Being a tough, grizzled, tobaccy chewin’ kind of rodent I rarely succumb to displays of emotion. But there have been times over the past two years that have caused my granite-like emotional stoicism to crack. Reviewing the entire Disney canon is a bit like pregnancy *dodges wife-flung heavy object* in that no one ever warns you what it does to your hormones and such. This is a list I’ve wanted to do for a while now: the Unshaved Mouse’s Top Ten Moments That Made Me bawl like an infant Chop Onions. How weepy are these moments? Let me put it this way; Bambi’s mother getting shot doesn’t even make the list. So stiffen your upper lip and think happy thoughts because this list is about to nutsack you right in the feels.
# 10- “NO! They pretend they’re going to always be there for you, and then one day they pack up and move away and take their love with them, and leave their declawed cat to fend for herself! They leave her, wondering what she did wrong.” Bolt.
Good grief but this movie does not get the respect it’s due.
#9- “You see, Willie was a miracle. And people just aren’t used to miracles.” Make Mine Music
The oldest, and certainly the most obscure entry on this list, The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met is a short from Make Mine Music that starts out as an hilarious comedy about a whale with a talent for singing opera and takes a sudden massive swerve into darker territory when Willie is harpooned by an opera impresario who mistakenly believes that he’s swallowed an opera singer. It’s incredibly bleak, a story about someone who simply wanted to share his gift being destroyed by a world that cannot accept the unbelievable, no matter how wonderful it is.
Man, I could have made this list up of bits from Lilo and Stitch alone if I wanted to. Stitch’s transformation from furry sociopath to someone who needs love and affection has many steps along the way. This is the scene where he wanders into the forest, hoping that he will find someone to be his family only to be told by his creator that he was never meant to be loved. Harsh.
Aw jeez…he’s had him since he was a year old! Keep it together Mouse, keep it together…
There are only entry two entires on this list from the Scratchy Era, which tended to go pretty easy on the emotional trauma all things considered, but this scene manages to wring real tragedy out of what is, on the surface, a pretty farcical situation. Wart is transformed into a squirrel by Merlin and meets a girl-squirrel who falls instantly in love with him. It’s played for laughs until Wart is transformed back into a human and his admirer’s dreams are transformed to ash. In the midst of all the emotional wreckage, Merlin sadly tells Wart that love is “powerful business”. Even the mightiest wizard in the universe knows that there are some forces that simply should not be trifled with.
#5- “The greatest glory and honour is having you for a daughter.” Mulan
Did I find this scene as affecting before I had a daughter of my own? No. What can I say? Becoming a dad flips a switch. It’s the way that Fa-Zhou casts aside the medal and the sword, articles of honour beyond any price, as if they mean nothing. His little girl is home. And nothing matters compared to that.
#4-“This is my family. I found it. It is small and broken. But still good. Yeah. Still good.” Lilo and Stitch
Look, I just want five minutes where Lilo and Stitch is not trying to break me like glass, is that too much to ask? Seriously, what did I ever do to this movie?
Yeah, you all knew this was coming. I don’t even know what I can say about this scene. Incredibly harsh, emotionally raw, utterly beautiful. And I’ve said it before, Jonathan Taylor Thomas does not get enough praise for his voicework in this movie. Absolutely phenomenal.
Onions. Shut up.
And for the hat-trick…
#1-“Do you want to build a snowman?”- Frozen
Part of me wants to hold off on this until I finally review Frozen, but I couldn’t have any other entry on the top of this list. This is the only one that will, without fail, get me to cry chop onions whenever I hear it. It’s sneaky too, it starts out with that joyous little piano intro so you think it’s going to be a happy, chirpy little number about a little girl whose unflagging optimism finally convinces her sister to open the door and come play with her. But she never does, and the song follows Anna’s mood, starting out happy and light, becoming more forceful and energetic as she gets older, then slower and more melancholy as she stops even trying. And then, after the death of her parents, Anna finally slumps down with her back to Elsa’s door, trying one last time to get through to her. The final, world-weary, “Do you want to build a snowman?” is utterly devastating not because of what’s being said but what’s left unsaid: I know you don’t. I just have to ask one more time. Because after this…I give up.
“Do you want to build a snowman?” in my opinion, is the single most emotionally devastating song in the entire canon because it is about the death of hope.
Now wasn’t that fun? What did I leave out? What should have been higher? What has no business on this list? Let me know in comments.