time at the end of the Cretaceous period, when Aladar, our Iguanodon protagonist, was supposed to have lived And it just so happens that one of the oldest animal species to exist in this teeny overlapping sweet spot 60 million years ago were lemurs And yes, historically, you still have to really squint at this one to get any kind of scenario where a monkey family would raise a dinosaur, but we’re just gonna have to go with this one in order to make it to the other side of it So, like I said, very few dinosaurs were actually harmed in the making of “Dinosaur”, but an entire island worth of lemurs were just knocked out in one fell swoop We see a meteor and the associated fallout land on the uncreatively named Lemur Island in the movie, sending the entire island up in flames, except for this small lemur family, and our friendly dinosaur hero The lemur baby even comments that, “They’re all…gone.” šŸ™ (Geez that’s dark) during the film, thereby confirming for us that every lemur on Lemur Island is now a crispy critter But of course that leads to the next obvious question: How in the world do we know how many that is or even how big Lemur island is? Well, in the most bizarre twist of luck, we actually know the real world location of Lemur Island, because historically there is only one possible location It’s the real island off the East coast of Africa called Madagascar “I like to move it move it!” And your biology lesson for the day: The reason lemurs are lemurs is because they evolved all by themselves over millions of years, isolated from all other primate species on the lonely island of Madagascar All lemurs, even modern lemurs, started back on Madagascar So this is literally the only place Lemur Island could be in the entire planet Earth, especially on the order of 60 million years ago, when Madagascar had just started to separate from continental Africa This is also why we only see the dinosaur and lemurs swimming across a narrow channel, rather than a huge body of water, in the aftermath of the meteor strike At the time they escaped from Lemur Island, Lemur Island was just recently Lemur Peninsula So with that incredible stroke of luck, we now know not only where Lemur Island is, but how big it is Madagascar is 226,597 square miles in area But not all of that area is habitable by lemurs Going by its modern-day geography, which is honestly all we got, only about 43,000 square miles of the island is rainforest, which is Lemur habitat and also the area where we see the lemurs living in the movies So how many lemurs could reasonably be living in 43,000 square miles of jungle? OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, this is impossible to know directly, but the lemurs in the movie would have been precursors to the modern ring-tailed lemur, which has a territory size of 0.14 square miles That means that you could fit yourself 307,143 lemurs on to Madagascar at territory capacity, which is how many lemurs we would have the potential to lose in Dinosaur Even if we said it was half that number, even if we said it was a tenth of that number, we still have our winner by a long shot By an apocalyptic landslide, Dinosaur is the deadliest Disney movie of all time Rest in peace, lemurs, in a moment of silence for all the Disney fallen who’ve gone before you *CUE EMOTIONAL MUSIC* So after fifty-eight movies and three incredibly long episodes, what does all this mean, my friends? We have come a long way on the Disney death train. (Or the d.d. train for short!) I wanted to highlight how much we’ve accomplished here by recapping some of our most significant findings

Across the entire Disney canon, fifty-eight original Disney animation studio movies, our estimated total deaths are three-hundred and forty-four thousand and thirty one Which is honestly nothing compared to the number of childhood dreams this show kills on a regular basis (screaming child) Our overall deadliest Disney movie winner is “Dinosaur” and a death count of up to 300,000 sapient lemurs The most deaths of any movie you cared about, or are likely to have seen however, goes resoundingly to Hercules and Atlantis: The Lost Empire, with over twenty to thirty thousand deaths each by volcano Most deaths in a Disney princess movie, as well as Disney’s deadliest princess goes to “Mulan” with just over twelve-hundred, very respectable number Disney’s deadliest and most effective villain is Scar, from “The Lion King”, at sixteen-hundred and fifty-nine deaths (The sixteen hundred and sixtieth death was his own.) Most twisted deaths go to “Alice in Wonderland”, where the walrus eats twelve oyster babies Most tragic death ends up going to the accidentally harpooned opera singing whale in “Make Mine Music” *sigh* Just brutally sad And my personal favorite Disney death goes to Ursula being stabbed in the stomach at the end of “The Little Mermaid” And now, finally, with this series over and all this being said, you can now go and we can all collectively kill off 2018 to start the ol’ kill count back at zero for 2019 This has been an incredibly fun but totally exhausting project to finish off the year I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. This was a blast Let me know if you want me to do something similar for Pixar movies, Dreamworks movies, I don’t know, I’m game for anything Thank you so much for your support over this three-part trilogy Thank you so much for your continued support of Film Theory, and have a Happy New Year everyone! Onward to 2019! I will see you there with more theories More Film Theories! Aaaand cut