15 Clever Details From 2000s Movies We Missed The First Time Around

Elizabeth Spina
Warner Brothers via YouTube

The only thing better than experiencing the magic of watching a movie like Finding Nemo or Kung Fu Panda for the first time, is circling back years later and picking up on all the carefully understated details and easter eggs that you missed before.

But to save you the trouble — because even the keenest of observers can miss a thing or two — here's a roundup of the most clever 2000s movie details that you may have missed.

"Shark Tale"

Dreamworks via YouTube

In 2004's Shark Tale, when Oscar attempts to sing Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds," Ernie, the jellyfish, stings him and says that he's singing it wrong.

Ernie is voiced by Bob Marley's son, Ziggy Marley.

"Mr. & Mrs. Smith"

20th Century Fox via YouTube

In the 2005 action-packed Mr. & Mrs. Smith, there's a scene where Brad Pitt interrogates Adam Brody's character, who is cleverly wearing a Fight Club t-shirt — a film that starred Brad Pitt back in 1999.


Giphy | Disney Pixar

The villainous character in the 2007 film Ratatouille, is named after a behavioral psychologist, B.F Skinner, who notoriously specialized in experimenting on rats and other rodents, making Skinner the perfect moniker for someone with a vendetta against Remy.


Pixar via YouTube

In the 2006 Pixar classic, Cars, the barely noticeable sign hanging above Lightning McQueen as he's being dragged to court by Mater loosely translates in English to "The way of justice is paved with the truth."

"Joe Dirt"

Columbia Pictures via YouTube

In the 2001 comedy Joe Dirt, David Spade's leading character works for a company called Scotch Oil.

The name of the company — also labeled on Joe's hard hat — is actually a nod to his friend, the late Chris Farley, whose father owned a company by the same name, and where Chris worked before becoming a comedian.



In Disney's Enchanted, 2007, Robert's secretary, played by Jodie Benson, is the same woman who originally voiced Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid from 1989.

While she didn't play a major role in Enchanted, it was a perfect nod to another Disney favorite.



During one scene of the 2009 film Watchmen, there is an original Watchmen graphic novel carefully and inconspicuously placed on the bookshelf behind the shattered picture frame, giving a nod to the story's original creator, Alan Moore.

"Kung Fu Panda"

Dreamworks via YouTube

In 2008's Kung Fu Panda, both Shifu and Tai Lung had the exact same reactions after getting their paws on the Dragon Scroll: glaring at it sideways, opening it, and reopening it.

Like father, like son, amirite?

"Mean Girls"


Betting that you've seen Mean Girls, 2004, more than a handful of times, there's a chance that you've noticed the arbitrary wrist injury sustained by Principal Duvall.

Turns out, it was strategically written into the film at the last minute after the actor, Tim Meadows, accidentally broke his wrist one week before shooting.

"Mamma Mia!"

Giphy | ABBA

In Mamma Mia!, 2008, and its sequel, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson from ABBA both made appearances that only a true ABBA fan would notice the first time around.

Next time — and there will obviously be a next time — you know who to look out for!


Pixar via YouTube

In the notorious 2009 tear-jerker, Up, Russel has a badge on his sash with a hamburger and birthday candle embroidered on it — a reference to a Californian bakery famous for their hamburger birthday cakes, called Merit Bakery.

"The Emperor's New Groove"


While Kuzko may have not known that he was going to eventually become a llama, parrot, and whale in his lifetime, there was some foreshadowing.

In the scene of 2000's The Emperor's New Groove that gives viewers a glimpse of Kuzko as a baby, he s seen playing with a toy llama, parrot, and whale.

"Men in Black II"

Columbia Pictures via YouTube

In 2002's Men in Black II, both of Will Smith's sons, Trey and Jaden, made a short cameo in the notable chase scene. However, because they were both children at the time, it wasn't noticeable to most fans.

"Finding Nemo"

Giphy | Disney Pixar

In one of the scenes of Finding Nemo, 2003, a certificate displayed on the wall subtly reads that the dentist attended "Pixar University School of Dentistry."

How clever!

"The Dark Knight"

Warner Brothers via YouTube

In The Dark Knight, 2008, the nametag clipped onto the Joker's nurse outfit is anything but random.

Eagle-eyed fans have pointed out that the tag reads "Matilda," which is actually the name of Heath Ledger's daughter.