Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Feels: How Pixar Makes Us Cry Every Single Time

If you’ve never cried in a Pixar movie, you are not human. Admit it—those animated characters can go on the wildest of adventures and give you the biggest of laughs, but they somehow always know how to tug at just the right heartstring. Haven’t we learned by now that Pixar knows what it’s doing, and that we should expect that a depressing scene is coming? Apparently not, because we still always leave the theater bawling like a baby. Oh, Pixar; what have you done to us?

The secret formula

It may be because of the adorable characters. The wide-eyed protagonists may just be cartoons, but the experiences they go through are all too real. Audiences can relate to their emotions—hence the blockbuster success of Inside Out—and the fact that they look too cute to be denied makes us want to root for them and cry with them even more. Or it may just be the fact that Pixar knows how to tell a darn good story—period.

“I think the secret is the combination of Pete Docter and (co-director) Ronnie Del Carmen. Pete has the initial idea, and then he lets Ronny run with it and something magical happens. Also Pete isn’t afraid to go there; he’ll let us go too far and then we dial it back. He’s very conscious about being too sappy, and he has a good sense of that,” says Editor Kevin Nolting from Pixar, as he shares the formula for this kind of emotional connection in all their films. “[The moments] are always very relatable but we have to earn it. We can’t just add a sad beat because we need a sad beat in the movie. We spend a lot of time making sure we can get to that sad beat, that the audience is ready and that we’re not forcing it on the audience. The character arc has to take you there.”

The top ten

Because bringing tissues to the cinema just isn’t enough, here’s a little rundown to help you recall all the times Pixar betrayed you and left you an emotional wreck. Get those sobs ready! (Spolier alert for those who haven’t watched the films.)

10. Wall-E – Eve tries to bring Wall-E back

So the whole movie focuses on Wall-E pining over Eve, but when the final scene hits, it’s like, “Where did our loveable and incredibly human robot go?” You just want to grab all those memorabilia and shove them in Wall-E’s hands just like Eve does—anything to make him come back to us. Oh, and despite the icky-ness of actual cockroaches, you can’t help but feel for Wall-E’s little bud here, too.

9. Toy Story 1 – Buzz Lightyear realizes that he is just a toy

No one wants to have their dreams crushed by the harsh reality of this cruel world. Buzz may be na├»ve as to think that he is real, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to give him a cold, hard, reality check. The fact that he still tries to defy his fate and attempts to fly makes his falling even more heartbreaking. Why are you singing such a crestfallen song, Randy Newman? Why?

8. Toy Story 3 – Andy’s toys hold on to each other

It’s always amazing how Pixar is able to animate the facial expressions of their characters with perfect accuracy. This scene is incredibly powerful, so much so that even though there are no words said, you can really feel the emotion deep inside your soul (and if you cannot, then you have no soul!). The scene shows us just how much solidarity there is among these friends, and that they will stick with each other until the very end—even if that end means being obliterated from existence.

7. Finding Nemo – Dory doesn’t want to forget

Dory is the comic relief throughout the whole movie, but in this scene, she actually breaks down—and so do the audiences all over the world. We tend to overlook the severity of her condition and her fears, because her antics in the movie are just too hilarious. But this serious scene shows us Dory’s vulnerable side—that she’s scared and lost and Marlin is her only home. How can you not cry to this?

6. Toy Story 2 – Jessie recalls her owner

Sarah McLachlan sings “When She Loved Me”. ‘Nuff said.

5. Toy Story 3 – Andy says goodbye

This always makes me want to unearth all my old toys and play with them just for the sake of playing. I absolutely love how Pixar wraps up the trilogy by reintroducing all of Andy’s favorite toys one by one, all while saying goodbye to them. And when Andy hesitates before finally giving Woody away, I am just floored. The toys say goodbye to Andy as he drives away from Bonnie’s porch as well—it just can’t get any more bittersweet than that.

4. Monsters, Inc.- Sulley says goodbye to Boo

Why does Boo have to reopen the closet door after Sulley leaves? Why would she torture herself—and all of us—with her innocence and her devastated eyes? Thank goodness for that final scene of redemption, or else we would have lost all faith in humanity

3. Inside Out – Bing Bong saves the day

Pixar may act like they’re doing all these shows for kids, but when you get right down to it, it’s all about the adult themes. Just like growing up and moving on was the whole point of Andy saying goodbye to his toys, forgetting imaginary friends is a necessary step to becoming an adult. That said, this is still unwatchable without the blurry haze of tears flooding your eyes. Rest in peace, Bing Bong. Here’s hoping that Riley grows up to be an astronaut and goes to the moon for you.

2. Finding Nemo – Marlin loses his family

Who in their right minds would want to give their audiences a sob-fest right at the beginning of a movie? Pixar—that’s who. Sure, it’s all about the natural order of things and the circle of life here, but killing off Nemo’s family smackdab in the middle of when we’re just starting to get comfy is no excuse. Now we’re forced to watch the rest of the movie with that death and devastation looming over our heads.

1. Up – Carl and Ellie’s love

Speaking of death and devastation right at the start, Up is the leading expert on that. Carl and Ellie redefined marriage for the whole world and told the greatest love story ever in just about ten minutes. There are more tear-jerking moments in this film—like Ellie leaving that note for Carl to go have new adventures, and Russel getting that grape soda badge—but this one at the beginning just takes the cake. Just watch the clip. This is where Pixar sucker-punches us right in the feels.

This article was first seen at The Philippine Online Chronicles HERE.

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