RogerBW's Blog

Toy Story 3 24 June 2023

2010 animated action/comedy, dir. Lee Unkrich, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen: IMDb / allmovie. Growing up is a thing now.

This definitely feels like the midlife crisis film for me. Everything passes, and the best you can hope to do is continue the cycle. But also this film had a troubled genesis: before Disney bought Pixar, they made serious efforts towards a Toy Story film with their own new animation unit, Circle Seven. (Tim Allen said he was happy to jump on board with the new corporate overlords; everyone else was a bit more cautious.) Well, it would certainly have been cheaper than using Pixar again.

But now Andy is getting older and going off to college. Woody of course says as he always does that you should trust in the old god; everyone else, like desperate people everywhere, falls for the cult's recruiting pitch, the promise of something better using the framework of the old religion so that the suckers feel comfortable ("you'll be played with every day forever"). And it's even a classic multi-layer scam: once they realise that they don't get all the good stuff just for joining up, they're told that they can their way up by putting in their time and not complaining – and doubtless this would turn out to be just as much of a lie.

The prisoner-of-war film parody was done better in 2000's Chicken Run, though this has its moments. Don't ask silly questions about where Mr Potato Head's consciousness resides, or you might get answers. Stereotyped Castilian Spanish Buzz – well, at least it's not a parody of an ethnicity that the primary audience would be likely to have opinions about already. (Don't ask why his memories can be reset electronically.)

And the ending is blatant emotional manipulation – but it works, even on me. And it promises an actual ending to the narrative: the cycle of toys going from child to child can in theory continue forever even as individual children age.

I talk about this film further on Ribbon of Memes.

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  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 06:37pm on 24 June 2023

    To me this brought the Toy Story series to a close. But I guess Disney needed the money from making Toy Story 4, so they completely ignored Toy Story 3 in the back story of instalment 4.

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