Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Axioms Of Change (More thoughts on Toy Story 3)
Do we even need addressing here? I suppose it might be, in order to have a record of my feelings on the ideas shared on the film while they're still fresh. But it seemed pretty clear to me that PIXAR was not only going for broke with their grand finale, but also looking to better illuminate a world that has only recently opened up toward lifestyles & solutions long ignored by the mainstream. And much like a humble parent, Unkrich, Doctor, Lassiter, and the rest of the Toy Story crew have taken great pains to spotlight a changing planet gleaming with the kind of possibilities a child has with their imagination.
- The Sunnyside Day Care tale is one of division brought about by an individual convinced of the inevitable pain brought forth by allowing unconditional emotions to reside. His solutions make sense to a population unsure of their place in the world as confused victims of whatever circumstance left them donated to the day care center. And in the hands of this leader, the aptly named Butterfly & Caterpillar rooms are an interesting play on words for divided states of maturation. A sort of, pre-emptive lifestyle designed to shield certain people from what can be considered "public service". Something a certain number of folks do not see as an enviable position.
- Ken. It's written in strokes the width of a superhighway. Despite the relationship between he and Barbie, it is clear that he is among the more misunderstood citizens of Sunnyside. And even as he had for a time attained a certain level of power before Andy's toys came, he was obviously in a relegated position with noone to really grasp what he was truly about. Much of this begins to change as the recently dejected blonde happily accepts him as a part of a "complete set". Being that they are toys, it is in the clothes-loving that things take a pretty obvious metaphor, and are upgraded by a sense of playfully adult humor without beating his thematic change into our minds. It's a sweet little subplot that ends pitch-beautifully by making him a new leader. Someone who grasps the hopes and dreams of the whole, as opposed to the fearful few.
- To a lesser degree, but no less amusing, Buzz Lightyear's Demo Mode mishap. By leaving the ever-dashing rocket man in Espanol mode, he takes on a romantic persona that comes off as a little superficial until one realizes, we're watching a big budget family film with aggressively fast subtitles. Something that could never have been considered ten years ago. A little something that only gets better as part of the Buzz/ Jessie subplot gathers steam throughout the whole film. And Jessie's growing approval of Mr. Lightyear via this technical goofup is a more than appropriate testament toward shifting cultural attitudes. It could also be argued that the switch on Buzz's back can be seen as a visual nod toward the splintering changes that are beginning to blossom in most unexpected places.
- Andy's decision in the finale & the inclusion of little Bonnie are also strong notions that change, while inevitable, do not have to remain bittersweet as long as there are new minds pouring new thoughts into the mix. After all, in the Toy Story universe, a toy's greatest joys are to be played with & to be there when a child needs them most. For Andy to keep Woody with him at college is fine and sweet. (It is indeed possible that the classic cowboy doll was a keepsake of his never seen father's) But in order for the toys to have a longevity of need, it is important that they remain in the service of the young. Hence the transition. As much as I love many of my old toys, it does pain me to merely leave them shelved. To see Woody and friends in the hands of such a spry, imaginative soul is not only evidence of the immortality of the inner child, but of all of us who long to retain the spirit of one.