Anvilicious: Film

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     Film - Animated 
  • Happy Feet has a couple in it, including the Be Yourself aesop and the environmental message that pervades about the last quarter of the film.
  • Brave: Parents should let their children choose their own fate instead of controlling their life. Numerous scenes are devoted to this, including a 10 minute speech at the end. But children should listen to the knowledge and wisdom of the elders and both should have the wisdom to listen to the other.
  • Astro Boy (the 2009 film), while for the most part a cute, fun movie, takes its War And Warmongering Politicians Are Very Bad to absurd levels. Subtle it ain't, particularly when said politician attempts to manufacture a war with a weaker power to make himself look like a strong protector, even claiming they have weaponry they just don't have.
  • The Iron Giant was 86 minutes of "don't judge a book by its cover" and "extremism is bad". Oddly, it went both ways - Kent Mansley shouldn't have assumed that the giant robot was a war machine that should be destroyed at any cost, and Hogarth shouldn't have assumed that the giant robot wasn't an alien superweapon. The film being set during The Cold War helps mitigate the anvil-ness somewhat.
  • Cars 2 is also a case of dropping the moral anvil. The basic message is that organic alternative fuels are good while oil companies are evil. Too bad that people hate this particular movie because of how violent it is and how Mater hogs up screen time.
  • The 2012 film adaptation of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax frequently takes the original book's anti-corporate, pro-environment message to an extreme, beat-the-viewer-around-the-head-with-it extent, especially in the numerous musical numbers. This is in stark contrast to the '70s short, which had an intentional Strawman Has a Point from the Once-ler, when he asked "What about all the people who work here? What would they do if I closed shop?" Even the titular Lorax can't provide a good answer.
  • Quest for Camelot. After watching it, people are likely to ask "could they hammer home the lessons about teamwork and The Power of Friendship any harder?" Yet a popular song from the film is "I Stand Alone".
    • To be fair, this song comes from a character who has lived as a hermit for years before he gets anvilled by the scriptwriter.
  • Frozen delivers the message "you shouldn't rush into marriage and instead take the time to know the other person better" six years after Enchanted delivered it. What's weirder is that most current animated/family films, especially Disney films, have made an attempt to avoid a rushed romance/marriage so the chances of audience members going on to make said mistake are much less than in the past.
  • The Book of Life makes no bones about its mission to take a sledgehammer to some of the nastier aspects of Latin American culture (bullfighting, machismo, etc.).
  • The Secret Of The Hunchback is not subtle at all, specially with the moral of the story: True Beauty Is on the Inside.

     Film - Live-Action 
  • Baraka (1992), which accomplishes the great deed of being subtly (using no words or explanations) Anvilicious (War is bad, the modern world will drive us crazy, monks and tribes are so exotically close to the real things, oh noes!) The movie's director was the cinematographer to the similar Koyaanisqatsi, which was less subtle.
  • The "educational film" Reefer Madness: Notorious for the sheer ludicrousness of the anvils it drops against marijuana - or as it spells it, "marihuana". Apparently, pot makes you a horrible driver, (the one thing that was admittedly true about the film), can drive you insane... and lets you play the piano really fast. Even worse: the movie is just so wrong on every level that modern audiences consider it unintentionally hilarious and advocates of pot legalization use it to promote their cause. The film was recently parodied with Reefer Madness: The Musical. It sends up the original by going even further (for example, claiming marijuana causes cannibalism)... but then turns around and drops its own anvils against censorship with the last number. (Yes, real subtle with the book-burning cheerleaders...)
  • Amazon Women on the Moon ended with another parody of this.
  • Almost every movie ever made that includes drug use, with two exceptions: stoner movies (for obvious reasons), and A Scanner Darkly, which demonizes the war on drugs more than drugs themselves.
    • At the end of both the book and movie versions of a A Scanner Darkly a list of all the author's friends who died or were brain damaged by drug use is included. This is also the implied fate of most of the characters in the story. The users aren't demonized but an anvil is definitely dropped about hard drugs and the user lifestyle.
    • One of those names is "Philip." As in "Philip K. Dick". As in the author (who died of irrepairable damage to his pancreas caused by his drug abuse not long after the book came out).
