A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 118 – Toy Story

Toy Story – June 26th, 2010

The first thing that struck me after putting this in is that it’s a damn good thing the toys are the focus of the movie cause the humans are a wee bit too close to the uncanny valley for my taste. The toys, on the other hand, are wonderfully done, which is, of course, the whole point. This is the secret life of the toys we had as kids – and still have. I can count three action figures and twelve stuffed animals in our bedroom. Thirteen if you count the Weighted Companion Cube. And they’re not all mine. There are definitely more in the other rooms of our apartment. And while as a rational adult I’m rather certain that they’re not prancing around and tossing off Joss Whedonesque witticisms in our absence, when I was a kid? Yeah, I totally thought my toys were alive. I anguished over consigning dolls I’d been given but never much liked to the closet. I held on to toys I never touched out of a sense of loyalty to them.

So it’s kind of disturbing and bizarre to see Pixar take that and be all “See? Your toys DO give a damn!” AAAAAAAAH! There’s a part of me that feels like Sid at the end. Suddenly confronted with the eerie truth that these inanimate objects are quite decidedly animated. Thank goodness it’s just on screen, otherwise I’d have some truly T-Rexian guilt going on.

The toys we meet in the movie are certainly a lively bunch. Aside from the whole plot and all, the real charm of the movie comes from the toys themselves and the characters they’ve been given and the performances of their voice actors. It’s fun to see how Mr. Potato Head is a bit of a grump. T-Rex has some severe confidence issues. Bo Peep is a little more come hither than I’d remembered. And Woody is the confident and affable sheriff who leads them all in their daily routine of making sure their owner, Andy, is having a good time playing with them. To be honest, the plot is incidental to me. I just want to see more toys. The whole thing with Woody being Andy’s favorite and then getting replaced when Andy gets a brand new Buzz Lightyear (who has no idea he’s a toy and manages to provide a Wilhelm for us)? Yeah, I get it. Jealousy is an ugly thing, but who’s not familiar with it, right? As an emotional link for the viewer, it’s a tricky one. But it works okay because of their teamwork at the end, working together to get back to Andy after Woody “accidentally” knocks Buzz out the window and is then ejected himself when the other toys find out. Still, for me the whole movie is an excuse to hear the jokes made and see the toys up and about.

Of my two favorite scenes, only one really matters to the plot. The first is the whole thing with the little alien squeeze toys when Buzz and Woody get stuck in one of those impossible toy-grabber machines you see and avoid at arcades. I love that Woody describes the creepy little three-eyed aliens who worship The Claw as “zealots”. What kids’ movie uses the word “zealots”? This one. We desperately wanted one of those toys when this movie came out. They had them at Burger King or something, but we could never hit the right one on the right week and get the damn thing.

Anyhow, my other favorite bit is towards the end, during one of the darkest areas of the movie: Sid’s room. As part of the whole Get Back Home quest/buddy thing Woody and Buzz have going on for the majority of the movie, they end up in Andy’s neighbor’s house. Sid is sort of a younger Scut Farkus, but with more of a focus on explosions and no coon skin cap. Or yellow eyes. Same laugh, though, so I think my comparison stands. Sid is a nasty little piece of work who likes to destroy his (and his sister’s) toys. And in his room is the most fantastic collection of bizarre cobbled together toys ever. A doll head with mechanical spider legs, the bottom half of a Barbie with a winch on top, a jack-in-the-box with a hand that pops out. They’re the stuff of nightmares and the Twilight Zone and I always feel bad that they’re stuck there when Buzz and Woody escape, even if Sid is momentarily too frightened to touch them.

I guess I am glad I took care of my toys, even if I don’t play with them and many of the ones of my childhood have been packed up and given away. At least I know they won’t come after me in my sleep, and that’s a pleasant thought.

June 26, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

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