Toy Story 3 ends cinema’s most flawless trilogy with a scene that caused a literal worldwide outbreak of man tears. I’ve quoted this article before, but if you don’t believe me, The Telegraph did a piece on how the ending for Toy Story 3 was causing hordes of men around the globe to walk bleary-eyed into theater columns mourning the loss of the childhood friends. Why though? What is it about this simple scene of Andy giving Woody, Buzz, and the gang to a little girl roughly the age he was in Toy Story that punches us so hard? It’s loss. It’s grief. It’s a shared remembrance of these objects (who we knew could talk long before the first film), and how they’re totems of a sort for our childhood. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Toy Story 3 (2010) “Saying Goodbye”
Disney recently announced that Toy Story 4 is set for release in 2019. That sparks in me the immediate reaction that we don’t NEED another Toy Story, because we already have three perfect ones. Granted, I had this reaction when Toy Story 2 was announced AND when Toy Story 3 was announced, and while it’s hard to differentiate between how perfect these films are, the sequels are probably both better than the original. I hope the same kind of care to the legacy of these characters (much more recognizable to the children of the world today than Mickey, Minnie, or Pluto) is upheld.
Toy Story 2 introduced a number of new characters to the gang, most notably, Jessie the Cowgirl (voiced by Joan Cusack). Unlike the toys of Andy’s room, Jessie had lead a much more tumultuous life. She preferred life as a collectible, because being loved by a child hurt too much (as all the toys would learn in the next installment) when that child outgrows them. Woody finally gets her to open up and tell her story, which is sad enough, but oh no, no, Pixar wasn’t satisfied with jumping up and down on your heart strings. They wantonly deployed Sarah McLachlan, the master of vocal tear generation, to sing the beautiful “When She Loved Me” over Jessie’s tale.
Pixar’s been in a rut for the most part over the last few years. It is heartening to hear the sequels are stopping after Toy Story 2, and we have had a few gems like Inside Out and Finding Dory, but when you watch a scene like this, you remember what Pixar was and should be again. There isn’t a demographic on Earth not moved by some part of this scene. They didn’t make films for kids, they made them for all ages in a way that never pandered to any age. This is the bar they face in Toy Story 4. So….good luck with that!
Pixar loves to throw little nods to past projects into their films and have going back to old short film references in the original Toy Story. If you’ve seen Monsters University, did you catch these?
This number refers to the classroom where John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, and Andrew Stanton studied at CalArts.
Pizza Planet Delivery Truck
The delivery truck in the drive away is the same one that carried Buzz and Woody to the now iconic pizza restaurant.
The ball with a star on it made it’s first appearance in a groundbreaking short produced in the early days of the studio.
I remember going to see the first Toy Story and just walking out stunned. I saw it five or six times in the theater. I couldn’t get over the computer animation. It was stunning, even though they couldn’t do a tenth of the things they can do now. But it was more than that: the movie was amazing. All kids believe their toys have lives of their own when they shut the playroom door. That Pixar was able to take that concept and weave a story that touched and amused all ages was the beginning of what we know now is their formula for success. Woody and Buzz are the two most iconic characters added to the Disney canon since Mickey and Donald. For kids born in the last twenty years, they’re much MORE important than Mickey and Donald.
There are so many great scenes in the film. I came down to this and the scene at the gas station where Woody is screaming at Buzz that he’s a toy and Buzz treats him like someone off his meds. However, I love the squeezy zealots. Love them. The idea that they live in the prize machine and have developed a cult based upon worship of the claw still slays me. Nearly 20 years and it’s still as good as the first time I saw it.
As Pixar releases their 14th animated feature today, I have to look back through the hundreds of amazing characters they’ve created already and pick my favorite five. I cannot separate Woody and Buzz so you can call it cheating if you wish, but then you must start your own website dedicated to nothing whatsoever. I doubt you’ll muster the effort therefore I win. PIXAR!
1. Buzz Lightyear & Woody (Toy Story 1, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3)
2. Dory (Finding Nemo, Finding Dory)
3. Dug (Up)
4. WALL-E (WALL-E)
5. Edna Mode (The Incredibles)