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Goodbye Childhood: Toy Story 3 Reactions June 22, 2010

Posted by Zack in Movies, Pop-Culture.

This is not a review for Toy Story 3.  This is merely my reaction to seeing it and how much it seemed to (oddly enough) affect me. Having said that there are spoilers in the article about the film.  If you haven’t seen it yet and intend to then I urge you not to read this until then.  Otherwise, please enjoy.

I was maybe ten or eleven when I received a Buzz Lightyear figure in my stocking for Christmas.  I played with that thing for months after that.  Buzz was always my favorite growing up.  He was fun and exciting.  He, to me, represented that one toy I always got every single year that out ranked my older ones.  But it was more than that.  Pixar had wisely created a character, that also became a toy, to end all toys.  I saw Buzz not as something or someone but as a constant that no matter what was going on around me, it’ll always be fun and cool to have.

I had Buzz and my little brother has Woody.  We would always make crazy adventures for these toys to go on and spend hours just playing and watching the movies.  We saw both Toy Story movies together in theaters and were always excited about rewatching them over and over again.  Hours went by as we argued about which toy was better.  Chances are he doesn’t remember any of this, him being six at the time, but I remember it fondly.

Now, I think back on that and kind of laugh at the absurdity of my thought process.  To be so emotionally connected to something that has no actually personality or life is somewhat odd for me now.  I’m not saying it’s a good thing, nor am I implying its bad, it just leaves me feeling odd to say the least.  Odd in a way that something happened to me the other day that just took me by surprise.

Wal-Mart is boring as hell.  My little brother had just shipped off to boot camp and Ryan was trying to cheer me up so we went to buy a DVD to watch.  After picking some random $5.00 movie I stumbled into the toys to see what children are playing with these days.  It all consisted of action heroes from cartoons that I’ve never heard of and electronic toys that just required little attention/no imagination.  It was very disconcerting to me to see children not having to imagine anything anymore when everything thing they played with seemed to be spoon fed to them.

That is until I saw the last aisle.

Ryan and I turned the corner and saw all the merchandise for Toy Story 3.  Lego’s, cloth dolls with actual pull strings, slinky dogs, stencils, viewmaster slides and even a train set sat before our eyes as my heart slightly melted.  Ryan and I both paused for a moment and dove in, looking at everything we could.  Sure, it was product tie-in for a major movie franchise owned by a huge greedy company with no respect for the things they make/distribute – Disney, not Pixar – but I didn’t mind.  This was my childhood being brought back.  This was from a time where people would hand us a stuffed animal or an action figure and we’d come up with one-hundred different scenarios for these toys to be in.  That’s the moment I began to really get excited about Toy Story 3.

So, of course, I went to see it with some friends on opening weekend.  And, like everyone on the internet, it knocked the wind out of me at the end.  I cried.  Which isn’t too surprising for anyone my age who grew up with these characters.  Everyone else I know that saw it cried also.  In fact, I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the theater.  When Andy gave away Buzz and Woody to the little girl down the street and played with them one last time it brought me to tears.  To be honest with you I’m not entirely sure why.  Maybe it’s because Andy seemed to be enjoying having one last hoorah with his toys as much as they were.  He was their world and without him they weren’t truly alive.  Sure, they walked around, talked and went on wacky adventures but all of those things was for one person… Andy.  To have Andy give away his toys to someone who would love them as much as he would was touching.  But it wasn’t just that either.  Woody was just as much saying goodbye to Andy also.  He knew he was done in Andy’s life and opted to let him go gracefully and make someone else happy.  It was just really touching and emotionally satisfying.  It was everything I wanted out of the movie.

After the film a friend of mine said something that summed up the movie for me perfectly, “It’s the end of our childhood.”  Just like Andy with his toys, I’ll never be that carefree again or that imaginative.  Hell, sometimes it’s hard for me to suspend my disbelief while watching TV, let alone giving an inanimate object life.  It reminded me of a place that I remembered fondly but can never return to.

Having said all that I’m not sure why I’m writing this.  I guess I’m just sentimental.



1. Kevin - June 23, 2010

Well said.

2. Ryan Spaight - June 23, 2010

God, I’m old. I had a mortgage when the first Toy Story came out. So it’s a completely different thing for me.

But I thought it was very sweet and a worthy conclusion to the story. (Not that the story needed one — it’s one of those rare “trilogies” that wasn’t built that way from the start, and the endings of the first two were equally satisfactory. I’m just happy they didn’t screw it up.)

3. Sarah - July 7, 2010

That’s exactly what I thought when I saw it today. I did shed a few tears at the end, overwhelmed by the fact that I could never go back to my childhood. Like andy, I’m leaving for uni in the fall though I’ll never forget the whole Toy Story experience I’ve had starting with the first movie when I was only four years old.

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