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Bookends / Animated Films

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Note that some Bookends can be spoilers, so beware.

  • Due to Adaptational Karma, Animal Farm (1954) begins and ends with a revolution to overthrow a tyrant: Mr. Jones in the beginning, and Napoleon in the end.
  • Antz: Z muses he's back where he started — he's just a worker. The difference is, this time he chose it.
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood starts with Jason Todd's last day as Robin and ends with his first day. Also, both the beginning and the climax of the movie involve Batman, the Joker, Jason, a crowbar and a bomb.
  • The Boxtrolls begins with Fish looking around for Eggs. In the end, Eggs is asking around for Fish.
  • A Bug's Life opens and closes with shots of the ant island from a distance.
  • Cars 2 begins and ends with Mater rescuing Otis from a ditch and dragging him to Radiator Springs.
  • Cars 3 begins and ends with a race. Also, the last race of the first film ends with the rookie Lightning McQueen choosing to help an old racing legend finish his last race. In this movie's last race, he's an old racing legend who doesn't finish but gives up his place to a rookie, and they both win.
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  • The DC Animated Movie Universe begins with Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, where Barry Allen/The Flash goes back in time to save his mother from being murdered and as a result creates a new timeline. The last movie in this continuity, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, ends with the Flash doing the same again, albeit this time for noble reasons since the world is so devastated that there's little-to-no hope for anyone otherwise. Likewise, the DCAMU's Justice League formed in Justice League: War fighting Darkseid — and their final adventure involves fighting Darkseid.
  • Some examples from the Disney Animated Canon:
    • Lampshaded in Disney's Pinocchio. Not only is the film set inside a book bearing the film title, opened by Jiminy Cricket, but near the beginning of the film, the Blue Fairy brings the eponymous puppet to life, and Geppetto celebrates by activating all his music boxes and dancing. He does the same thing at the end of the film when Pinocchio becomes a real boy, and Jiminy remarks, "Well, this is practically where I came in."
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    • Bambi and The Lion King (1994) begin with the births of Bambi and Simba, respectively, and end as the respective protagonists have Babies Ever After. The Lion King (1994) also begins and ends with its title appearing immediately after the ceremony on Pride Rock.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame is bookended by Clopin asking to figure out, "Who is the monster and who is the man?" and also to "sing the bells of Notre Dame." This is even referenced by the commentators.
    • The Princess and the Frog begins by showing the evening star, then fireflies flying down from the night sky onto New Orleans. The film ends by showing fireflies flying up from New Orleans into the night sky, encircling two evening stars.
    • The first song of the first Fantasia film, is Bach's Toccata in Fugue, ends with what appears to be a sunset; the last song, Schubert's Ave Maria, ends with a sunrise. The second film starts with the "cutter-flies" of Beethoven's 5th Symphony and ends with the cloud of butterflies after the Firebird's Sprite restores the land.
    • Aladdin starts with the Peddler singing "Arabian Nights". Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Aladdin's final movie, ends with the Peddler singing a reprise of "Arabian Nights". The reprise was originally composed for the ending of the first movie, but rejected.
    • Treasure Planet: Jim has fun on his homemade solar surfer and then the police bring him to the Benbow Inn, which is absolutely packed, followed by an indirect view of Silver. And the entire thing doubles as an Ironic Echo.
    • Lady and the Tramp actually begins and ends on a Christmas Day.
    • Pocahontas begins with the first scene fading in from parchment, and ends with the last scene fading into parchment.
      • Also, in the same film, Pocahontas was first introduced standing on the edge of a cliff. The final shot of the film is also of her standing on the edge of a cliff.
    • Verna Felton. The first character she ever voiced in her entire career was an elephant from Dumbo. Coincidentally enough, the last character she ever voiced before her death in 1966 was yes, an elephant from The Jungle Book.
      • Speaking of The Jungle Book, this is how Kaa and the Elephant Patrol are both introduced: at the very beginning of the film, Kaa appears, then the Elephant Patrol; and towards the end, the Elephant Patrol appears, and then Kaa.
    • Hercules begins and ends with a shot of a Greek vase in a museum.
    • Atlantis: The Lost Empire begins with the former Queen of Atlantis sacrificing herself as an attempt to save her kingdom from a tidal wave which then drowns said kingdom. The film ends with her daughter, Kida, becoming the next Queen as a result of her father, the King of Atlantis dying of internal bleeding.
