Sorry, no liberal-arts interpretation here. The scene is enjoyable just the way it is.
5. Toy Story – Sailing No More
However, what makes this scene so memorable is the transformation Buzz undergoes to realize his purpose; Buzz is the best friend a cowboy could ask for. That is what makes him special, not plastic wings, not a red light-bulb on his wrist, and not the decorative stickers of buttons and gauges. Buzz is a hero because he is a friend before anything else.
4. WALL-E – Dancing Defined
It’s simple, is what it is. Two machines playing with a fire extinguisher in space. The reason I love it so much is because there really isn't much more to say.
3. Finding Nemo – The Whale
For me, this scene highlights the dichotomy that exists between our two travelers. Marlin cannot forget the past, his wife and children, or all of his doubts about virtually anyone but himself. Dory can hardly remember her own name, suffering from short-term memory loss, and chooses to blissfully live in the present instead of worry about the future. When the whale instructs her to let go, she does. Not because she knows it will be alright, but because she believes that whatever happens will work itself out. The entire story, indeed, is a lesson on letting go.
Let go of inhibitions, let go of fears, let go of whatever is holding you back. Plain and simple, optimism is more enjoyable than pessimism.
Up – A Love Story
The dual image of Carl with his baby blue balloon, first traversing the perilous sidewalk, and then later returning from the funeral to an empty house, is powerful enough to sink anyone’s heart. I cannot imagine a more beautifully somber opening to an animated film.
1. Toy Story 3 – One More Playtime
Growing up never happens when we want it to. As fate would have it, Andy and I are the same age. I watched this film just before moving out of home and embarking to college. It felt so much more real after Toy Story 3. I had grown up with Woody and Buzz, Rex and Mr. Potato Head, Jessie and Bull’s-eye, and now it was time to say goodbye.
But the most touching part of Andy’s farewell is his commitment to retaining his childhood while passing on his toys to another more imaginative generation. It is difficult at first, but ultimately necessary. I know that look in Andy’s eyes as he waves goodbye before questing onward into a brand new adventure. It is a look of sad recognition and appreciative gratitude. Things can be rough getting older, but memories never age.
The trilogy ends as it begins. The camera pans skyward to a flotilla of familiar clouds. Childhood, like everything, is cyclical. It always comes back right when we need it most.
Now Your Turn
I have a confession, this list was supposed to include seven moments. For the life of me, I couldn't find another scene that affected me as deeply as these six. So I have a suggestion; on the comments below, write out what sticks out in your mind as the most iconic, moving, humorous, exciting, inimitable Pixar moment. What are your favorites?