In Real Life
, parachutes are big
; rarely less than twelve to fifteen feet across once unfurled. But in animation (and comics especially), parachutes are usually much smaller — a four to six foot diameter for example — yet somehow, they still manage to work just as well (if not better
) than their real life counterparts. This also applies to airship envelopes, and for the same reasons.
This is based on the Rule of Perception
, as a realistically proportioned parachute would reduce the user to little more than a dot or a line hanging from it.
A type of Balloonacy
, with Parasol Parachute
as a distinct subtrope usually Played for Laughs
. See also Improvised Parachute
, which often fits this trope.
- In Aladdin, the main character jumps from a building and uses an approximately 2x2 foot scarf to soften his fall. Try that and good luck in not reducing your leg bones to shards.
- Undercover Brother. When Undercover Brother falls over the edge of the cliff near the end of the movie, he floats to the ground using his bell-bottom pants as a parachute. They are much smaller than a normal parachute.
- Pee-wee's Big Adventure - when Pee-Wee drives Mickey's Edsel convertible off a cliff, after several seconds of screaming, he raises the top, which balloons out a small amount and floats the two-ton car to a soft landing.
- The Great Race - Professor Fate has a small pedal-powered airship - but the envelope component looks too small to lift the metal gondola framework, let alone a person - and it carries two people. Still, it looks cool.
- The Great Dictator. One of the wacky inventions demonstrated by Grand Marshall Herring is a hat parachute. It doesn't work.
- Almost every dirigible in Girl Genius is ridiculously small for its lifting power.
- The sailcloth used by Link in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword to slow falls and ride updrafts; it's only about two or three feet to a side.
- The Aladdin example under Film also applies to the SNES platformer, though the player needs to pick up the rug first.
- World of Warcraft has raggedy, patched parachutes that are about six feet squares but work perfectly until their time runs out or you land. The engineering tinker goblin glider has a pair of wings that unfold from one's cloak that are about the same surface area.
- The Herculoids. Whenever Gloop or Gleep turn themselves into an Improvised Parachute, they're significantly smaller than a regular parachute - too small to provide the braking power they do.
- Any and every Warner Bros. cartoon parachute.
- Many cartoons show umbrellas being used as parachutes - the real-life consequences are shown on The Venture Bros. when Hank jumps off the roof of the compound with an umbrella (in a Batman Halloween costume), with fatal results.
- One episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) shows the short-but-massive Ram-Man descending on a parachute only slightly wider than his shoulders.
- The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. Penelope once used her scarf as a parachute after jumping from a plane.