The Pixar animation magicians have created a vast and sprawling universe of characters, from humans, to animals, to machines, and even, please save us Baby WALL-E Jesus, to monsters. You might think that, with the exception of some Easter eggs (like the Planet Pizza Delivery truck from Toy Story) that keep popping up from movie to movie because computer animation is tedious and sometimes it’s just easier to reuse some background scenery, the Pixar movies are all discrete, each one a new, insanely imaginative attempt to build a world with its own logic, mythos, and hierarchy. Have you considered, however, that all the Pixar movies to date are part of one enormous universe, and that Pixar hasn’t just been making cool little computer animated movies, but has rather been crafting a grand epistemological and eschatological narrative about the tension between humans and talking animals, the rise and fall of the machines, and the eventual evolutionary hybridization moment when humans and animals interbreed to become time-traveling monsters? Have you considered that?
This is basically the theory of entertainment blogger Jon Negroni, who repurposed and expanded the idea that all Pixar movies are part of one grand story about the rise of machines, the fall of humans, and the eventual repopulation of a bug-riddled, otherwise barren Earth with doughy space-travelers at the utterly well-meaning mercy of Walmart robots that could never evolve beyond their toy progenitors’ servile need to please their human masters. Negroni’s theorizing accounts for every Pixar movie, and is so incredibly exhaustive that, after the fifth paragraph, one simply gets tired of muttering, “This shit is insane,” and starts to see that Negroni may, after all, be onto something (spoilers, obviously abound).
Perhaps the most interesting part of Negroni’s Grand Pixar Theory is that it all hinges on the witchcraft of the witch in Brave and the “mysterious will-of-the-wisps.” This is the beginning and end of the Pixar universe, the moment in human time when animals begin to gradually become more self-aware, which puts them into direct conflict with humans. Shit gets deeper — many years in the future, Chef Skinner from Ratatouille possibly takes his knowledge of cooking rats to Up’s Charles Muntz, who uses this peek into animal self-awareness to invent the collars that allows his dogs to talk. Dori is a vestige of the “stupid” age of animals because she can’t remember anything, but, by this point, animals and humans are in direct conflict. Meanwhile, the discarded toys in Toy Story are developing, over the course of a three-movie arc, a severe dislike of their frivolous human masters, who discard toys (read: prototypes for the advanced machines in WALL-E) when they’re no long diverting. More highlights: the cars from Cars inhabit a world recently abandoned by people; Buddy from The Incredibles creates A.I. with the desire to wipe out the primary threat to robots, superhumans; the insects in A Bug’s Life are basically living in a world only sparsely populated by the dough-people from WALL-E, newly returned to Earth thanks to the adorable efforts of a Jesus-bot.
All that stuff is pretty mundane, though, compared to what amounts to Negroni’s hilarious masterstroke: the monsters of Monsters Inc. live in a very distant, post-WALL-E future, and the doors they travel through are really time portals bringing them back to the peak of human civilization. That’s right — TIME TRAVELING MONSTERS. And the lynchpin, the character around whom all this wacky theorizing revolves, the character who bookends the Pixar universe? I’ll let Negroni tell you:
And then there’s Boo. What do you think happened to her? She saw everything take place in future earth where “kitty” was able to talk. She became obsessed with finding out what happened to her friend Sully and why animals in her time weren’t quite as smart as the ones she’d seen in the future. She remembers that “doors” are the key to how she found Sully in the first place and becomes…
Yes, Boo is the witch from Brave. She figures out how to travel in time to find Sully, and goes back to the source: The will-of-the-wisps. They are what started everything, and as a witch, she cultivates this magic in an attempt to find Sully by creating doors going backwards and forwards in time.
Enjoy the paradigm shift, kids.
The Pixar Theory [Jon Negroni]
Image via AP