Toy Story 3 – Conspiracies
Toy Story 3 as Zionist Text
The shocking parallels to the Holocaust in Toy Story 3 begin just moments after the opening playtime set piece.
Andy is seventeen and about to leave for college. These toys are left behind, just as host nations left behind the Jews as the Third Reich conquered Europe.
Woody holds a meeting, where the assembled toy family discusses possible outcomes for their new position in the world. Change a few words and it is the same exact scene at the train station from Roman Polanski’s award winning Holocaust drama The Pianist.
No, we won’t just be abandoned. Surely we can be useful to them somehow. Yes, we’ve lost friends (Bo Peep), but surely that can’t happen to us.
Buzz Lightyear stands forward and suggests sanctuary IN AN ATTIC. Are you kidding me?
The cattle car comes for the toys in the form of a horrible garbage bag – but they don’t go straight to extermination. They find themselves alive and at Sunnyside where they are put “to work.” (Consider this, then, Dachau instead of Treblinka.)
Once there, they meet the toy version of Sonderkommando, toys who live the stay fed and well-sheltered (like Ken in his dream house) while leading other toys to a certain death. Newcomers are bashed and abused in the “Caterpillar Room” by non-age appropriate children until they resemble Muselmann and are eventually thrown into the trash chute.
The trash chute leads to a systematic sorting of metal (e.g. any last valuables) until, eventually, the fiery crematoria.
Our heroes get saved at the last minute, of course, and they find themselves a new homeland. It is a place where many of their kind already live and have an established foothold, and it would appear that security, finally, is at hand if they are vigilant.
Toy Story 3 as Marxist Text
V.I. Lenin called cinema “the most important of all the arts,” so you can be forgiven for thinking you see a little extra red in those bright Pixar colors. One can easily interpret Toy Story 3 as a warning to the proletariat to break the chains of imperialist exploitation, especially if you read the following in a silly Boris Badenov accent.
Who, exactly, is Andy? And why is providing him comfort the only thing that matters to him?
He is a privileged boy living in a luxurious home. (Remember how he didn’t even question the coming of a “new toy!” when he first met Jesse at the end of Toy Story 2?) It is just assumed that he will go on to college, putting him in an elite percentile of the world’s population. His own flesh and blood sister notes his departure in only how it effects her ownership of materials. She wants his old toys, she wants his room and she wants it while she holds an orange iPod Nano (the first noticeable example of product placement that isn’t a lovable character in a Toy Story film.)
Andy may look like an upbeat, healthy kid, but at heart he is a cold, lazy boss – literally affixing labels to the feet of those he exploits, with an unhealthy attachment to consumer goods.
Toy Story 3 pays lip service to Andy caring about his toys and not simply discarding them when they have nothing left to give, but don’t buy it. Andy is the exception that proves the rule, and evidence that if we unite, brothers, we can win! (Toy Story 3 also promotes outdated prejudice toward our comrades from the Iberian peninsula, positioning them all as oversexed flamenco dancers consumed with machismo. Libertad!)
And Barbie is Rosa Luxemburg.
Toy Story 3 as Existentialist Text
“Where’s your Owner now?” taunts evil berry-scented plushie Lots-o-Huggin’ Bear, as he leaves Woody, Buzz and the others to their doomed fate.
He’s really asking, “Where is God?”
In a series dedicated to delaying the inevitable (sure, Andy will grow up SOMEDAY, but for now, let’s all have fun!) Toy Story 3 makes a bold confrontation with the spectre of death.
While the Zionist reading may point fingers to political injustice, the Existentialist reading argues that there is No Exit, that doom is inevitable.
“I knew this would happen” shrieks Mr. Potato Head and, in essence, her shrill Mrs. Costanza voice is the sound we all make (or will make) when God’s final and most cruel trick is played on us.
Toy Story 3 Representing the World’s Religions
There’s a dash of many world religions flavoring up the stew that is Pixar’s Toy Story 3.
Hinduism: “It’s like Emily all over again!” cries Jesse. Is she referring to narrative repetition, or concepts of reincarnation?
Catholcism: “It’s my fault!” “No, it’s my fault!” the toys bicker back and forth to one another, before they spend eternity in fire.
Deism: A God based on reason and a natural order based on physical law would no doubt resemble “THE CLAWWWWWWW!”
Solipsism or “The Brain-in-a-Vat”: Is Mr. Potato Head the Potato, or is he just his pereceptory organs that can be slipped on a cucumber or a tortilla?
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