Monday, February 7, 2011

Toy Story 3: or the movie that would have permanently scarred me as a child

In theory, I like personification. Defined as an "ontological metaphor in which a thing or abstraction is represented as a person" or in layman's (read: normal) terms "giving human traits to non-human things", personification is often used to make stories more dramatic or provide an emotional attachment to something.  In my lifetime, I've read instances of personification in stories or poems, or heard it in a song and have loved it. I do not love personification, however, when it's used to give personality and emotions to adorable, inanimate objects who are routinely thrust into the paths of danger and destruction.  I am THIRTY THREE YEARS OLD but this movie elevated my anxiety level and made me CRY because I spent about 75% of the movie worried about the fate of a bunch of plastic figures.  Heavens.  Just look at them...adorable.

If my eight-year-old self would have seen this movie, you would see my 33-year-old self on Hoarders, living in an apartment filled with stuffed animals, Barbie/Skipper/Cabbage Patch/Hello Kitty dolls, Sesame Street toys, Happy Meal toys, etc. etc. etc., as I would have spent my whole life unable to throw out/donate a SINGLE TOY.  I know that this movie would have had a profound effect on me at a young age because I vividly remember the reaction I had to the movie "Fox & The Hound".  That movie made me SOB.  At the end of it, I was sobbing so hard that I wedged my little body (I was like 8 and probably less than 3 feet tall - late bloomer) into the movie seat with my head hiding in corner of the chair.  It was difficult for my parents to get me out of the movie theater after that, and I think that is where my disdain for Disney movies began.

I have never been able to get on board with walking into something that I know is going to make me cry, and most animated movies, at least the ones that are not princess-related, follow a familiar script: look at these adorable animals! OMG - they can TALK! Look at how smart and witty they are! Ooooh, here's a bad animal/hunter/person who is out to hurt the animals! Who's your favorite animal so far? Oh honey...not him...are you sure? Look, it's the mean animal/hunter/person, I wonder what they are doing here...oh no! What are they doing to your favorite personified character! *hide eyes* *favorite animal dies a noble/heroic/valiant death*  Yeah...I'm okay skipping those kind of situations.

Before watching Toy Story 3 I looked up the previous two movies to read their recaps, as I've never seen anything from the Toy Story franchise.  Once I pressed play on my DVD player to start TS3 I felt pretty confident that I knew enough back story about these toys.  TS3 finds our personified plastic creatures in a quandary: their owner, Andy, hasn't played with them in a long, long time, and Andy is getting ready to go to college.  What will be their fate: exiled to the attic to gather dust until hopefully Andy has children of his own or (gulp) meet the TRASH BAG.  I do not want to give any details away, as I'm sure many of you want to see this movie, or have seen the other two and don't want me to ruin the ending, but I will tell you that during the movie I was inexplicably moved to go retrieve my favorite stuffed animal and watch the entire movie with it near me.  Yes, I still have a stuffed animal.  You judging me or attempting to make fun of me for that fact will not bother me in the least, so save your breath/keystrokes. I feel as though it adds an interesting angle to my personality, as I'm tough enough to kill spiders bare-handed, but I have a soft side when it comes to a creature that looks like this:

In short, watch this movie if you are good at separating real from make-believe and like stories with happy endings, however skip this movie if you have a hard time throwing out a t-shirt because you don't want to hurt it's feelings.

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