There are three things that Pixar excel at. Fantastic animation, colourful characters – and feels. Lots of feels.
Seriously, this ONE company has made so many crying moments that sometimes I swear it feeds of our tears! No other film company has reduced me to bawling like a baby more than Pixar – even Disney! (And that’s saying something considering Disney made Bambi)
Ok, in all seriousness, Pixar films are fantastic. They have such deep meaningful stories that make you look at your own life and make you appreciate everything you have, without being too overly preachy. They are also extremely funny as well, but Pixar is mostly remembered for the emotional elements as much as the funny stuff. To tell the truth, Pixar can get really depressing sometimes (again, Disney). And today, I decided to look at my personal pick for the Top Five Feels in my Top Five Pixar films.
Whereas most Top Fives I do are in no particular order, I decided to list these entries in the order of my favourite Pixar films, based on how much they burned my soul! XD
Toy Story 3 - Lotso Replaced
Lotso is kinda like The Governor from The Walking Dead – a seemingly welcoming and kind person that is, in fact, a tyrant. He rules Sunnyside Daycare Centre with an iron fist, treating it more like a prison than a daycare centre and has a complete lack of empathy for anyone. He’s even willing to let Woody and the other toys die in a smelter. Basically, he’s a really nasty piece of work.
But when you learn his backstory, you kinda feel sorry for him. In a flashback, it’s revealed that Lotso was at one time the favourite toy of Daisy – along with Big Baby and Chuckles. Treated well and looked after, Lotso felt loved – until one day, he and the other three toys were left alone in a field. Desperate to get back, Lotso went through hell to try and get back to Daisy – only to find that he had been replaced by another Lotso toyed. Heartbroken, this caused him to snap. Disillusioned and heartbroken, Lotso forced the other toys to leave with him, until they found the daycare centre – which Lotso proceeded to take over.
How tragic is this, really? How would YOU feel if you fought to get back to someone you love, only to find out you were replaced? That’s a pain we can all relate to. This scene is actually made all the MORE tragic once I saw a video by How It Should Have Ended – who often take a humorous look at how films should end. In this version, Woody says to Lotso that he wasn’t abandoned – the reason that Daisy replaced him was because she couldn’t bear to be apart from him. If this IS true then this means that Lotso’s anger was unjustified – as what he thought was a betrayal was actually an act of love.
It’s this scene that stands out the most for any of the Toy Story films for me and one of the reason why Lotso is one of my favourite villains of all time. Whilst I couldn’t include this on my main list, I still think it’s worth a mention.
All righty then! Let’s get to the main list. Have your tissues at the ready – this is gonna get sad!
Monster's Inc - Saying Goodbye to Kitty
Monster’s Inc was a film that I went to see with my friends when I was at college – and I had to try REALLY hard not to cry at this scene. Which was pretty hard considering the content.
Sully and Mike (top “Screamers” at Monster Inc) accidentally come into contact with a human girl, leading all manner of shenanigans. At first they think the child is dangerous, but later Sully and the girl (who he names Boo) become very close. And so a friendship is born.
This friendship eventually leads to Sully uncovering a conspiracy by his boss Waternoose, that leads to him being arrested. Whilst this would be a happy ending, it’s made sadder by the fact that Sully and Boo can never see each other again (because Pixar hates you and can’t bear to see you happy!). Sully and Boo say a heartfelt goodbye, leading to many viewers crying. Sully disappears through the door and Boo opens it again – only to find he’s not there. Her “Kitty” has gone from her life.
However, this scene is almost immediately negated when, a few minutes later, they repair the door to Boo’s home and Sully goes back to see her. Kind of a cop out really, but I guess I can’t complain too much as I did want them to get back together.
There is a fan theory that the witch in Brave is actually Boo – and that she learned to travel through time using doors. Evidence to support this is the fact that you can see Sully and Mike in pictures in her home. I’ll let you decide about that, but sounds legit to me. Anyway, this scene is pretty sad, but it has a happy ending, so that’s why it’s kinda low on this list.
Finding Nemo - A Father's Promise
Marlin and Coral think they have it all, a good house in a good neighbourhood and children on the way. Everything is all set up – until they are attacked by a barracuda. Marlin tries to help as Coral dashes to protect her unborn children – but he is knocked out. When he comes to, his wife and most of his unborn children are gone – presumably eaten. In one fell swoop, he has lost everything. Almost.
Only one single egg remains and Marlin vows to protect him, calling him Nemo.
Let’s just try and process this. Not only did Marlin lose his wife, but he lost virtually ALL his children. It’s one thing to lose a loved one, but an entire family is crushing. The way he cradles the egg is like it’s the most important thing in the world – and it is. This makes his journey to save Nemo when he’s captured all the more desperate. Marlin is a truly heroic father in every sense of the word, as he’s going through hell to save his son. That makes him one of the most heroic characters in Pixar history.
And it was all down to this scene. Yes it’s heartwrenching, but Marlin would never have realised how strong a father he is unless this happened.
