For many of us, Pixar is one of the building blocks of our childhood (and maybe even out adulthood). With profound storytelling and beautiful animation, Pixar movies have left an impression on our generation and we carry these memories fondly. However, there are some pretty depressing moments in these films that most of us didn’t even grasp when we first watched them. Here are seven sad Pixar backstories you might have missed. Pass the tissues.
1. What happened in the world of Monsters, Inc. to make them react to kids that way?
Think about how all the monsters react at the prospect of a human child being loose in their world. Think about the finely-tuned deployment of government agents and quarantines and the large scale response to just a single human. When was the first time a kid wandered through like Boo? What kind of devastation did the wreck in the monsters’ world? And what the f*ck happened to that kid? I can’t imagine the monsters just let them go kindly…
2. Wall-E had to watch as everyone he loved died
We start off with Wall-E on Earth still packaging trash the way he’s programmed to do and he is the last robot on Earth. While we learn that there were legions of Wall-Es left on the planet to clean up, they all eventually stopped working and broke down, leaving Wall-E completely alone (save for the cockroaches). Then he had to cannibalize their parts so he could keep going. Seriously, go back and watch the movie if you don’t believe me.
3. Where’s Andy’s dad?
We see Andy, his mom, his baby sister, and the family dog throughout the Toy Story movies, but we never see Andy’s dad and he’s never mentioned. There’s no major plot elements that indicate the father’s absence has made a severe impact on the lives of his family. Andy’s a pretty well-adjusted kid. But when you really think about it, most of the toys learn about humanity from their kid (in this case, Andy). If there’s one thing Andy’s toys fear the most, it’s being abandoned by him. And if you really want to cry yourself to sleep tonight, Andy eventually continues his father’s cycle of abandonment by doing the same thing to Woody and the gang.
4. Thumper’s treatment in A Bug’s Life
In A Bug’s Life, a gang of grasshoppers bully a colony of ants into forking over food. One of the darker and more depressing elements is the grasshoppers’ use of their fellow insect Thumper. While he is a grasshopper himself, Thumper is presented as feral and dangerous and mentally handicapped. For God’s sakes, they put him on a leash and use him to terrorize the ants. That’s pretty messed up.
5. Mor’du’s loss of humanity
In Brave, Princess Merida inadvertently turns her mother, Eleanor, into a bear, and we see her struggle not to lose herself to fully becoming a bear. It’s revealed, though, that the antagonistic bear Mor’du is really the son of the chief, which means he lost his human mind and fully transitioned into being a bear.
6. Charles Muntz from Up is a serial killer
While this is less sad and more “Pixar, what the f*ck”, it still goes on the list. Muntz, renowned explorer and adventurer, had been Carl’s hero since childhood and his fall from grace is pretty sympathetic when we’re first introduced to him. He’d been holed up in the Amazon for decades searching for a live snipe to bring back to clear his reputation, and in the process, become a genial old man with talking dogs and cool inventions. But then he starts talking about previous explorers and scientists who’ve crossed his path and, from his warped perspective, tried to wrong him. We slowly begin to realize that holy sh*t he f*cking murdered all those people.
7. Bullseye’s abandonment in Toy Story 2
In Toy Story 2, we discover that Woody is part of set of characters from an old TV show. While Jessie’s abandonment at the hands of her beloved kid is the core of the film and shapes her into a tough, self-preserving cowgirl, Bullseye’s abandonment is completely glossed over. He’s a sweet and trusting little pony who adores the toys he loves and generally the puppy of the group. Since he’s unable to talk, we never learn about the kid who ditched him before the movie but just imagine being unable to speak and being deathly afraid of being boxed up. Just think about it. Now cry with me.
Are there any sad backstories you noticed in Pixar movies? Let me know on Twitter so we can cry together!