Thursday, July 29, 2010

Toy vs. God

So I saw Toy Story 3 yesterday...* and no one has pointed it out yet I don't think, not in a serious way, so here goes:
Toy Story, especially this new one, is a big metaphor about the Judeo-Christian's relationship with God.
The antagonist of this film, a big purple stuffed bear, repeatedly asserts that toys are just junk waiting to be thrown out. In the climactic scene, he betrays our heroes, asking, "where is your precious owner now?" and sending them hurtling towards fiery destruction (which is resolved with a Deus ex Machina that is actually a machine from the sky.) His back story is that his owner abandoned him, just as the characters from the Toy Story franchise have now been abandoned by Andy.
The story seems to be telling us that when bad things happen to good people, those people sometimes lose faith and become nihilists. The bear doesn't believe in that intangible, nonscientific quality that humans have in real life just as toys are imbued with in the world of Toy Story. The "I am what is" of the Old Testament is the same thing that allows Woody to flop around like that or the Potato Heads' disparate parts to move around autonomously.
This quality could also be called God, the only idea of God we can have and depend on to not, as it were, go away to college. Thus the bear's belief that "toys are junk" leads to his imprisonment of and attempts to doom our heroes to death by furnace-- imagery that isn't necessarily meant to reflect the Holocaust, but definitely evokes human atrocity in a way that is probably scarier for adults who know history than it would be even for kids who don't.
And it's fucking "Toy Story!"

Joseph Goebbels via Teddy Ruxpin.

*I want to add a disclaimer here, that this post isn't a joke, nor is it meant to be one of those "unnamed narrator and Tyler Durden are Calvin and Hobbes" memes, but anyone who's seen WALL-E should get why that's not really necessary...


  1. ...and it's all in 3D! I mean I guess I should see it now. The human spectacle and all.

    It really does make sense though. What? Is Disney going to make a film (now film franchise) about foreign lifeless objects, and not inject our own flawed/lovable humanity into the equation? The lifeless toy could be even more terrifying if it's character was allowed to be what it more likely, if given life would be: A cold being devoid of emotion and of course religion. That version of Toy Story is a pill Americans could never swallow.

    This is all somewhat terrifying/hilarious to you and me Nate, but to what I'm sure is a larger populous than you and I could ever imagine the Toy Story that has now ballooned out to quotes of "where is your god now?" and plastic furnaces this all probably gives some sort of comfortability to the situation.

    Without these references would people start to question the humanity of these toys? Or, is this just Disney running out of ideas?

  2. I mean I also think it's a genuine sign of the studio's philosophical maturation, if the last few movies have been indicative of a trend... broaching the same subjects as Pynchon and Heller did, but in a kid's movie. It's the kind of depth I always wanted to see from Magneto from the X-Men, because he was in the Holocaust, but Marvel never does anything that smart.

  3. And yes, we're doing these responses sitting across from each other in the living room.

  4. Sometimes it's hard adjusting to life after college.

  5. The next sign of maturation will be the deserved congratulation of those who have developed this nihilist view. The toys who kept the faith are suckers - of course the bourgeois "andy's toys" will survive - but this has more to do with their status in the toy universe than any element of "faith".

  6. Well yeah... They're the stars man.

  7. There ain't no andy.... and if there is, he's a cold-hearted bastard.