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Nobody does wonder like Pixar. Now the Mouse House’s most reliable money-maker, the Emeryville-based studio have been on a run of form (Cars films aside) like no other organisation before it, causing envy and admiration throughout the industry. Their films are fun for kids, often have something there for the adults and can be either massively uplifting or heart-breakingly poignant. They’re masters of their craft, and can always be relied upon to deliver a rip-roaring good time.

Yet while they might appeal to adults, they have to stick to the formula for kids films – namely, there must be a happy ending, otherwise the three-year-olds in the audience might go home irreparably scarred. It just wouldn’t work if Nemo died in the end or Mr. Incredible hadn’t solved his midlife crisis, and the writers obviously know that. Yet in their efforts to make everything hunky-dory, they ocassionally slip up, closing a troubling door only to open a disturbing window.

Actually, it shocks me just how many Pixar films have an ending which spells out awful consequences for the cast. Granted, it may not do this overtly, but if you read into it just a little (or obsessively, in my case), you can find cracks behind the happy facade.

Before I start, I obviously have to say that a SPOILER WARNING is in effect. All criticism aside, if you haven’t seen the Pixar back-catalogue, you owe it to yourself to do so. Just ignore the Cars films.

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This article was first posted on July 1, 2013