  • Practically every single film by Oliver Stone. In particular:
    • Platoon. Just in case we didn't get the subtle subtext involved in Stone placing an evil sergeant and a good sergeant in charge of plastic-faced Charlie Sheen's raw recruit as the devil and angel on his shoulder, Stone has Sheen provide a wildly anvilicious voiceover monologue at the end of the movie. "I felt like a child born of these two fathers fighting over my soul."
    • Wall Street. There is only one reason and one reason alone Gordon Gekko gives the "richest one percent" speech near the climax of the film: Stone really seemed to feel the need to lecture the audience about the disturbing power and influence of corporate raiders like Gekko. Story-wise, there's no reason at all Gekko would suddenly lecture Charlie Sheen's character on the subject.
    • Born on the Fourth of July: Two messages to hammer home: The Vietnam War was bad-bad-BAD (and anyone who thinks otherwise is either dumb, a Jerkass, or otherwise seriously misguided), and we must take care of our veterans.
  • Like Stone, Aaron Sorkin seems to have this as part of his brand. His latter-day screenplays are arguably less and less guilty of this, though.
    • The American President has a famous example of this, with the president's (Michael Douglas) press conference at the end. It's even worse when you realize that most of the subject matter, in this case, arguably has precious little to do with the rest of the movie!
  • The Happening. Just in case you didn't get the environmental message pervading every second of the film, there's a crazy scientist on TV at the end whose sole purpose is to drill this into the audience. Oh, and The Power of Love can subvert nature. Cleolinda Jones' Movies in 15 Minutes version of the film comments on this with the line "and angry trees lob an anvil towards the audience" (yes, the link was in the original text).
  • The Poseidon Adventure. Christian symbolism list: Climbing a Christmas tree to salvation? Check. Religious figure in charge? Check. Other religions make a Heroic Sacrifice? Check. Lake of fire? Check. Crucifixion scene? Check.
  • The "coming of age in the hood" parody Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood lampshades the anvils by having the postman, played by producer Keenen Ivory Wayans, pop up whenever a character is delivering a particularly anvilicious speech to loudly exclaim "Message!" directly to the audience. In itself lampshaded when the main character gives a long-winded, confusing speech that pretty much summarizes every other anvil up to that point in the longest way possible, the Postman arrives, looks at the camera confused, and then says: "The *** is he talking about?"
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still. Both of them. The original with its message of "the United Nations needs more power if it is to keep us safe" and the remake with its less subtle message of "the only way to save the Earth from global climate change is by stopping our use of any and all electricity RIGHT NOW!"
  • Johnny Mnemonic. Johnny having the "cure" to an obvious AIDS reference, and that the villain is the medical companies for whom selling the treatments that don't work is more profitable than selling the cure.
  • The Day After Tomorrow has a similarly subtle suggestion that if we don't take care of the environment, the world will end and freeze up to the tropics, causing the equatorial nations to open their borders to the refugees from the US and Europe.
  • The Bollywood film Main Hoon Na is mostly a silly action comedy, but a key plot point involves a reconciliatory prisoner exchange between India and Pakistan that is taken extremely seriously.
  • The film of The Devil's Arithmetic is one long anvil, and includes the line "Why didn't I listen to my grandfather more!?"
  • Crash. Apparently racism is not a good thing. But then everyone in Los Angeles is racist so it's normal.
  • In Dead Poets Society one of the teachers says: "Think for themselves? Of course we shouldn't teach the boys to think for themselves!' It's almost as if the film-makers didn't want us to like him. The death of Neill could be seen as another example of the anvil. The short-sightedness is inconsistent with the character's previous behavior and a direct clash with the oft-repeated theme of the film. Taking a year away from one's dream of acting would be tough, but taking the dirt nap is about as far from "carpe diem" as you can get.
  • Before the 2000s Left Behind series, which is certainly Anvilicious, there was a terrible miniseries in the 1970's or so released on video titled A Thief in the Night. It had a theme song "I Wish We'd All Been Ready," by Larry Norman with the lyrics, "There's no time to change your mind, the Son has come... and you've been left behind!" The videos were about all of the horrible things that would happen to non-Christians at the end of the world. It was like having your TV grab you by the face and scream, "You're going to die horribly, and then you're going to Hell! Repent! Repent!" On the plus side, it doesn't gloat about those sent to hell like its contemporary does.
  • D. W. Griffith. Anyone who has taken film school and been forced to watch his films, from Broken Blossoms to Birth of a Nation, knows that the father of modern cinema was not exactly a master of subtlety.
