RogerBW's Blog

Toy Story 13 June 2023

1995 animated action/comedy, dir. John Lasseter, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen: IMDb / allmovie. What if the toys could, like, come to life, man?

I find this a very odd film, looked at with my current critical eye: on the one hand it celebrates and encourages imagination, with toys going on adventures together, but on the other it puts up firm walls: do not imagine beyond this point, or the ground drops away and it gets very dark indeed.

These conscious beings, after all, exist at the whim of a child who doesn't even regard them as alive. They can be ignored, or lost, or destroyed, and they have to accept that these are things that happen and they can't control. They're in terror of being "replaced". So when these people who've known each other for years instantly turn on each other when they meet a minor setbackā€¦ I think they're in a constant state of subconscious existential terror, wanting to enjoy their brief moment of Being Played With but knowing that the eternal darkness can come for them at any moment.

Buzz arrives believing he's a space ranger. The other toys have met new toys before, so the fact that they find this surprising suggests that it's not a usual way for a toy to be. But it's always treated as a matter for humour or aggression, never help or sympathy. Crazy people are funny.

(And he goes limp whenever Andy is present, just the way the others do. Even though he thinks he's a real space ranger. Why does he do that?)

As something of a connoisseur of computer graphics I don't find the primitive imagery here distracting - except occasionally when it moves to the real world, particularly the dark filling station floating in the void, the sort of thing I'd be modelling myself a few years later.

I talk about this film further on Ribbon of Memes.

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