Life choices at heart of latest ‘Toy Story’
Atsuko Matsumoto / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer
Nothing remains the same. For good or bad, life is full of changes you can’t avoid. This truth is at the heart of the much-anticipated Toy Story 3.
“In life, we all have to experience change–it’s inevitable. We move on, and sometimes relationships move on and we do different things in our lives,” Toy Story 3 producer Darla Anderson said in an interview with The Daily Yomiuri on her recent promotional visit to Tokyo.
Back in 1995, Toy Story made its mark as Hollywood’s first feature-length computer-animated movie. But what made it last was its story, which was populated with lovable characters that attracted audiences across all age groups.
Fifteen years since its release and 11 years since its sequel, the third installment has finally arrived. Andy, now college age, no longer plays with his once favorite toys. The fate of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the others looks gloomy.
“I like things too much. So I can become very attached to all the items in my collection, so it’s always hard for me to let them go,” Anderson said.
“At the end of the day, they’re still just things…if you’re not using them anymore, I think it’s a beautiful thing to pass them on to children who are really going to play with them,” she added.
Anderson has steadily built her career through involvement in the production of such classics as Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. (2001) and Cars (2006). But her experience didn’t make Toy Story 3 any less stressful.
“The hardest part was not getting too intimidated with the idea that Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were such good movies. For a while there, we were just so worried that we wouldn’t make a film that was good enough to stand alongside those two films because they’re both such good films and because they were so beloved,” the producer said.
In addition to the familiar faces, Toy Story 3 introduces a key new character, Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear. But the evil bear and his relentlessly bad attitude may confuse the younger and more innocent members of the audience.
“From my point of view, I think that it’s interesting to see that that’s a choice. Woody…is making a choice [about] what to do now that Andy’s grown up. He could make the choice to feel bitter and abandoned because Andy is, in essence, leaving him because he’s becoming an adult,” Anderson said.
“So alongside that, we have the throughline of Lots-O’s story, where he got abandoned–not because his kid was a bad kid, but by accident–and his choice was to become bitter and hardened by that. As a storytelling device, it’s interesting to have a thread of a kind of alternate universe of choices you can make in life,” she added.
In the movie, which Anderson described as “kind of coming home again,” John Morris, 23, who did Andy’s voiceover in Toy Story and Toy Story 2, again played the now young man.
While it may be a sad thought that things may inevitably change, it could also mean Andy someday may have his own family with a child who will play with Woody and Buzz.
“I really don’t know if there’s gonna be a Toy Story 4. We just finished this movie literally four weeks ago. So, when we were making this movie, we were thinking of completing it [the series]. That was what was in our minds, the filmmakers’ minds for this film,” Anderson said.
“But you know, never say never, and it seems like people really like these characters, so who knows?”
The movie opens Saturday.
(Jul. 9, 2010)