- The key piece of evidence: A gun that shoots a blue toxin-pellet at animals that make them go savage.
- A blueberry that will take the place of the toxin-pellet.
- A voice recorder.
- Obviously, the gun is the whole reason they’re all there. At first, they had a whole train car full of evidence, but that blew up, giving them one last piece of evidence, the gun, which still has a pellet in it. They’re on their way to deliver it to the police station, and Mayor Bellwether has come to intercept it.
- Amazingly, they just happen to have a blueberry on them. When Officer Hopps quit the force, she was working on her family farm when she realized what the toxin was. She suddenly hopped in the family’s truck and took off immediately, accidentally bringing along what they were selling, including a carton of blueberries. Later, Nick (who has always made fun of her for being a farmer) mockingly eats the blueberries while they drive. Finally, in the finale, she gets injured and he takes out his handkerchief to bind her wound, only to discover that he was using it to hold blueberries.
- Finally, it’s established early on that Hopps always has a voice-recorder-pen on her. This has already been a plot point three times, and none of those times feels like a set up for later. Each feels like a self-sufficient scene with its own pay-off.
In retrospect, all of these objects were set up so that they would be in place at the end, but they were all set up subtly, without calling attention to themselves. Hitchcock was called a “director of objects”: This is because objects are so essential to thrillers and mysteries. A huge part of the creator’s job is to get all the right objects in the right places at the right time, without calling attention to it.
Finally, tomorrow, we’ll look at how they set us up to be fooled by the heroes.
My memory is a bit hazy -- the days of binge-watching Pixar have faded as my girls age -- but I think the ending of Up was similarly well structured. Carl's cane became a tool of action; the tennis balls on its feet that had been used for a gag earlier became vital; other stuff that I'm blanking out on right now.
There's something so damn satisfying about those pieces snapping into place when they've been set up well. Zootopia set it all up so well you didn't even know you were being set up until it was over. (It's called a hustle, sweetie.)
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