  • Spy Kids 4 has a particularly bad example. At one point in the film, Carmen tells the new spy kids "A spy is more than his gadgets." Later, the boy is trying to punch open a door with his gadgets. But when they fail to do the trick, he sits there with an upset and puzzled expression on his face, then his face lights up like he saw he was getting 50 Christmas presents and he yells out "A SPY IS MORE THAN HIS GADGETS!" He proceeds to think of a new way to get through, without any gadgets. Way to be subtle.
  • The Bollywood film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, loosely translated as A Pair Matched by God, takes the theme that one sees God in the face of one's beloved to extremes. There's a song called "I See God in You"; the male love interest tells the heroine that he sees God in her; the heroine prays to see God's face, and lo and behold! sees her husband walk toward her. Ultimately, she decides to stay with her husband because she realizes she sees God in him. This is good news for the husband because he sees God in her, too.
  • Bollywood films in general tend to bring over their various messages (parental tyranny is bad, true love is best thing ever, fight for freedom, Brits are awful...) by tacking them to a brightly-colored anvil and dropping that into a huge dance routine.
  • The promotional material for District 9 isn't dropping anvils as much as it is rapid-firing them from a gravity gun. The plot involves refugee aliens being separated from humans in South Africa (apartheid!), humans demanding weapons from the aliens (Humans Are Greedy!), humans saying the aliens probably eat dogs (Fantastic Racism, also apartheid), and taglines to report non-humans (apartheid again). Word of God and reviews have stated the film itself is much less overbearing, though. Word of God from writer/director Neill Blomkamp says that he never intended to make an overtly anvilicious movie - this was just the environment in which he grew up.
  • In Volcano, after volcanic ash covers Los Angeles, a child mentions how everyone looked the same now (cue shot of black guy next to white guy).
  • Charlie Wilson's War featured anvils of assorted necessity, which is unsurprising since it dealt with the Cold War and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The worst offender is at the very end, when Charlie and his friends are celebrating the Russians being run out of Afghanistan thanks to the weapons they helped smuggle in. Charlie's CIA liaison pulls him aside and warns him that religious zealots are starting to show up, just as plane roars over Charlie's apartment which happens to face the Pentagon. The next scene shows him failing to raise a few million dollars (after he had increased the defense budget by literally 500%) because normalizing relations with Russia is more important than building up Afghanistan. The real Charlie Wilson resented the idea that they had basically armed the Taliban.
    • Rather idiotic really, especially as the United States never gave arms to the "Arab Afghans" under Osama bin Laden, because they were a huge Paper Tiger - only Pakistan armed them, but stopped when they realized how useless they were (they essentially became a glorified adventure holiday for disaffected Saudi youth). For their part, the Mujahideen used to "requisition" the weaponry and vehicles sent to Bin Laden for their own purposes - and actually put them to decent use.
  • While his movies haven't ever exactly been subtle, especially with the Humans Are the Real Monsters message (literally every "zombie" movie Romero has made, including The Crazies as well as Night of the Living Dead (1968) and sequels has the main characters almost encounter still living people who are just as, if not more, dangerous as the monsters), George A. Romero cranked the anvils up to eleven in Diary of the Dead, where the main character flat out asks if humanity is worth saving at all over a clip of two guys using zombies for target practice. He could honestly be said to live on this trope.
  • Jigsaw's speech about the evil of insurance companies in Saw VI after William rejects one of his claims for coverage after he finds a potential treatment for his cancer.
  • The 1949 adaptation of Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead is as Anvilicious as the novel it was based on.
  • In Steven Seagal's On Deadly Ground, Seagal battles the thugs of an evil oil company. In the end, he delivers a speech about how evil oil companies are. Written and directed by Seagal himself, the film is one big Author Tract.
  • Left alone, Gattaca is already a borderline case of this, but some of the cut scenes on the DVD really drive the point home.
  • A Day Without a Mexican. The film's only purpose is to showcase the benefits of Mexican immigration to the U.S.
  • "I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why, not even me." The Piano keeps laying it on, thicker and thicker, until you get to the point where the titular instrument is literally pulling the main character underwater. Only marginally redeemed by introducing us to Anna Paquin.
  • The Lost Weekend expounds its "alcoholism destroys lives" theme with very little subtlety.
