April 11, 2011

Things I Thought About While Watching Toy Story 3

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What is the issue?

1. In the logic of this film, if I played with my dead grandfather’s corpse—that is, if I thought of his rotting body as a toy—would he come to life when I wasn’t looking? Would my grandfather still be alive when I looked at him or only when I wasn’t looking? Would he comply with the arbitrary rules to which the other toys cohere?

2. How do the toys deal with immortality? Does it cause them to think about time differently? After all, the only possible end to their lives would be profound mutilation like in a garbage compactor or a fire or by an abusive owner. Presumably the toys will see the last moments of our bloated red sun before it goes supernova. If they somehow get aboard an evacuating interstellar spaceship full of humans, they could be around for the heat-death of the universe. In that case, they’ll be the last living beings, floating through a cold empty void, thoughts disintegrating slowly over the millennia into utter madness.

3. Why don’t the toys ask for the right to vote? As beings of human-level intelligence in full possession of their faculties, they’re entitled to a voice in this country’s government. Anything less would be discrimination. It would certainly be beneficial for the toys, as the first thing they’d vote for is a president and congress that would pass some sort of legislation elevating toys from their second-class status in this country—affordable miniature housing, banning of toy abuse or disposal, and equal opportunity in the job market.

4. Where’s Andy’s dad? Where is he? Is he dead? Are his parents divorced? Huh? Where the fuck is he?

5. What sort of consciousness inhabits the seemingly inanimate materials of the toys? Are they possessed by ghosts? Are people reincarnated as toys? If so, does the personality of the dead person correspond to the kind of toy in which their soul is placed? For example, is a particularly happy person reincarnated as a stuffed animal while a bitter mean person is reincarnated in, say, a plastic dinosaur? Are men reincarnated in male toys while females get dolls? Do still-born babies get reincarnated as toy babies?

6. How do the toys speak? They have no vocal cords, lungs, or tongues with which to vocalize or articulate, so what allows them to speak? On some level, I can accept the logic of a ghost-type entity inhabiting the toys and moving their bodies like hand puppets, but they would still need a mechanism for speech. Perhaps they communicate telepathically, and the movie merely gives voice to their thoughts for the audience’s benefit, like the voice-overs in Dune. It would explain why humans never overhear a giant crowd of toys talking loudly to each other behind the bedroom door.

7. Throughout the three films, toys fall in love—Woody for Bo Peep and Buzz for Jessie—but it’s never explained how toys could consummate their love. If they can’t, does it cause them psychological agony akin to Jake Barnes in Hemingway’s The Son Also Rises? Or perhaps their love is like the love of old people, an affectionate companionship, or the love between little boys and girls, a vague affection lacking any sexual component and based primarily on friendship and play.

8. Shut up, mom, I am watching the movie! Sorry I have a brain and, like, think about what I’m watching. Maybe if you questioned movies more, you wouldn’t watch stupid shit like Under the Tuscan Sun and Just Go With It. How about that? How about that, mom? No, you shut up, I wasn’t talking to you! I’m talking to mom! Shut the fuck up! You know what—screw you guys. I’m going to my room and watch what I want to watch on Netflix. TC mark

Brad Pike

Brad Pike is a writer and performer in Chicago. His writing has been featured on The Sixth Wall, Thought Catalog, The …

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