Toy Story 3, like the previous two movies, is about friendship–this time in a rather more complicated vein as the movie explores how people change and consequently how friendships change, and finally the temporal nature of our possessions. Toy Story 3 finds Andy at the age of 18 and about to head out of the house to college. Understandably, it appears none of his childhood toys will not be making the trip except for Woody. Thus Andy decides to donate his toys to a local day care where they will be played with. This provides a fascinating backdrop to explore the relationship between people and their stuff.
Perhaps the most moving scene in the film occurs at a dump incinerator where the toys find themselves perilously close to being destroyed. As the toys are moving closer and closer to the fire, they hold hands in an attempt to accept their fate together. Though very sad, at this moment, I couldn’t help but think that in the end, this is exactly what is going to happen to all my “toys” (Matt. 6:19). Sooner rather than later too.
For instance, I really like my car, but in only 2.5 years of ownership–I have racked up an astounding amount of miles on it. In terms of nostalgia, I still have a sack of Marvel Superhero action figures in my parent’s attic–perhaps one day they will go to my children, but they certainly won’t last forever. I remember buying my first iPod and telling all my friends that it was the coolest gadget I had ever bought–I sold it on eBay about a year ago due to the fact that I now have an iPhone and a Nano for when I go running. Every video game system I have ever owned except for my Wii and PS3 also have been sold and I remember saving up for months to purchase some of them.
As you can imagine with this being a children’s movie, Andy’s toys are rescued from sure destruction. Instead of going back to the day care where they had suffered the harsh abuse of being played with by toddlers, Andy decides to donate his toys to a little girl from the day care who is sure to love them and play with them as they so desire–it is a sweet moment and an appropriate end to the trilogy.
It’s a nice ending and the story is well told. As we have come to expect with Pixar, the movie is incredibly creative and very funny, but Toy Story 3’s shinning moment comes at the end. The lesson learned is a valuable one–the best way to use your stuff is to give it away. As much as we would like to justify the value of our possessions, none of them carry much value at all, in fact their greatest value is in the good they can do other people as we let go of them for the sake of Christ (Luke 12:15, 33; Acts 2:45).