Pixar Movies are Underappreciated Art

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“When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? … Just keep swimming.” – Finding Nemo

From the earliest days, humans have used pictures to communicate and share stories with one another. When you’re in elementary school and you can’t read yet, you can look at the pictures and understand the story through the context the visuals provide. Art is everywhere, making us feel things that wouldn’t be possible with our simple reality. Animated movies have a way of opening our horizons and showing us things in creative new ways. 

When I was little, I watched “Inside Out” for the first time and my mind was blown. The part that little me couldn’t get over was why Bing Bong was forgotten and left behind, and why Sadness saved the day in the end. This was a happy and silly movie, so I couldn’t understand why the imaginary friend had to let Riley go, and why Sadness  ended up being the solution even though she ruined everything. While Pixar movies offer fun songs and inventive new characters, there are underlying themes that as a kid, I didn’t grasp. I recently revisited many of these movies and watched them from a new perspective, and what I’ve learned is that these movies are incredible. (Speaking of incredible, “The Incredibles” is probably the greatest movie I’ve ever seen. I’m not kidding. The cinematography is insane). 

Many of these movies have genius dialogue and hidden metaphors that I didn’t notice as a little kid, (I was probably too focused on the fart jokes) but now can see from a new perspective. “Up” was an emotionally scarring, beautiful masterpiece about grief. The “Married Life” montage should be locked in a vault. Dug, the talking dog, shows how unconditional love can be, and teaches grumpy Carl to open up to new relationships again: “I was hiding under your porch because I love you!” 

The thing about animated movies is that they soften the blows of reality. They’ll tell you the hard truth with imaginary friends and colorful emotions. Talking race cars ask you to rediscover yourself and value friendship. A talking dog and an old man with a floating balloon home will teach you that life is an adventure and loss is inevitable, but so is love. Through fantastical lands, talking inanimate objects, and catchy songs, we can learn a lot about ourselves and others when we watch animated movies. What some people call “kids stuff,” I call a magical way to learn, grow, and better ourselves. So instead of scoffing and looking away, let the clownfish lost in the ocean teach you that adventure is everywhere, never to give up, and to above all, just keep swimming.