  • The mediator between head and hands must be the heart.
  • Avatar: Plundering other cultures for their materials is wrong! Embracing other cultures is good! Oh, James Cameron, you're so subtle. The DVD was released on Earth Day, in case the film was too subtle for you.
  • CSA: The Confederate States of America is largely hammering in about how bad slavery is and how backwards the way of thinking is. (And, if you think about it, the movie's message is completely unnecessary, since slavery has not existed in this country for well over a century. If they wanted to mount an abolitionist crusade, they were late to the party.)
  • The first Spider-Man movie was like this with its theme of "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility." One gets the feeling that perhaps anvils are neither big nor heavy enough for this message while watching the movie. It's pretty obvious that many people felt that way, as the "with great power comes great responsibility" line has been made fun of many times in numerous other films and TV shows since then; for example, Kick-Ass was advertised with the tagline, "With no power comes no responsibility."
    • It just builds from there. Very few of Peter Parker's elders ever just shoot the breeze with him; nearly every conversation they have with the kid involves them imparting some profound wisdom with the subtlety of a piledriver.
      Weird Al: With great power comes great responsibility / that's the catch phrase of old Uncle Ben / if you missed it, don't worry, they'll say the line / again, and again, and again.
  • Invoked by the title character in 7 Faces of Dr. Lao throughout the film, but taken to the absolute limits in the finale. The movie centers around a town about to sell out to a tycoon, with a few people believing that what they have in their town (friendships, etc) is too important to abandon for money. These intangible things are too subtle for most of the town to appreciate though, a point that Dr. Lao seems to understand. In the finale, he uses magic to tell a story, which draws close parallels to the current situation to say the least; for example, the characters in the story are identical to the townspeople and tycoon. In the story, the townspeople sell out, causing a violent rapture which seemingly kills everyone. Then, in the real town, everyone is magically teleported back to town hall to vote on the sale.
  • Facing the Giants keeps bringing up God in every other sentence; every time something good happens, who do they thank? God. It's to the point in which some might consider this Christian Propaganda disguised as a football movie.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia movie The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one big anvil (made of several slightly smaller anvils). Wishing you were more attractive is equivalent to wishing you were never born and taking gold that is lying about - with no obvious reason not to - will turn you into a dragon (or, alternatively, into a gold statue).
  • Untraceable was pretty anvilicious from beginning to end. The whole plot is one big anvil about how much modern culture sucks due to its lack of empathy and glorification of violence. That being said, the internet comments that the movie ended on were amusingly accurate depictions of what one finds on various chat boards.
  • The Doctor tries to show physicians should show humanity toward their patients - by making every single physician, including the protagonist, a complete and utter unfeeling Jerk Ass. Aside from the Littlest Cancer Patient, there are almost no sympathetic characters.
  • In Zero, a short stop-motion film, a narrator states that all the cute little yarn people in the story are judged by a big number printed on their chest (which totally isn't a metaphor for anything). On this basis, we see all types of horrors acted out, such as child abuse, Jim Crow/Apartheid-style segregation and discrimination, and even eugenics. Problem is, the brown skinned Zeroes are the only ones we see treated badly, while the blonde haired peach puppets ranked 1-9 mingle freely. You never see any of the white puppets treat each other badly based on number alone, despite the narrator stating outright that those ranked 5 and below are considered mediocre. Thus the ranking system is reduced to thin camouflage for a message steeped in white guilt.
  • X2: X-Men United has general pro-gay connotations, but the negative response from Bobby's mom spells it out so clearly, it's now a Trope Namer:
  • Super Size Me has Morgan Spurlock drop the anvil that "fast food for breakfast lunch and dinner all the time is bad for you" with all the subtlety of a large-scale nuke.
    • Which borders on a Fantastic Aesop because you'd have to be a complete and total idiot to actually eat nothing but fast food for an entire month, and to force feed it to yourself even if you're full.
  • Birdemic is composed almost entirely of Global Warming anvils, despite ostensibly being a romantic comedy/monster movie.
  • The Matrix sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were heavily criticized for being full of lengthy philosophical pontifications by several characters, including Councillor Hamann, The Oracle, The Merovingian (twice), Agent Smith, and Morpheus.
