Thursday, June 30, 2011

The "Toy Story" Story

The first Pixar project which is also their most popular one - Toy Story started it all. Back in 1995, it was the most visually and emotionally stunning film, and Pixar was able to make millions of viewers care about a young boy’s relationship with his toys.

Toy Story is a unique trilogy - it only got better with each sequel. Just like how I can’t choose between any of the Back To The Future films (Greatest Films of All Time Part I), I can’t pick the best toy story. And neither can the viewers, with the latest sequel making over a billion dollars worldwide in ticket sales - the most for an animated film in history.

Also, it seems Pixar and Disney won’t stop at 3: with the teaser short “Toy Story Toons” seen before Cars 2 in theaters earlier this month, Tom Hanks recently stated that the geniuses at Pixar are working on Toy Story 4. Make room for another billion dollars.
Favorite Quote: “Great! Now I have guilt!” - Rex.


Bonus Read Below: Buzz Lightyear’s rapid metamorphosis from Toy to Human, aptly titled:


“To Reality...and Beyond!”


Toy Story, directed by animator John Lasseter, deals with toys who represent different levels of awareness about who they are, and are still learning new things about themselves. We see a lot of the characters developing new human emotions as the film progresses. After Andy gets a newer, better toy in the form of Buzz, Woody experiences jealousy and insecurity, since he would no longer be Andy’s favorite toy. Rex, the dinosaur, exclaims “Great, now I have guilt!”(01:08:32) after finding out that Woody wasn’t lying about saving Buzz, showing how now ‘guilt’ is added to his personality. Throughout the film, we see Woody and the Shepherdess building on love. The character of Buzz Lightyear is the newest toy in Andy’s room to be made aware of the truth about who and what he is, and at the end of the film, after accepting and having adjusted to his life as one of Andy’s toys, experiences the first human emotion (also being his first toy emotion), curiosity, when he is eager to find out what new toys Andy got(01:13:04). All of these human emotions being experienced by the toys reflect upon their journey past the acceptance phase - their journey to reality...and beyond!

In most cases, how a person accepts the truth depends on the situation. In Buzz’s case, finding out that he isn’t The Buzz Lightyear makes him feel that he doesn’t have a purpose anymore. In his final attempt to hang on to his beliefs, he attempts a ‘leap of faith’. It is not easy for someone to accept that everything they’ve lived for was a lie based on just reason, and Buzz lets gravity decide it for him. It is human nature to want physical proof, especially when our faith is at stake. After finding out that Woody was right and that he is in fact a toy, Buzz says “for the first time I am thinking clearly”. What helps Buzz accept his reality IS his surroundings. The support of Woody and the other toys is what leads Buzz to love his new reality. The presence of people or toys who have been through the same circumstances, and are happy with who they are and accept Buzz for who he is, is what made Buzz’s transition easier and made him realize how being positive could lead him to defining his own purpose and even develop emotions.


The two main problems with knowing the truth are the person’s capacity and expectations. Over thousands of years, man’s search for truth has led his expectations to reach unattainable heights to a point where probably even the real truth may not be good enough. At the same time, due to the person’s existing beliefs the truth may be too much or too painful for them to handle and thus prove harmful (the green alien thing in Toy Story expecting to go to a better place or nirvana, and ending up being chewed on by Sid’s dog), as pointed out by the famous quote “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” by Jack Nicholson’s character in the film A Few Good Men. These two factors make the answer to the question ‘Are you better off knowing the truth about your surroundings?’ more complicated that a simple yes or no. In an ideal (and thus black and white) world, the answer would be a simple yes with no ifs or buts. However, since the ideal world is rarely like the real world and thus far from reality, in the real world the answer to this question would be more subjective. The roots to the answer would still be a yes, but the ‘yes‘ would depend on various factors such as the person’s capacity, expectations, circumstances, and surroundings, modifying the ‘Yes’ into ‘It depends’.

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