Round 1: JDub on Disney Pixar's Up

Posted 1/16/2010 by JDub in Labels: , , , , ,
Disney may not have come up with the idea of ending a story with the "happily ever after" concept, but they sure did perfect it. They also managed to convince 50 years worth of children that "happily ever after" is the way stories should end. Even in real life.

Most of the time, the "happily ever after" idea is evoked surrounding Disney characters finally getting together romantically. In "Cinderella," they ride together in a fancy carriage toward his fancy castle, and the story "ends" with their marriage.

Pixar's latest film "Up" begins by spending about ten minutes setting up a love story between Carl and Ellie, and this time, their marriage is the film's point departure. Their archetypal "happily ever after" moment sets off one of the greatest montages I've ever seen, but the message Pixar ends up sending here is far less idealistic than it has been throughout Disney's past.

Carl and Ellie's goal was always to make it to Paradise Falls in South America as part of their "Adventure, On!" mantra. The montage shows them throwing change into a large jar to try and save enough money to buy plane tickets to Paradise Falls.

But as it invariably seems to do out here in the real world, life manages to get in the way. The opening montage shows things like tires going flat and storms damaging their house, which force Carl and Ellie to have to dip in to their Paradise Falls fund for repairs. As the montage closes, Carl and Ellie grow old together, living their life and simply never making it to Paradise Falls.

The conflict between the "happily ever after" ideal and the reality of Carl and Ellie's life seems to be what drives Carl to make a last ditch effort to get to Paradise Falls and tie a ton of balloons to his house and float on down there. Obviously a certain element of fantasy will pervade kids' movies, but I'm quite happy to see modern Disney working to right the ideological wrongs of Classic Disney: there's no such thing as "Prince Charming," and life will always get in the way of "happily ever after."

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