Death, the worst Pixar story ever
I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately. I start this with full knowledge that I will, in fact, make a weak argument and a depressing one at that. But I venture on regardless.
I’ve laid in my bed recently needing something to watch to put me to sleep. I venture between two polarizing genres. Horror and Disney-style. I know. I recognize myself to be a bit emotionally all over the place. My film choice seems to reflect that. Princess Diaries. ABCs of Death. Inside Out. The entire series of SAW. Thus the 7 stages that people talk about, but I couldn’t name them off the top of my head. (for the sake of fake journalism I googled. Shock/Denial, Pain/Guilt, Anger/Bargaining, Depression/Reflection/Loneliness, The Upward Turn, Working Through It, Acceptance/Hope and I instantly don’t know what these last ones mean) Perhaps I am in stage 4. The last three sound like bullshit. Perhaps they don’t apply to death. I’ll figure that out I suppose in the next year.
So here is to the point of my article, which seems to have started on a more serious discussion. But my motivation came with a thought as I sat in bed contemplating which Disney-esque movie to watch. I’m in that mood I suppose. And then I thought about how every movie on the Pixar-Disney scale has someone kick the bucket at the beginning. Such cavalier acceptance of the fact that Nemo’s mom was eaten by a barracuda, Bambi’s mom was shot, Elsa and Ana couldn’t save the world from eternal winter without mom and dad’s tragic end, and Cinderella’s mom mysteriously disappeared and then dad bites it (in the Disney version with no explanation and in the Ever After version via heart attack [note I’ve seen Ever After like 200 times and you’d think that was an exaggeration but it isn’t]). Wall-e the whole world dies, Toy Story dad is gone, Bo in Monsters Inc. doesn’t seem to have any parents at all, UP the adorbable old man loses his wife and I think the cute asian boy scout is sans at least one parent.
So, what’s up? I think what gets me more than anything is that there isn’t a story yet about the actual death because I tell you me, that in its self is the worst thing ever. Ok, I don’t think a kids story about a dying dad or mom isn’t any good. Hence the worst Pixar movie ever. And it probably wouldn’t do well in the Box Office. I can see the headlines now. Having been an active member of this death story for the past 9 months, I can tell you it isn’t Pixar material. But it makes me wonder why death has to start off any of these stories. Is death somehow the thing that sets all lives off on some magical successful journey?
I ask because here I am at the brink of it. And I have to say, death, living through the very real story of death, really does change pretty much everything. There is that invincible thing they talk about with people in their 20s, and it always seemed a bit fake to me. I certainly lived my life on the edge at one time or another but I was never unware of the fact that I could die or will. However, I find myself here, 29, having expected that year before I turn the Cosmo-style milestone of 30 (flirty and fabulous?), would be some sort of step into the best years of my life, and I’m finding it to be the worst year I’ve ever had. And what I know now of death made me re-evaluate everything.
This year has also been the most insightful. Because it removed that shade. The one that hung over the Disney movies where the parent died and I just accepted it as part of the story. Now it suddenly has meaning. And I’m a little pissed off at how lightly those damn Disney characters take it. “ ‘Scuse me Amelia Thermoposlis Renaldi. But your dad died 2 months ago. I know you’re going to be a princess and shit but let us cry a little.” “Hey story tellers, the 8 years later part where we just forget about poor deceased mom, no so cool, you skipped over the heart breaking bit.” “Hey light hearted person just enjoying your day, DEATH IS ALL AROUND.” (I’m not bitter I swear. Ok I’m a little of the angry stage. Just a tad.)
I wish it were something I could describe, but I’ve discovered death is a club that some of us join on different scales. Some of us earlier than others. But I still wonder what is going through the Disney minds. What collective part of them decides that the worst thing ever, the loss of a parent, just sets off the perfect ending? I suppose I will see.