    • The RKO logo at the very beginning of Alice in Wonderland is shown as a banner held up by two playing cards. So is the "The End" card.
    • Similarly, one of the opening title cards seen at the beginning of Dumbo is placed on an orange circle background. That exact same background was used again for the film's "The End" card.
    • Near the beginning of The Little Mermaid, Ariel and her friend Flounder can be seen exploring a sunken ship. At the end of the film, Ursula, now in her One-Winged Angel form actually traps Ariel inside a large graveyard full of sunken ships, one of which was actually used by her love interest Prince Eric to kill Ursula.
    • Beauty and the Beast begins and ends by showing stained-glass windows depicting the characters.
    • Similar to the Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron example below, Brother Bear begins and ends with an eagle (representing the late Sitka) in the sky.
    • The Emperor's New Groove begins and ends with Tom Jones (the Theme Song Guy) singing "Perfect World", with the first time happening after we see Llama Kuzco stranded in the jungle leading up to the flashback, but before Yzma turns him into a llama; while the second happens after Kuzco and Pacha defeat Yzma and turn Kuzco back into a human, but before we see Feline Yzma grumbling as her former crony Kronk starts teaching several children how to speak Squirrel.
    • Mulan: Little Brother the dog leading the chickens.
    • Frozen: When we first see Elsa and Anna as kids, Elsa creates a winter wonderland with her magic, she and Anna build a snowman named Olaf and the three of them skate together. In the final scene, Elsa converts the courtyard into a skating rink and she, Anna and Olaf skate together again.
      • Also, Elsa accidentally reveals her powers to the public by freezing the fountains and most of the surrounding courtyard frozen, prompting her to flee the castle. In the end, Elsa celebrates her powers by turning the courtyard into an ice rink and using the fountains as decorations.
      • Anna's first encounter with Hans ends with him accidentally falling out of a boat into the fjord. In their last encounter Anna punches him off a boat into the fjord after his attempt to kill Elsa.
    • Zootopia:
      • When Judy arrives in Zootopia for the first time, she listens to Gazelle's "Try Everything". The last scene set in Zootopia is a Dance Party Ending where Gazelle is giving a concert while singing this song with most of the cast attending.
      • The climax of the movie is a real-life reenactment of the dramatic scene from the talent show in the beginning where a bloodthirsty predator stalks and attacks a helpless bunny. Judy even repeats her last lines word for word.
    • The Rescuers Down Under:
      • Marahute's first appearance involves her rescuing Cody from falling after he sets her free from a poacher's trap. At the film's climax, she does the same thing after Bernard, Bianca, and Jake set her free from McLeach's cage on his truck.
      • Similarly, McLeach's first scene involves him falling into a pit due to Joanna accidentally knocking him into it while trying to take on Cody. His last scene also sees him fall, which was partially caused by Joanna. (Bernard also had a hand in it, as he ran up the man's leg and tricked her into jumping on him and making him lose his balance.) This time, however, after averting a death by crocodiles, he falls to his death when he goes over the waterfall.
    • Tarzan begins and ends with the musical number "Two Worlds".
    • Encanto begins and ends with Abuela saying "Open your eyes" twice. At the beginning of the movie, she says it in Spanish, and then in English. At the end, she says it in English, and then in Spanish.
  • Finding Nemo: "Time for school! Time for school!" note 
    • Finding Dory ends with Marlin and Dory at the drop-off looking at the view, while the first Finding had Marlin and his late wife Coral looking at the view in their new home.
  • A Goofy Movie actually begins and ends with the sound of Goofy screaming.
  • Happy Feet begins and ends with a shot of Antarctica seen from Earth orbit.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • Hiccup's narration.
      Beginning: This is Berk. It's twelve days north of hopeless and a few degrees south of freezing to death. [...] We have fishing, hunting, and a charming view of the sunsets. The only problems are the pests. You see, most places have mice, or mosquitoes. We have... dragons.
      End: This is Berk. It snows nine months out of the year and hails the other three. The food that grows here is tough and tasteless. The people that grow here are even more so. The only upside is the pets. You see, most people have ponies or parrots. We have... dragons.
    • Also, in the beginning of the film, Hiccup opens a door, seeing a dragon flying and quickly shuts the door. The ending has the same thing, only this time the dragons have now integrated into the community.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 begins and ends with a round of Dragon Racing.
    • A "This is Berk" speech also takes place at the beginning and end of the movie.
