Toy Story: Cause Nothing's Less Creepy Than Toys That Are Secretly Alive

Onward to Toy Story, a lovely little film that put Pixar on the map in terms of animation back in 1995.  It stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, received three Oscar nominations in 1996, and is the first of the films I’m reviewing that I was actually alive for!  “They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?” lists it at 421.

Full disclosure: When I was a little girl, probably 8 or so, I used to get panic attacks that kept me up all night.  The only thing that would relax me was putting the same old movies in the VCR night after night, watching about 15 minutes, and then promptly falling asleep.  Toy Story was one of those movies for me.  I’ve seen the movie dozens of times, but I’m prepared to say that I’ve seen the opening credits upwards of a hundred times.  Even now, hearing “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” and watching Andy play with Woody during the credit sequence is still oddly comforting for me.

So Woody is pretty much top dog in Andy’s room.  He’s got a nice cushy spot up on Andy’s bed, and he’s the leader of all the other toys.  Until one day, Andy’s mother buys him a Buzz Lightyear action figure, who threatens to become Andy’s new favorite toy.  To make matters worse, Buzz is completely delusional…he thinks he’s actually a space ranger.  Woody is so not OK with this.

Slowly but surely, Buzz worms his way into Andy’s heart as Toy Numero Uno.  All the other toys pretty much build a shrine to Buzz.  And Woody’s like WTF why do I have to sleep in the toy box now?  So understandably, the little guy’s kind of bitter.  And when he sees the opportunity to get Buzz out of the way so that Andy will take him to Pizza Planet, he jumps on it.  Unfortunately for him, Buzz falls out of the window.  He gets to go to Pizza Planet, but the other toys are pretty much prepared to lynch his ass when he gets back.

While Woody sits in the car, Buzz shows up.  Not surprisingly, Buzz also thinks that Woody pushed him out of the window on purpose, and he is less than pleased.  The two get into an epic toy fight, resulting in them falling out of the car and getting left behind at a gas station.  I hate it when that happens.

Somehow they manage to hitch a ride to Pizza Planet, trying to find Andy.  Seriously, Pizza Planet is probably the coolest theme restaurant I’ve ever seen in my entire life.  Buzz and Woody end up in the crane machine, with a claw worshipping alien cult.  Yes, you read that right.  Somehow I didn’t catch how Heaven’s Gate this whole sequence was when I was seven.

Unfortunately for our little buddies, Sid is really good at the claw machine, and they end up trapped in the home of a toy serial killer.  I don’t care what anyone says, the baby doll head with one eye missing, attached to a metal spider body…that will forever haunt me in my sleep.  I was kind of expecting them to start chanting, “One of us, one of us!”

Buzz has a rare moment of clarity, when he sees a Buzz Lightyear commercial on TV and realizes that he actually is a toy.  Then he sort of has a nervous breakdown.  And a tea party.  Fun fact: when I was a kid, I named one of my hamsters Mrs. Nesbitt after Buzz's tea drinking alter ego.

Sid straps Buzz to a rocket with the intention of blowing him up, but a freak thunderstorm grants him a brief stay of execution.  Woody finally confesses that he's jealous of Buzz, because he's a much cooler toy and Andy likes him better, which seems to snap Buzz out of his depression...just in time for him to be blown up.  So Woody teams up with the creepy-as-hell toys in Sid's room to rescue Buzz from getting exploded.  Their plan is probably the most disturbing thing I've ever heard: they're going to reveal themselves to Sid as being alive, and basically just fuck with his head.  In the creepiest. way. possible.  Seriously, if Sid didn't need therapy before...

Don't believe me?  Here's the scene in all it's horrific glory.

Because it's not enough for you to find out your toys are alive, one of their heads needs to do a full on Exorcist twist.  Just in case you weren't traumatized for life already.

So now that Sid is scarred for life, Woody and Buzz can try to catch up with Andy's car as they're on the way to the new house.  Buzz uses the rocket and apparently his latent flying skills to launch them into the car...and they all live happily ever after.  Except for Sid.  Because he's now emotionally ravaged.

Random Musings:

  • “You’re going to jail, Bart.  Say goodbye to your wife and tater tots!”  I’m pretty sure Andy is the cleverest little kid ever.

  • Where is Andy's dad?  Why are Disney characters always short a parent or two?

