On the Toy Story Franchse and Growing Up (Or Not)

I haven’t visited Aint It Cool News in a long time. I give Harry Knowles kudos for being who he is and not hiding behind any kind of mask, and I also recognize he’s not writing for the minivan-and-mortgage demographic.  Still… I wasn’t prepared for this. (Spoilers!)

I fall out of love with ANDY because he hands over WOODY. Now I get it. Ultimately, that’s what Woody wanted, to be with his friends with an ideal imaginative great kid with a peculiar imagination. And Andy has one of those stupid mothers that would harp about his toys. Handing him a box and a trash bag and telling him to choose. What the hell? It is bad enough that this family has never figured out the actual value of Woody in the collectibles sphere… but the idea that in the end, Andy would give up WOODY. It kinda pisses me off. […] The notion though of leaving childish things behind, giving your toys to the next generation… I loathe that conceit. —Harry Knowles, aintitcool

Sounds like somebody has some… issues.  (Please, Pixar, do NOT fulfill his request for a follow-up trilogy based on the toys’ new home… leave the story where it is, so the resolution retains its meaning.)

Of course we all have issues, at different stages of our lives, and they affect us in different ways. Yes, I was surprised by this part of the story, too, and that is part of what made the movie so touching. Rather than re-infantilizing Andy (honestly, who takes a cowboy toy with him to college?) or having the toys stay in a box until Andy has his own kids (predictable!), the story forces the separation that Woody has been fighting against throughout the trilogy.

As a side note, removing Bo from the story was important, not only because it foregrounded the theme of loss right from the first scene, but also so that as Woody made his final choice, he would not have to consider her feelings.

As a teenager, when I came across an old copy of The House at Pooh Corner, I never really understood what was happening between Christopher Robin and Pooh at the very end. I remember dismissing it all as a bit sentimental or maybe existential. But Paul O’Brian recently sent me a link to the connection he made between Toy Story 2 and The House at Pooh Corner (a connection that applies even more strongly to Toy Story 3).

I was not ready for the last act of Toy Story 3 — and I was surprised to
see just how ready Andy was. Woody was the only one who really knew
that, and it made me feel a little ashamed of my fleeting, selfish
desires to freeze my kids where they are, so that they will always need
me.