Review: Toy Story 3 (no plot spoilers)
Oh, the toys. This movie made me think of my Beanie Baby collection crammed in a box in my room. I went in expecting to cry and found myself, surprisingly, dry eyed. The toys go into this film knowing what they are up against and, though they say they’ll always be there for Andy, I find it surprising that Andy is similarly attached.
In various parts of the film, the toys find themselves at Andy’s, at a daycare center, the dump, a garbage bin—all of their worst fears are confronted and they are, quite literally, accepting their deaths. Watching the film, all I could think of was, at what point does a toy die? The Potato Heads’ body substitution and missing parts lend themselves to some interesting questions about whether toys can feel pain. Is the only death for a toy being irreparably broken or shredded? Toy Story 3 seems to think so.
Toys are treated like zoo animals, traumatizable and moody (did anyone else think of certain ‘Happy Feet’ scenes when looking at Chuckles?). Most of Andy’s toys are still children in this immortal setting, optimistic go-getters, while toys like Jessie and Chuckles are realistically cynical about their owners and situation.
The toys’ immortality, combined with their eternal changing from owner to owner, is a very scary prospect. Sitting in the theatre and watching the toys being thrown, chewed, and pulled apart in a daycare center, I wondered what on earth they felt. Pain? Does pain go away for a toy?
There was an article on The Simpsons’ Itchy and Scratchy, not this one (http://www.snpp.com/other/papers/bf.paper.html) but it’s as close as I can get. It mentioned that Itchy and Scratchy never die, regardless of their intestines being fed into a movie projector, being decapitated, etc. Their eyes remain intact. There is no closure of death in Itchy and Scratchy, only unconsciousness and coming back just in time to be exploded.
Toy Story toys are certainly not so immortal. While they do not die of old age, they do “die” if they suffer grievous shredding, decapitation, etc. They can be emotionally traumatized as well, something Itchy and Scratchy seem immune to.
But, despite these musings, which really don’t lend themselves to answers, I enjoyed the film, mostly for the moments of the toys desperately trying to get back in touch with Andy. Woody’s speechless moment, crouched in the dark with Andy’s cell phone as Andy repeats ‘hello? Hello?’ over and over was an excellent piece of writing and animation. However, the ending felt tugged into place, not as seamless as some of Pixar’s other films, but it was a good ending.
And, finally, I went in shipping Buzz/Jessie. I was pleasantly surprised. For those who are curious, (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1482048/) – voices a lovely Spanish Buzz. Having that barrier-breaking switch (ha ha) to romance just shot the character development right forward like a truth serum. And the dancing wasn’t bad either.