Created By: Stratadrake on September 13, 2011 Last Edited By: Stratadrake on January 18, 2013

Swinging Jailbreak

How else do you escape from a suspended cage?

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Needs a Better Title.

Hanging cages are one of the stock imprisonments that a Big Bad can secure the heroes in while deciding whatever he's going to actually do with them. Of course, once he's out of the room, the heroes will come up with a plan to escape -- and one of the first things suggested to them (perhaps by the Cloud Cuckoolander, because they're always right) is to start rocking and swinging their form of imprisonment back and forth.

Generally, the idea is that they'll get the cage swinging widely enough (and fast enough) that it will impact a nearby wall, causing the door of the cage to pop open (or snapping the cage loose from its mooring), and they're free!

This usually works, although the exact details of how tend to vary.


Examples

Animated films

  • After Nigel's Villain Song in Rio, Jewel's idea for escaping the cage the smugglers have placed them in is to bash herself against the sides to get it swinging. When she asks if Blu is going to help, he asks why they can't just open the cage's latch -- which (much to Jewel's surprise) he does easily.

Live-action films

  • The crew's manner of escape from the Peligostos cannibal tribe in Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest after being suspended in two cages hewn from human bones; they are able to grab a nearby cliff face in the process and climb their way up, although it takes a little longer to actually free themselves from the cage.
    • The third movie used a comparable escape from the bleak white abyss of Davy Jones's locker, when Barbossa realizes that Jack's frantic back-and-forth running across deck is actually an attempt to capsize the Black Pearl. (It Makes Sense in Context.)
  • In Time Bandits, they don't swing the cage, they swing one of themselves at the end of a long rope hanging from the cage. Which they got by partially unraveling the rope holding the cage up. Hilarity Ensues.

Video Games

  • In Another World, the hero is at one point trapped in a hanging cage with a native. The player must get it swinging with careful button presses to escape (whereupon it crashes on a nearby guard).
  • During Disc Two of Final Fantasy IX, Marcus and Steiner are imprisoned in this manner. It is the player's job to get the cage swinging fast enough to crash into a nearby ledge and break them free.
  • This is the manner for rescuing Beat hidden in Mega Man 7: Shooting Beat's cage causes it to swing back and forth, and it ultimately shatters against the wall.

Western animation

  • In a first-season episode of Beast Wars, Cheetor and Tigatron were captured by Megatron after being hit with a Mode Lock-inflicting weapon. It was Tigatron's idea to swing their cage loose.

Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • September 13, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ The animated film example needs to say which film it's from.
  • September 13, 2011
    elwoz
    In Time Bandits, they don't swing the cage, they swing one of themselves at the end of a long rope hanging from the cage. Which they got by partially unraveling the rope holding the cage up. Hilarity Ensues.
  • September 14, 2011
    Stratadrake
    @Paul: Hm, I could've sworn I had put the film name in already. But thanks for noticing.
  • October 2, 2011
    elwoz
    bump.
  • January 26, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Bump. I have no new examples to add, myself, but does anyone else?
  • January 26, 2012
    Rognik
    Video Game: Another World: The hero gets trapped in a hanging cage with a native. Thanks to a loose chain, it crashes on a guard nearby.
  • January 27, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Did they start swinging the cage around first?
  • January 27, 2012
    Treblain
  • January 27, 2012
    JonnyB
    Done in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
  • January 28, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^ Already got that one a long time ago.
  • January 28, 2012
    Rognik
    @Stratadrake: the cage swayed very slightly, probably as a hint. The player has to actively encourage and push in the proper directions to get it swaying enough to escape.
  • January 29, 2012
    Stratadrake
    So it's like the FF 9 example then. Thank you.
  • January 30, 2012
    JonnyB
    Will and Holly do this in Land Of The Lost, when they are first captured by the Sleestak and are suspended in a netted cage over a smoky pit (with apparently some sort of monster down in the pit, that is never seen). Unfortunately, it doesn't get them very far, as they are immediately recaptured.
  • January 31, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    Are we just talking cages, or would being bound by looped chains or ropes do as well? I've written this trap a time or two myself, an old villain favorite. Bonus points for a Lava Pit underneath.
  • January 31, 2012
    Duncan
    I remember Eric Idle is trapped in a parrot cage in The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, but I don't remember how he escapes, and may be mixing this up in my head with Time Bandits, mentioned above (also by Terry Gilliam). Does anyone else remember this?
  • January 31, 2012
    Rognik
    ^^ If the victims of the pendulum prison get out of it through some sort of swing variation, then yes. If it's just them in a prison that's swinging, it's not quite this trope.
  • January 31, 2012
    captainsandwich
    What about the title pendulum jail break?
  • February 1, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^^^The Baron, Berthold (Idle's character), and a young girl are locked in a giant birdcage by the King of the Moon. The head of the Queen of the Moon brings Muchousen the key to unlock it. (The King and Queen's bodies can act independently of their heads, and vice-versa.) No swinging.
  • March 23, 2012
    Rognik
    (bumping up) New example!

    Western Animation: Atomic Betty: one of the episodes has the heroes lowered down into boiling magma. To escape, Betty shoots a claw-rope out to a pipe, pulls it to one side, then lets it swing to the other side where it snaps off.
  • March 27, 2012
    aurora369
    A correction for the Final Fantasy IX example: there's no Zidane, there are Marcus and Steiner, and it's Steiner who starts rocking the cage.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Bump; still needs a better name.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=skxdjcgv2bta77l6yjpet9oe