  • Boogie Nights, is not, on the contrary a morality tale against pornography, but rather hubris and not keeping up with the times. First of all, the actors do cocaine because it's the Seventies, not necessarily because they're in the porn industry, which in turn fuels their downfall by making them overconfident, irrational and unable to perform. Secondly, Little Bill killed his wife not because she was a porn star (which in the film is not stated, to my recollection), but because she was cheating on him, and very publically. The other characters barely bat an eye at this, further emasculating him. Note that there are no cameras around the times he catches her. Oh and Drugs Are Bad mmm'kay.
  • The documentary about steroids, Bigger, Stronger, Faster gives the message on how using steroids to get an edge over everyone else is morally wrong, but at the same time, points out how those that do use it, often get over and find success while the ones that don't use and compete honestly, get cheated in the end. He concludes that the reason is because of the American cultures obsession to win, no matter what. This point is brought home when one of the narrator's brother uses steroids to win a lifting competition before the ending credits. Everyone in the family knows he won because of steroids, but they cheer for him and act like nothing is wrong, including the narrator who admits it.
  • Man of Steel goes out of its way to portray Superman as some sort of messiah for the human race. It even has a shot of Clark, tormented by his decision over whether or not to surrender himself to Zod, framed by a stained glass depiction of Jesus Christ's Passion at the Garden of Gethsemane (prior to surrendering himself to the high priests) to push the point across.
    • Though admitedly, that one was more subtle than when he floats out of Zod's ship in a crucified Jesus pose.
  • The Great Gatsby gives the message that it's not wise or beneficial to hang on to one's past, or believe one can make things in the present, like they were in the past. It's best to face ones current reality and act towards the future.
  • The Great Dictator concludes with a 4 1/2 minute speech delivered directly to the camera. Being a rhetorical speech, the actual moral message is a little confused, but definitely down with Hitler.
    • The Great Dictator was shot during the period of the Hitler/Stalin Pact. The Soviet Union, and all Communist parties, spent the period denouncing the resistance to Hitler as an 'imperialist' war that was a plot against the working class. As a far-left fellow traveler, Chaplin thus had to criticize Hitler and anti-Semitism while equally denouncing all attempts to stop him. The resulting moral muddle is thus inevitable.
  • Elysium: Impoverished, Spanish-speaking citizens of Earth trying to illegally immigrate to a space station owned by the English/French-speaking 1%? Bonus points for name-dropping the Department of Homeland Security. Yeah, this film is totally subtle with its allegories regarding illegal immigration, universal healthcare, and the Occupy movements. Then again, this is a movie made by the same guy who made District 9, which had all of the subtlety of a freight train. That being said, Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
  • Team America: World Police has quite a bit to say about the War On Terror and American foreign policy.
    Gary Johnson: "We're dicks! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid dicks! And the Film Actor's Guild are pussies! And Kim Jong Il is an asshole! Pussies don't like dicks, because pussies get fucked by dicks, but dicks also fuck assholes. Assholes who just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think that they can deal with assholes their way, but the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick... with some balls. The problem with dicks is that sometimes they fuck too much, or fuck when it isn't appropriate - and it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes, pussies get so full of shit that they become assholes themselves... because pussies are only a half-inch away from assholes. I don't know much about this crazy world, but I do know, that if you don't let us fuck this asshole, we're going to get our dicks and our pussies all covered in shit!"
  • Frank Miller, Irvin Kershner, Jose Padilha and especially Paul Verhoeven are not aiming for subtlety in RoboCop (in fact, Verhoeven has never even heard of such a concept). The movies gleefully raise Anviliciousness to an art form, bombarding the viewer with Drugs Are Bad, There Are No Good Executives, and Drone Warfare Is A Crapshoot.
  • In-Universe in Godzilla (2014). When asked by the admiral why he doesn't want to use nukes to kill the MUTOs, Serizawa hands him his father's watch, stopped at 8:15. Ever since the morning of the 6th of August 1945, in a town called Hiroshima... Serizawa hopes it'll be enough to dissuade him. Though he's visibly provoked to thought, he ultimately decides to use nukes anyway.
  • Save Me is more than a little this way in its anti-ex-gay message — justifiably perhaps, but certainly not subtly.
  • In Star Wars: Episode III this exchange... Anakin Skywalker: If you're not with me, then you're my enemy. Obi-Wan Kenobi: Only a Sith deals in absolutes. This scene comes only a few years after president George W. Bush in an address to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001 said, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."