A man once said that he always looked on the optimistic side of life, but was realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter. While we have triumphant moments, there’s always a time when our heroes are down and must get back up to keep fighting for their dreams. The man in question is Walt Disney, and this influential quote has been the cornerstone of many of our beloved Disney movies. What started with just a mouse, has since grown into a colossal company, branching out from woodland creatures, to superheroes and waging battles in a galaxy far, far away. So many times we’ve journeyed through magical adventures, singing along to every musical number and wished that there was a happy ending to forget about our worries and our strife. But somewhere along the way, there’s a roadblock everyone must come across in life. To overcome the sadness and bring happiness back to the story. With every death, there is new life. With every abandonment, there is new friendship. With every heartbreak, there is new love. With every suffering, there is new hope. So many of these examples are showcased in nearly every Disney movie. But to get to the happy, we have to get through the unbearably sad. Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but scream at the TV “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO THEM??!!” Disney is incredibly gifted at hitting you right in the feels. So I’d like to share some of the saddest moments in Disney that make me cry out in despair and in some cases, I never want to watch the film again. Are you ready? I’m already a blubbering mess and I need to write the freakin thing!! Tissues at the ready, here we go:
DUMBO: BABY MINE
A couple of moments spring to mind here that make me never want to watch this film again. The first is Mrs. Jumbo awaiting her baby from Mr. Stork, but after seeing all the other animals getting their bundles of joy, her wish doesn’t come true. The look on her face as she looks into the sky and the realisation hitting her is heartbreaking. The second is the teasing of the other elephants when Dumbo does eventually arrive is cruel and wicked. But the moment that makes me drown in my tears is the comfort Dumbo’s mother gives when she is locked away and desperately reminds her son that she is still around and to not despair. A gentle cradle in her trunk as Dumbo rocks to sleep with the swooping music, almost as if Jumbo is singing the words ” You’re so precious to me, sweet as can be, baby of mine”
OLIVER AND COMPANY: OLIVER NOT PICKED
Why was Oliver the last to be picked? Why was he left in the pouring rain waiting for a new owner? Why did they have to make him look so adorable with those big, sad eyes as he’s curled up in the box that I just want to reach into the screen and take him for myself? Why is all of this in the first few minutes of the film? I can hardly breathe, where are the tissues?
HOMEWARD BOUND: SHADOW DOWN
Shadow is the “old-timer” leader of the group. A wise dog that will not stop until he is back with his best friend. Although he limps out of the muddy hole in the end, we have to witness him giving up his quest after hurting his leg, and lies down, telling the others to go on without him. It’s an incredibly sad moment for anyone who has pets or animal lovers in general.
TOY STORY 2: JESSIE PLAYS NO MORE
Jessie knows what it’s like, more than Woody or anybody, to be abandoned and feel unloved. Thinking herself and her best friend Emily can take on the world, the little girl eventually grows up and replaces dolls with make up. As the dusts builds under the bed, so too does the longing for one more play time in Jessie. To them, we are everything, their whole reason for being made. Left on the side of the road, she will never see Emily again. I searched for every toy I ever put away in a drawer and pleaded for their forgiveness after watching this.
THE FOX AND THE HOUND: THE FOX LEFT BEHIND
Speaking of abandonment, nothing will be as awful than Mrs. Tweed leaving Tod in the forest in order to save his life from the villainous Amos Slade. Heart wrenching on several accounts: After the loss of her husband, Tod was the only companionship Mrs. Tweed had, and the closest thing to a son. She was also the closest thing Tod had to a mother. The look of confusion and terror on the poor fox’s face and the looking back of the widow as she drives away is the main reason I can never bring myself to watch this film again. We know it’s the right thing to do to save him from the mean man, but damn…
UP: DREAMS SMASHED
Up is a great film with an adorable talking dog and a devoted Scouts boy. But like Saving Private Ryan, the opening is the best part. Albeit a very touching one. We see the blossoming of two young children falling in love and building a life together. Seeing baby shaped clouds in the sky, we know where this is heading… Or so we think. Carl can be seen in a doctor’s room comforting his wife Ellie as she suffers a miscarriage and cannot have children. They try to embrace their childhood dreams themselves and save up money to travel to Paradise Falls. Money however needs to be used for more pressing, stupid adult matters, and they never get to fulfill their dream together. Ellie then suffers a heart attack and passes away. Leaving Carl to sit in his home with an empty char beside him. The film does get happier though. Cross my heart.
TOY STORY 3: FACING DOOM TOGETHER
Here we are again. The toys are back in town. And another moment to make me blubber. Seeing the end is near for the gang in a big, blazing incinerator, they hold hands and welcome death together as a family. An incredible moment of bravery and sadness, these toys had been with us for 15 years. To see them face death this way is probably one of the darkest scenes in Disney history. Too much for adults to watch, much less the kids!!
INSIDE OUT: RILEY MISSING HOME
This film encapsulates what a kid is thinking growing up. So many thoughts running through the minds of little ones, soaking everything in while trying to find their place in the world. When the struggles of moving home and not fitting in is thrown in the mix, it’s hard to keep it all in and knowing who to talk to, as you remember the good times you used to have. When Riley confesses to her parents that she misses her old home, it breaks the soul in two. Even more so when she finds out her parents are feeling the same way. Oh, and also Bing Bong fading away as Riley forgets him all adds up to another Disney film I can’t watch again.
There’s a few sad moments but for me, I just love and feel so sorry for Wall-E that I can’t ever have him on screen again. All alone on a desolate wasteland. His adorable robotic eyes. His love and affection for Eve. The way he says her name. Ugh, my heart can’t take it!! Honorable mention over.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: EVERMORE
The live action adaption of the oscar nominated classic was a faithful one. Giving the tale as old as time a fresh twist to it, breathing new life and depth to the characters, and the songs a more broadway and peppy feel. It was a surprise then to have a couple of new songs blend in so well, as if they were there all along. One song that left a puddle (of tears) on the floor for me was the Beast’s. Releasing Belle from his captive, he looks on as she fades from view. But hoping one day she will return, and he will be waiting in his lonely tower, by an open door. For Evermore
THE LION KING: MUFASA DOESN’T WAKE UP
This is greatest Disney film of all time. No question. Need a reason? How about it’s based on a Shakespeare play? The huge opening? Unforgettable songs? A dastardly villain? A death scene? Well it’s all here!! But why does that death scene have to be so traumatic??!! A tragedy that will always be in the top 3 saddest moments in Disney history. Even in the number one slot. And rightfully so. It’s hard to choose another after witnessing the death of the King. But more importantly, the death of a father. As Mufasa’s son Simba tries desperately to wake him up, he then curls up into his big arms. The warmth of his father reminds him that this was where the future king always felt safe. A life lesson presented to kids in animated form. The Circle Of Life.
COCO: REMEMBER ME
This is the greatest Pixar film of all time. No question. A heart-warming story about bringing families together again, even in death. The song Hector sings to his daughter Coco before he has to leave is a sweet tale of remembering the ones you love. When Coco hears the song again years later before she dies, she remembers her father and forgives him before meeting him again. This film will forever be close to my heart as it is was released around the same time I lost a loved one. The ending scene as Hector is finally welcomed back into the family and together again in the afterlife after so long apart is an image I would love to believe is true with my grandparents. And without music in real life, she wouldn’t have been the dancing queen that she was.
What are your saddest moments in Disney?
Have I missed any? I’m pretty sure I have (Bambi I hear you shout).
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Now excuse me while I listen to Disney songs to cheer me up.
By George Millard