Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pondering the Depths and Darkness of the Human Soul

Isn't that what Pixar is all about?  Since Wall-E came out last year, I have been pondering how deeply depressing Pixar movies have become.  Wall-E has a happy ending--the robots are in love!!! And, yes, life can now develop again on earth.  But this is after generations of humans have grown obese and incompetent after destroying the planet (and my guess is that most humans did not make it on the spaceships).  So, wooohooo?!

And I was reminded of this tonight, while watching Up with my family (spoilers lurk after the break).

First, the movie starts as a love and death, as the main character meets a girl, falls in love, marries, gets old, and then watches her die before they can go on their great adventure.  So, that is pretty depressing right there.  Then, he responds to the threat to lose his house and be sent to an assisted living facility by connecting his house to balloons and flies away, headed for Paradise Falls, where his wife long wanted to explore and where his hero was last headed long ago.  He does make it there with a boy scout who accidentally stowed away.  When he gets there he ends up meeting his hero, who is obsessed by a rare bird he is hunting.  He sees any interloper as a threat to that quest and kills them.

So, there is the second particularly dark element of the story--that the hero featured at the outset of the movie is an obsessed killer.  So, even though the old guy and the kid get back ok, after saving the bird and rescuing Dug the dog from the killer's herd of nasty dogs, it seems more like a dark thriller or horror movie rather than an upbeat tale.  Indeed, at the end of the movie, the boy's father does not show up, so the old guy gets to replace him--is that good news or bad?

This reminded me, along with the preview of Toy Story 3, of the first Toy Story movies that gave Pixar its big start.  Of course, both of those movies had a deeply sad current in them--that the toys get lost and discarded along the way, so if you imagine that they have hearts and souls, then you must feel very bad about how you treated your toys.

To be clear, I have enjoyed each and every Pixar movie (didn't see the Rat one), as they are incredibly crafted, engaging, and touching movies.  But they are consistently darker than the average kids movie.  Perhaps that is why they are more appealing than most animated films for adults.

So, where does that lead?  Well, I have concluded that SQUIRREL!!   Oh, what was I writing about?  Lost my train of thought.


Jacob T. Levy said...

You should totally see Ratatouille.

Spew Jr. said...

I agree with Jacob. Didn't you already see it? I though you saw it on a plane or we showed it to you. I don't think it was Pixar actually. I think it was dreamworks but i could be wrong.