      Beginning: This is Berk. The best-kept secret this side of, well, anywhere. Granted, it may not look like much, but this wet heap of rock packs more than a few surprises. Life here is amazing, just not for the faint of heart. You see, where most folks enjoy hobbies like whittling or needlepoint, we Berkians prefer a little something we like to call... dragon racing!
      End: This is Berk. A bit trampled and busted and covered in ice, but it's home. It's our home. Those who attacked us are relentless and crazy, but those who stopped them? Ohhhh, even more so. We may be small in numbers, but we stand for something bigger than anything the world can pit against us. We are the voice of peace, and bit by bit, we will change this world. You see, we have something they don't. Oh sure, they have armies, and they have armadas, but we? We have... Our Dragons!
  • The Incredibles:
    • The Incredibles opens with Mr. Incredible masking up and proceeding to intercept a high-speed pursuit in his Incredibile. The Immediate Sequel Incredibles 2 ends on a similar note, with Mr. Incredible and his family masking up and proceeding to intercept a speeding car in their new, improved, red-colored Incredibile. The start and end of the first film has Mr. Incredible suiting up, only at the end, it is with his whole family.
    • The first movie opens with Bob pursuing robbers who are being chased by police in his Incredibile. The sequel ends the same way, only this time the whole family comes along for the ride.
    • The first and last scenes of Auntie Edna both feature Bob with Edna and Jack-Jack, with Bob being worried and Edna being excited. The main difference is that Edna is taking Jack-Jack at the beginning and then gives him back to Bob at the end.
  • The Iron Giant: The movie begins and ends with beeps. At the beginning, the beeps are courtesy of Sputnik. At the end, they're from the Giant reassembling himself in Iceland.
  • Wes Anderson's animated film Isle of Dogs begins and ends with three kids playing the same taiko drum music.
  • Joseph: King of Dreams begins with an eagle flying in the sky in Canaan and ends with the same eagle flying in the sky, but this time in Egypt.
  • Kung Fu Panda opens with Po having a dream where he is a great warrior, loved by many, and to whom even the Furious Five, the most elite fighters, respect and bow down to. It all comes true at the end.
  • The very first and very last shot of The Last Unicorn are almost identical, and a refrain of the opening song plays over the last minute or so.
  • The LEGO Movie:
    • In the first movie, Emmet's Establishing Character Moment has him follow instructions for a morning routine, with step nine directing, "Eat a complete breakfast with all the special people in your life." Cut to Emmet on his couch, with no company other than a potted plant. Right before the Sequel Hook, Emmet has dinner with the other Master Builders, including his new girlfriend Wyldstyle, as they sit on the Double Decker Couch, which Emmet built without instructions.
    • The Spin-Off The LEGO Batman Movie has some early scenes of Batman returning to the Batcave, then eating lobster thermidor in front of Jerry Maguire alone. At the end of the movie, Batman flies the whole Bat-family (now also including Robin, Batgirl, and Alfred) into the Batcave, and they all eat lobster and watch Jerry Maguire together. As a straighter example, the very first lines in the movie have Batman comment via voice-over, "Black. All important movies start with a black screen", and his last voice over begins with him commenting, "White. All important movies end with a white screen."
    • After the prologue of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, the movie follows Emmet on a morning coffee run through Apocalypseburg. At the end of the movie, Lucy joins Emmet on a morning coffee run through the new world of Syspocalypstar. On a meta level, this ending is also one for Emmet's routine from the first movie.
  • Monsters, Inc. begins and ends with a monster sneaking up to a sleeping child's bed in silhouette.
  • In Monsters University, in the beginning of the film, little Mike walks past the safety line at Monsters Inc. At the end of the film, he does the same thing on his first day as a scare assistant after working his way up Monsters Inc.
    • When Mike first walks into Monsters University, he hesitates a moment before taking his first step through the gates. When he is expelled, he hesitates a moment before taking his first step out of the gates.
  • The first My Little Pony: Equestria Girls features pony princess Twilight Sparkle crossing over into the human world to defeat Sunset Shimmer, ending with her offering her hand to a remorseful Sunset. Two movies later in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games, a fully reformed Sunset Shimmer offers her hand to the human version of Twilight whose gone mad with power, fulfilling her character arc.
  • The Old Lady and the Pigeons begins and ends with a gaggle of American tourists talking in front of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Penguins of Madagascar:
    • The movie begins and ends with Private hatching out of something: his egg at the beginning and a chrysalis at the end.
    • Also the "95%" line.
      Young penguins stranded on an ice floe floating out to sea
      Skipper: Kowalski, What's our trajectory?
