Wednesday, 30 June 2010

“Goodbye Toys”: A Short Eulogy

Sooner or later, for me it’s always sooner, we get to the place where we see movies less as independent entities waiting to be judged but pieces of “art” that we would (or perhaps not) have a connection. Even if it’s not acknowledged, we have to feel some connection – regardless of how tenuous – to a film we recommend. It was something that occurred to be less than half an hour in Toy Story 3. I don’t know if I was an “unusual” child but I’ve never been enamoured with toys. I can’t remember – even vaguely – any, though I’m sure I must have; I was always literary minded. Toy Story 3 is the type of farewell that many sequels are unable to get. Andt is literally attempting to create an end (and a beginning) for these characters and his tale is excellent…in spots.
Andy is leaving for college and is faced with the dilemma of what to do with his toys. Through chance occurrence after chance occurrence they end up in a school which leads to new adventures for the toys. In the same way that I was never attached to toys I’ve never been attached to previous incarnations of Toy Story, but as much as the writers are using continuity they don't depend upon it and it’s as much a send-off as it as a film complete in itself. Toy Story 3, though, is for children – or at best, the children in us. Whereas Coraline (incidentally another film touching on children and playthings, notwithstanding to a lesser degree) is a film for older children with things to attract the young, Toy Story 3 is the opposite. At its heart it’s the story of a boy and his toys, and (silly me) I didn’t realise that until the end of the film. I don’t know how sinister it makes me sound, but I found myself almost hoping that the film would close with a certain movement of the toys, hands joined, towards a certain burning light; but moments later I realised that any poignancy to be found in such a send-off would be much to morbid (and anti-antimation).
It’s not that Woody’s constant refrain of “We’re Andy’s toys!” is lost on me, but Unrich and Arndt are doing such a good job of making everything else seem fun – notably a particular young girl and her toys – that I forget that Andy is the missing link. Thus, his final moments with his toys doesn’t move me as much as it makes me smile, somewhat ironically; I didn’t really understand it - can't a child survive without toys? And, yet, I did understand. And, then it occurs to me that it (the movie) is not about an end but a new beginning. It’s not heaven, but it’s somewhere close – for the toys, and perhaps for the audience (some of them) too.
(Is there any chance of me getting a “Book Story”? That would really appeal to me.)


anahita said...

I was never really in love with toy story, so I probably won't be watching this until my little brother decides to. Still, it'll be interesting to see if it lives up to the hype :) x

Marcy said...

I was an only child and played with my toys all the time. And I grew up with the Toy Story movies.

That pretty much sums up my feelings for Toy Story 3.

Though Book Story...pretty interesting idea. Are you familiar with the Magic Treehouse series? That was pretty cool.

Wild Celtic said...

I loved Toy Story the Original and Toy Story 3. As a child, my stuffed animals were the only things I had to comfort me in a world where I grew up believing things that were daunting. So, the connections to his toys in these movies move me to tears.
It is interesting to see this different point of view. :-) Thanks for the thoughts. Happy to be a LAMB member, too. My blog is also being featured on MovieFanFare, which is exciting.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

I still haven't let go of my first toys: a plush leopard from when I was three, a Rudolph from when I was four, and a Dalmatian from when I was five (that was given to me by my aunt's beautiful best friend, who I still get tongue-tied around). That ending got me, man. It really got me. I did think they were going to end at that light, too, and some part of me felt that would have been a great note to go out on...but I much prefer the happier ending. I like my Toy Story sweet and hopeful, thank you.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

anahita oh my, the hype is deafening. the amount of "best animated flick ever" i've heard is just annoying.

marcy no on the "magic treehouse". i was not an only child (youngest of three), but i was still very into my books.

wild celtic i suppose in that way it WILL appeal to most people, since most of you seem to love your toys.

walter but such an ending would have been sooooooo poignant.