Some Disney characters will do idiotic things for the power of love, their pride (literal or not), or just to keep the story exciting, and this usually involves keeping secrets. They say hindsight is a wonderful thing, but for these five cases, it wasn’t really necessary. Here are five films where the characters could have saved themselves a lot of work just by telling the truth.
Stupid secret: The enchanted rose
Belle is a bright girl, so fairly early on she clocks that the castle is enchanted. Instead of shrouding the West Wing in deep and delicious mystery with an all out ban, the Beast could have simply explained:
“You can go anywhere you like, except the West Wing. That’s my private quarters, and I don’t tidy up all that much, even with an army of enchanted servants. If you must poke around inside, please don’t touch the rose. If it gets damaged, we’re all doomed.”
That’s all he needed to say. There are no instructions by the rose or anything else incriminating regarding his Stockholm Syndrome plan, so there was no need to keep this part of the castle a forbidden secret.
Perhaps royalty have a tendency to be vague.
#4. The Lion King
Stupid secret: Simba’s role in Mufasa’s death
This situation could have been diffused in mere seconds.
Simba: “I was responsible for my father’s death.”
Simba: “When I was a cub I scared a million wildebeest with my roar.”
Lionesses: “Bahahahahah!” [pause] “Oh crap, and he’s going to be our king now?”
Seriously, if Simba had thought about this at any point during his exile, he would have pieced together that he didn’t start the stampede after all, and that seeing the hyenas appear minutes afterward was a tad suspicious. This, coupled with Scar using the hyenas to rule the Pridelands should have also rung a few alarm bells. He could have avoided years of shame and self-loathing, not to mention the near starvation of his people, simply by being more specific.
Fortunately, Simba’s in good company when it comes to potentially ruining a whole kingdom.
#3: Sleeping Beauty
Stupid secret: Rose is asleep
The inevitable has happened; the princess has pricked her finger and fallen under the evil spell, so the only logical thing to do is for the fairies to put the entire kingdom to sleep so that they don’t find out. Aside from it being one of the greatest royal conspiracies ever, there are so many things wrong with this solution. Let me count the ways:
1. The kingdom is now at the mercy of Maleficent and her army of demons.
2. Ditto anyone else who fancies a spot of invasion or looting.
3. The fairies have eradicated any armies or back-up they could have rallied to rescue Phillip.
4. And put to sleep any theoretical “true love” who could have broken the spell.
5. Visiting tradesmen and adventurers would have nothing to do except 2. And the economy would collapse.
Clearly Philip wasn’t the only one who should have used a Sword of Truth.
Stupid secret: Aladdin is a “street rat”
You could argue that Aladdin can’t reveal he’s a street rat instead of a prince because then he wouldn’t be able to marry Jasmine. This isn’t an issue in the end because the sultan’s too eager to marry her off and changes the law, but it’s not the real reason he carries on the charade. When urged by the genie to tell her the truth, Aladdin’s exact words are:
“No way! If Jasmine found out I was just some crummy street rat…she’d laugh at me.”
Unless Aladdin is deceptively poor at reading signals, he must have realised she was into him, even if she’s a princess. Otherwise, why go to the bother of trying to find her again? Lying about his roots puts him in several difficult positions; he’s got to maintain this throughout his relationship with Jasmine, somehow blag it when asked to become a sultan, and it also means he has to break his promise to the genie and keep him a prisoner to keep up appearances.
All because of his ego.
Still, at least there is some reason behind the secrecy, unlike in our next film.
#1: Lady and the Tramp
Stupid secret: The dogs can speak and understand English.
Throughout the film it’s heavily implied that the dogs know what their owners are saying and are capable of replying. Instead, speaking to or near humans is verboten, as we gather from a scene where Jock ushers Lady and Trusty around the side of the house, lest Lady’s owner overhear them. There is zero reason for such secrecy, and every reason for them to reveal this. Here are a few choice examples:
The dogs and humans figure everything out anyway (well, except for the second one), but wouldn’t this have simplified things? It would have also spared Trusty a broken leg.
And even if the humans didn’t believe them, the dogs would have more chance of convincing them than with “woof”.
There’s no reason given or implied for keeping their understanding under wraps, other than giving children hope or amusing adults with the notion that dogs are smarter than you think. But that just makes them bastards then doesn’t it – they’d rather die than shout a warning, tell you what’s wrong, or give you words of encouragement when you’re sad.
Maybe they avoid speaking because it would cause panic, confusion and fear among the human populace. For example, people might start campaigning against keeping such intelligent creatures on leads, in kennels, or slicing their knackers off, and others would want to keep things as they are, claim the dogs are happy as they are and deny such a thing had ever happened, leading to a canine rebellion that flares up into an international war where man’s best friend becomes man’s final enemy. At least until a squirrel walked past.
Or Disney could have just taken out that scene with Jock and we could all pretend that neither animal understood the other. But no, thanks to that one inconsequential scene, this is the stupidest Disney secret by far.
Are there any crazy character judgements you’d put on this list?