The last two weeks, I’ve reviewed the first two “Toy Story” movies. Today, here is “Toy Story 3”, the first movie in almost ten years to make me cry. Chances are, you’ve seen this movie, because it ended up being the highest-grossing movie of 2010, and so you can guess why it would make me, someone who graduated from high school and started college in 2010, start to choke up. Unfortunately, the Christian themes of the first “Toy Story” aren’t as prevalent in the third movie, but they’re there as long as you can look for them—which I will now attempt to do.
Andy (John Morris) is now off to college, just as was anticipated after “Toy Story 2”, and Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and the other toys have been put away for years. However, as Andy is cleaning his room to figure out what to take to college, he takes out his toys and decides to take Woody with him. And in another series of events that are too complicated to explain here (yeah, just watch the movie), all the toys, including Woody, end up at Sunnyside Day Care, where all the children’s toys are run by a teddy bear named Lotso-Huggin’ Bear (Ned Beatty). Woody, convinced that he needs to get back home to Andy, leaves the day care but ends up in the hands of Bonnie, a little girl who loves to play with her toys just like Andy did when he was her age. There, he finds out from Bonnie’s other toys that Lotso has forced Buzz, Jessie, and the gang to be played with by the really little kids that basically abuse the toys (paint on them, stick parts up their noses, etc.), while Lotso, the Ken doll (Michael Keaton), and other older toys take it easy in the room with more mature children that aren’t nearly as abusive. So Woody goes back to Sunnyside, helps the toys escape, and they all go back to… Bonnie. Andy decides to give his toys to Bonnie. And Woody, Buzz, and the toys are in the safe hands of a child, where they belong.
In the first half of the film, the toys are very uncertain of what’s going to happen to them once Andy leaves. Woody tells them they’ll all be safe in the attic, but even he isn’t sure. Isn’t that true of us? Going back to the idea of “Toy Story 2”, we don’t know how things will turn out in the end. We don’t even know how WE will end! But for the Christian, the end shouldn’t matter. Jesus tells us, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Every day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) Our lives are ultimately not about ourselves—the life of a Christian should be about serving our Lord! And the allegory in “Toy Story” is that the toys’ purpose is to be there for Andy. And at first, before they’re… well, tortured, the toys are eager to stay at Sunnyside. They even try to convince Woody to stay and be played with by the new children. But Woody tells them:
WOODY: I have a kid. YOU have a kid: Andy! And if he wants us at college or in the attic, our job is to be there for him!
Funny how in the last movie, Woody was the one who lost sight of how Andy loved him, and all the other toys were trying to convince him to go back home. Here, it’s the opposite! Woody is determined to go back to Andy, and all the other toys (who, by the way, don’t believe that Andy really wanted to put them all in the attic, which he did), they’ve lost sight of who their owner is. As Christians that believe in an invisible God, we can lose sight of who He is pretty easily. But just like Joshua commanded the Israelites, we need to “be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (1:9). We need to keep firmly our belief in God and how He forgives us, so that when we come to the end, we won’t have to worry.
When Woody, Buzz, and the toys come to the end (at least, the end of their life with Andy and the beginning of a new life with Bonnie), they’re not only ready for a new home, but they’re grateful for the time they had with Andy, and they don’t fear the future. My prayer for you, the reader, is that you will go through the rest of this week not worrying about tomorrow and relying on God for your strength.