  •  So Andy and his family are moving in ONE WEEK?  Really?  Where are the boxes?  Why are Andy’s toys still everywhere, why are all his books still on the shelves?  These people are terrible packers.  He should really get on that shit.  That’s how toys get left behind!

  • I love all the little gestures they give Mr. Potato Head.  He takes off his lips and makes them kiss his ass to make fun of the springy dog, when putting his eyes back in he blinks a few times like he’s putting in contacts, when the army guys are describing the new toy, he takes off his hat and crosses himself.  You can tell how much fun the animators had with him.

  •   “OK!  If I send out the troops, will you all calm down?!”  “Yes, yes!  We promise!”  Metaphor for America?

  •  I wonder if any of the other toys actually believe they are what they’re designed to be?  I mean, Bo Peep tends to her flock and the army guys seem pretty gung ho, but do any of them not realize that they’re toys?  So why is Buzz such a freak?  Cause he’s all fancy and computerized?

  •      I love love love how Rex says that he’s from Mattel, but then quickly amends that, saying that he’s not really from Mattel, he’s from a small company that was purchased in a leverage buy out by Mattel.  Kind of how we would say, “I’m from New York City…well, I’m not actually from New York City, I’m from a small town just outside of New York City.”  That is the definition of clever.

  •  My favorite random toy: the shark that takes Woody’s hat while he’s in the toy box. “Look, I’m Woody.  Howdy howdy howdy!”

  •  I love all the adult humor in this, especially, “Laser envy,” and “I think the word you’re searching for is space ranger,” “The word I’m searching for I can’t say, because there are Preschool toys present.”

  •  “I found my moving buddy.” Yeah, that’s great, Bo Peep.  Way to be loyal to Woody, you heartless trollop.

  •       OK, so Andy gets a new bedspread, redecorates his room, and completely transitions Woody out of his affections…in less than a week?  And why is this stupid family still not packing?!

  •   ZOMG Sid.  In defense of Sid: I love how the film plays with perception.  To a person, I’m sure Sid would come off as a kid who likes explosives and maybe has emotional issues.  There’s probably a ton of boys out there like that, and none of them grow up to be serial killers.  But to a toy, this kid is presented as the most sociopathic, murderous monster in the history of the world.  A lot of people think he’s a sadist, but I want to stick up for my little violent friend.  To be fair, he isn’t really abusive towards people, and he treats his dog well.  He doesn’t know that his toys are alive, and after all, there’s nothing inherently evil about destroying hunks of plastic.  And the game he’s playing with his sister’s doll is him pretending to be a surgeon…it’s the tone and emphasis of the animation that makes it seem creepy.  To me, he seems like a rough and tumble kid who has a vivid imagination.  So there.

  •    Is Sid’s father abusive?  The only time we see him, he’s sleeping in the TV room, surrounded by empty beer cans in the middle of the day.  And the dog seems kind of scared of him.  Scud doesn’t seem like the kind of dog who would be scared of just anyone.  It would explain why Sid seems to have some anti-social tendencies…

  • OMG, the toys start to dance and celebrate after they scare Sid, and the armless action figure with the nail through its head tries to dance, but he loses his balance and just falls over.  That’s so sad!

All kidding aside, I think this film resonates with both kids and adults more that a lot of other Disney films because it packs a pretty heavy emotional punch.  It deals with issues of abandonment, which everyone can identify with.  Woody's worried about losing Andy's love, all the toys are terrified of being replaced by newer and better toys.  Older siblings might not literally be worried that their parents will get rid of them, but you can bet they experience anxiety when there's a new baby in the picture that everyone seems to like more.  I think it's a very real and very human thing to be worried that you're not quite good enough for the people you care about, and that sooner or later they'll move on to someone better.  It might not be something people think about often, but it's definitely something everyone has experienced at least once in their lives. That's not to say it's a depressing movie; it's action packed and actually pretty funny.  But it deals with the emotion just enough to give the film a heart.

So that's Toy Story.  Thanks for reading, and I'll see you again for my next review, Some Like It Hot!

Want to know more about the Top 1000 List?  Check it out and see if your favorites are here! They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?

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Anonymous said...

Best one yet!! I think I have to watch this movie right now. Just seeing that clip of the toys giving it to Sid brings it all back! One of the best Disney pix of all time, imho.

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