Only Positive Vibes from Toy Story
Toy Story has redefined children’s movies making Pixar a legend. Toy Story is intended for children, but is entertaining for all age groups because of its high quality animation, as well as the cute and meaningful story line. It tells the story of a group of toys that belong to Andy, a little boy, and whenever he is not around the toys come to life. One of the toys is Woody, who is a wise cowboy and leader of the toys. But for Andy’s birthday he receives a new toy, Buzz Lightyear. Buzz is an instant threat to Woody because he is the “new cool” toy that Andy loves. The movie shows the power struggle between Buzz and Woody fighting for Andy’s approval.
Through the many adventures Woody, Buzz and the other toys get themselves into the movie sports a very profound moral message to the audience that you can never be replaced. In the film, Woody is used to calling the shots and being Andy’s go to toy. There is a lot of history between Andy and Woody and the movie shows it as a brother-like relationship between the two; but once Buzz Lightyear enters the picture, Woody has a difficult time accepting that Andy’s attention is not solely on him anymore. Woody becomes jealous that Buzz is getting all the attention from Andy and this prevents him from befriending Buzz. Andy starts to put pictures and posters up of Buzz covering his old ones of Woody, which makes Woody start to feel as if Buzz is replacing him. Therefore, Woody tries to get rid of Buzz right before Andy moves, and through this evil act Woody ends up getting both of them lost.
The heart of this movie is about how the two toys will get back to Andy before he moves. In this adventure Woody and Buzz have to go through hard times that require teamwork and trust, and through this they become friends. The message is proven at the end of the film when it reveals that Andy has been looking for Woody and Buzz since they went missing. Right when Andy sees them he grabs Woody and hugs him proving that Buzz has not replaced him, but joined him in the friend circle.
This message was shown throughout the film because of Woody’s fluctuating emotions throughout the film. In the beginning there was multiple scenes of how Woody did not like Buzz and it consistently showed how Woody increasingly became jealous of Buzz. Towards the end of the film they used the same tactic to show how Woody started to trust Buzz and in fact, befriended him by the time they were back in Andy’s arms.
There is no straightforward negative message I found while watching the film. But there are some common stereotypes included. For example, Little Bo Peep was portrayed more sexually than the other characters by being a “distraction” for Woody. The sound of her voice was different from the rest of the toys by being softer, quieter and more sincere. There is also not as many female toys compared to male toys, and all the female toys were depicted as helpless at some point in the film. This gives children the message that females are in constant need of help from a man. A counter argument to this statement is that Andy is a boy so it is only logical that he has the typical male toys such as action figures and military men. However, the girl toys still acted and portrayed the typical female stereotypes throughout the film.
I think the negative connotations of females presented in Toy Story are limited so the film should not be an issue amongst parents. I believe this partly because it came out during the 90’s and during this time it was not mainstream to pick apart movies based on how they represented women. Also, the movie is very limited on female stereotypes because Pixar wanted to start out on the right foot gaining followers and viewers. But as Pixar created more and more Toy Story’s this issue has been raised and questioned. In todays world, parents are much more aware of child development and are more in-tune to child’s needs; with this being said I think parents rely on the idea that Natalie Hill said, “you can’t be what you can’t see.” She states this in her article Miss Representation that takes a feminist view on the media. What she is trying to say is that if young girls and boys don’t see women succeeding outside of their stereotypical duties, young girls won’t know to strive for it and young boys will think that women are not suppose to be successful and independent.
I think Pixar does a great job at keeping negative messages out of their films and they were particularly aware of it in Toy Story because it was their very first film. Through having no negative messages and limited stereotypes, Pixar started off with a good reputation and a quality movie that has turned into a classic. To this day my families copy of Toy Story is still being passed down to younger generations and it is still on my 21 year old brother’s move list.
I give this movie 5 pickles. It is a classic movie and the stereotypes shown in the film were there due to environment factors or because of the plot line.