The Good Dinosaur - Reunited With Family
In an alternate timeline where the dinosaurs still existed, and humans are primitives, Arlo is a sweet natured, but cowardly dinosaur that just isn’t cut out for farm life. When his father dies and Arlo becomes separated from his family, he has to try and get back home – making friends with a caveboy that he names Spot. Together they go on a great adventure and form a strong friendship, something we haven’t seen since Monster's Inc.
At the climax of the film, Arlo reaches home – but before he did, they discover a tribe of cavemen, which are actually Spot’s family, whom he thought were dead. Reunited with them, Arlo (realising how important the bond of family is considering how much he misses his own family) painfully decides to let Spot go back. He then draws a circle around the family (referencing an earlier scene), Spot and he share a moment and OH DEAR GOD, WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME PIXAR?!?
What makes this scene even more gutwrenching is that there is no dialogue throughout, so it’s all through the actions of the characters. This means that even though you don’t hear their voices, you feel their pain. It’s one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen on film. The friendship these two have made warms the heart and it’s sad that it has to end for them both to be happy. This one scene alone makes The Good Dinosaur a masterpiece in my eyes – even if it did crush my soul!
Inside Out - "Take Her To The Moon For Me..."
What can I say about Inside Out that hasn’t already been said. It’s a marvellous film about emotions and growing up and – well, learning to cope with your own emotions and how the people around can affect that. It also gave us one of Pixar’s loveable loons – Bing Bong.
Whether you find Bing Bong cute or creepy, there’s no denying that all he wants, like Joy, is for Riley to be happy. Having been forgotten about, he wants to reconnect to the child in Riley and continue their games – wanting to take her to the moon. He becomes a likely ally for Joy and Sadness when they get disconnected from the main brain and Riley’s “thought islands” start to break apart. In a desperate attempt for Riley to be happy, Joy abandons Sadness – but in the process she and Bing Bong get trapped in the Memory Dump, about to be erased.
Realising they are about to be wiped out, Joy laments her situation and reveals that all she wanted was for Riley to be happy. Whilst watching a former memory of Riley’s, which started off sad but then happy when her friends came to her, she realises now that Sadness is important. Finding Bing Bongs magical sled, they try to escape, but they realise they are too heavy. Therefore, Bing sacrifices himself to let Joy escape – asking her to “take her to the moon…” He then fades away with a smile.
Bing’s death was pretty much like watching my childhood vanish and I think this is why Bing was so critically acclaimed. He represented childhood, something that we all cherish. It’s arguably when we are the happiest and seeing Bing go was like a transition from child to adulthood. It’s always sad when you have to let that go (although many managed to hold onto it which is great!). Add to the fact that Richard Kind (who is a fantastic actor) was actually crying when he said these lines, it makes it even more emotional.
I think it goes without saying that when I saw this at the cinema, my 3D glasses were steamed up. This scene stayed with me for a long time afterwards and still haunts me to this day. There is apparently a theory (according to some promotional shorts) that Sadness and Joy somehow made Riley remember Bing again, but I dunno. It would kinda cheapen his sacrifice if that was the case.
Up - THAT Opening Scene!!!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. For me, Up is and always will be the best Pixar movie ever – possibly even the best animated film of all time. One of my favourite love stories of all time, my plan is to watch this film without crying. Not succeeded yet.
At the beginning of Up, we meet Carl and Ellie as children. Carl being a huge fan of the explorer Charles Muntz finds a common friend in Ellie, who wishes to one day move her “clubhouse” to Paradise Falls. Becoming friends, Carl makes a promise to take her there one day. After this we flash forward several years to when Ellie and Carl are married. We are then treated to a wonderful montage where we see them move into married life. Ellie and Carl settle into the “clubhouse”, making it their own home and they get jobs and eventually wish to start a family – only for Ellie to find that she is infertile, which is pretty sad in itself. Remembering the promise that Carl made, he and Ellie gather some money to pay for a trip to Paradise Falls, but real life gets in the way and they constantly have to abandon their plans (something we can all relate to). Eventually, they make enough money to travel to Paradise Falls and Carl tries to surprise Ellie – only for her to fall ill. It then goes from Ellie in hospital, to Carl at the end of her funeral, ending with him walking into the house – all alone.
Never have I seen a montage perfectly capture the love and pathos of a married couple within four minutes. Even though there is no dialogue, the music perfectly captures the love between the two of them and the audience feel what they feel. This is why it is especially painful for us when Ellie dies. It reminds us that we are only mortal, but love can live on forever. And when Carl tries to fulfil his promise to Ellie, it acts as testament to the love the two had for each other.
Another scene to mention would be the bit where he reads Ellie’s scrapbook near the end of the movie, seeing all the pictures of her and Carl in the “Things I have to do” section. He then finds Ellie’s final message “Thanks for the adventure, now go have your own,” revealing that her being married to Carl was enough to make her happy. And then that final scene where the house lands on the cliff.
I dare ANYONE to see this opening montage without crying. If you can then you are either heartless or just a stronger person than me. This montage is one of the best I have ever seen in a film and Up is just one of the greatest love stories ever told. Proof that love never dies.
So now that tears have been shed, I’d love to hear from you guys – which Pixar films had YOU in the most tears? Please leave a comment below to let me know.
Thanks for reading guys.