      Kowalski: 95% certain we're still doomed.
      Skipper: And the other 5%?
      Kowalski: Adventure and glory like no penguins have ever seen before!
      Penguins flying on jetpacks
      Skipper: Kowalski, What's our trajectory?
      Kowalski: 95% certain this will end in massive, flaming disaster!
      Skipper: And the other 5%?
      Kowalski: Irrelevant, sir! Jetpacks are AWESOME!
  • The Plague Dogs begins with Rowf being drowned in a tank of water at a research facility. It ends with he and Snitter presumably drowning after trying to swim to an island that may or may not exist.
  • Rise of the Guardians begins at a lake when Jack awakens from where he had drowned as a human and ends at the same lake when he is initiated as a Guardian.
    • Jack's face in the beginning of the movie when a child runs through him has the same expression when Jamie hugged him.
    • Pitch first appears from under Cupcake's bed. In the end, his nightmares drag him down to his lair... under a bed.
  • Rock-A-Doodle actually begins with an orbital shot of the Sun rising above the Earth. At the end of the film, when Chanticleer finally crows for the very first time since his departure, we see the exact same shot of the Sun rising above the Earth just right before it turns the evil Duke of Owls into an Eric Cartman-lookalike.
  • Rugrats:
    • The Rugrats Movie opens with the babies imagining themselves in an Indiana Jones-esque adventure. At the end, they play their game again, only now, new baby Dil is part of the team.
    • The sequel, Rugrats in Paris begins with babies playing "The Bobfather" during Lou and Lulu's wedding reception before joining in on the party. The film ends with the same thing happening at Chas and Kira's wedding reception.
  • The first and last Shrek films both begin with the DreamWorks logo in the middle of a nighttime sky. Since the DreamWorks logo at the end is static, Forever After also ends with the logo in a night sky.
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut begins and ends with the song "Mountain Town" sung by the main characters.
  • Spirited Away has the family walking through the tunnel with the mother chiding "Chihiro, don't cling like that, you'll make me trip."
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron opens on a sky filled with clouds that resemble horses, then follows a bald eagle flying through a long Oner. The film ends by following the same eagle for a moment before panning up to the same lightly clouded sky.
  • Strange Magic:
    • Subverted for the songs. The first song in the movie is a cover of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love". Note  At the end of the film the Bog King uses it as part of his Love Confession, only to have Marianne interrupt him with The Troggs' "Wild Thing". Note 
    • Played straight for the boutonniere. The film starts out with Marianne collecting flowers to make a boutonniere give her fiancé but never ends up giving one to him. At the end of the film, she gives the Bog King, her new Love Interest, a boutonniere. note 
  • The beginning and the ending of Tarzan (2013) are both related to the meteor.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie begins and ends with Tom and Jerry chasing each other, all without any dialogue.
  • Toy Story:
    • The opening shot of the first film and the final shot of the third film are of a blue sky with uniquely-shaped white clouds, those of Andy's old wallpaper. (The third film also starts with a sky, making both a film- and a series-wide bookend.)
    • The first film involves Woody and Buzz meeting up with each other while the fourth film ends with them parting away from each other.
    • Within the first film: the movie starts with Andy celebrating his birthday, and Woody reassuring the toys that they won't be replaced. It ends with Andy celebrating Christmas, and the toys looking forward to new potential playmates. Until Andy gets a puppy.
  • Turning Red: The movie begins and ends with photos of Mei. The first time, it's just Mei and Ming, showing how Mei constantly lives under Ming's watch and is pressured to be the ideal daughter for her. The last time, it's a photo of Mei (in her panda form) at the 4*Town concert with all of her friends and family posing alongside 4*Town themselves, showing how she's finally found a balance between her friends and family.
  • The Triplets of Belleville begins and ends with the previous scene being shown on a TV screen, accompanied by the only real lines of dialogue in the film.
  • Up: When Carl takes off right in front of the Shady Oaks nurses, he shouts to them, "So long, boys!" In the short George and A.J., when he comes back in the Spirit of Adventure and "bumps" into the nurses again, he shouts to them "Afternoon, boys!"
  • The Water Babies (1978) begins and ends with live action Book Ends while the rest is animated.
  • Wonder Woman (2009): In the battle at the beginning of the movie, Hippolyta is seen slicing off the head of the son that she was forced to conceive with Ares. In the last battle of the movie, Diana beheads Ares in a similar manner.