by Arthur Correa on 6/29/2011
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Now before I get into this.  I first want to establish that I'm a Disney fan.  My family and I have seen/own all the Pixar movies to date (including Toy Story 3, reasons below), and enjoy them  The Incredibles is one of my top 10 movies to watch.  We go to Walt Disney World at least once a year (sometimes more), we belong to the Disney Vacation Club.  In short, we're only a Disneyana membership short of being feral Disney addicts.

That being said i really don't undestand the hype around Toy Story 3.  From what I can tell its just a rehash of Toy Story 2 wth the major roles reversed.  In Toy Story 2 (TS2 from now on)  Woody is the one freaking out about his lot in life, and the rest of the gang is trying to make him feel better.  In Toy Story 3 (TS3) its the opposite, the whole gang is freaking out about their lot in life and Woody is the one trying to make them feel better.  So right out of the gate the overall plot of the movie has a similar feel, but in my opinion thats not the only similarity.

Right from the opening the common themes show through.  In both movies all of the action kicks off because Andy is going of somewhere.  In TS2, he's off to Cowboy Camp, in TS3 he is off to college.  In TS2 this leaving (without him) is the impetus behind Woody's entire story arc.  What will be left for him when Andy is gone?  Should he start to look for an alterative way of life where he won't be dependant upon the love of an owner?  Is the Toy Museum in Japan the answer?   In TS3, Andy's imminent departure to college kicks off similar thoughts to the rest of the toys.  They are all worried for what will be left for them when Andy is gone, and once the day care center comes into the story it holds the same attraction for them as the Toy Museum did for Andy in TS2.

Ok, that's not a huge stretch, he is their owner of course his leaving will cause action and angst  I get that, but wait! There's more!

When Andy leaves something happens that causes separation anxiety and angst in the toys.  In TS2, when Andy leaves Woody is left behind because of his torn arm.  Which makes Woody feel like he might be thrown away.  In TS3, Andy puts the toys (minus Woody) in a trash bag to go in the attic, which makes the toys feel like they might be thrown away.

In TS2 Woody is separated from the gang early in the film.   Woody is stolen away from Andy's home by the Chicken Man.  He doesn't want to leave, but through a twist of fate he is forced to go to a new place, without his friends from Andy's.  Buzz mounts an early and brief rescue attempt but fails.  Thenthe rest of Andy's toys leave Andy's house to mount a rescue attempt.

In TS3 Woody is separated from the gang early in the film (sound familiar?).   The Woody Free Gang are taken to the Day Care center by mistake, instead of being put into the attic for storage.  Woody mounts an early and brief rescue attempt but fails, and here is one minor difference.  Woody jumps in with the rest of the toys to go off to the Day Care.  My guess is that this was only changed because having a single toy make a rescue attempt left fewer story hooks than having a gang of toys like in TS2.

Ok so in both movies the toys are in a new location at this point.  One that provides an alternative to their toy/owner existence.  Here is where things really take on a feeling of copy and paste.

  • In both movies the toys are presented with a lifestyle where they can be happy without Andy.  Where they will be loved and revered for years and decades without fear of being abandoned. (Toy Museum in Japan vs the Day Care Center)

    In both movies the toys meet a group of New Toys that convince them their way is a better way of life. (Roundup Gang, vs Day Care Gang)

    In both movies the New Toys are led by a toy that at first is a friend, but in fact is the villain of the story. (Stinky Pete vs Lotso)

    In both movies the New Toys have a sympathetic member that has a past history with one of Andy's Toys that Andy's Toys don't know about. (Jessie/Bullseye vs Ken)

    In both movies a reset Buzz provides comic relief.  (Clueless Buzz vs Spanish Buzz)

    There is a big chace at the end where a toy(s) are in danger.  Granted the danger was much greater in Toy Story 3, and it maintained the whole theme of the toys facing their own mortality.

    The one big difference between the two was the ending.  The fact that the toys had to move on without Andy, and the way Andy had to move on as well was great.  To be honest I was hoping that Buzz and Woody would go off to college with Andy, sort of give off a whole Grey Havens (from Lord of the Rings), off to heavan kind of vibe at the end of the movie.  But I can't gripe about the way they wrapped it up.

    At any rate, maybe its just me, but I'm noticing a pattern.  Toy Story 3 was a good movie, but I don't think it was great because for the most part it was a rehash Toy Story 2.  Which was a great movie.


    Hopefully for Toy Story 4 they'll come up with a new angle that will force the characters in completely new directions.







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