I’ve had a lot of friends over the years. Together we’ve saved lives, sneaked across international borders, taken gunfire, worked with children, won championships, lost games, reached milestones and drank ourselves under. I’ve seen friendships stretch, bend and break. They’ve ended in fits of passion and faded slowly into the dust of memories. Some have survived things like time and distance and some have grown stronger despite it all.
And then there is Facebook.
So it is with Woody and Buzz and the gang. They’ve suffered through egos, jealousy and distrust. They’ve risked their lives to save one another and they’ve risked everything to save the happiness of a child. They’ve kept John Ratzenberger from slipping off his barstool.
I read somewhere that the respective storylines of the very successful Toy Story trilogy (which, in my humble opinion, ranks among the best trilogies of all time, including the original Star Wars films, Indiana Jones, and the Godfather series) reflected the lives of the many wonderful people at Pixar (and subsequently, Disney) that helped to create them. Meaning, at the time of the first Toy Story film many of the people involved had young children, and now with Toy Story 3 sending the toys’ owner, Andy, off to college, they too are seeing their own offspring packing up and leaving home.
And the tears were sure to follow.
You’ve probably heard that Toy Story 3 is a crier. It’s true. Parents of teenagers cry because they can relate the movie to their own lives. Parents of younger children cry because they see the inevitable. Teens cry because they have grown up with the toys and Andy, and they too have goodbyes to say. Old people cry because they’ve seen it all before. Small children cry because they’re in a movie theater and they are sitting right behind me.
You see how it is.
Pixar has once again done what it does best, it has created a living piece of art that hits so close to home you wonder if John Lasseter has hacked your email.
Toy Story 3 is about growing up and moving on. It is about rebirth, second winds and second chances. It is about love and loss, and the bonds that we choose to make and those we fight to keep. Toy Story 3 is about the end of innocence and the beginning of happily ever after.
It is about all of us.
I’ve had a lot of friends over the years and time has been often cruel and seldom convenient. It’s all so many landfills and attics, and with any luck the occasional happy ending.
My boys are just starting out on their respective paths of friendship. They will find those that appeal to their needs and wants and in doing so fill the needs and wants of others. They will learn about themselves through the company that they keep. Decisions will define them and time will dance upon the songs that they sing.
They passed me in the hallway, toys in hand, and their imagination leaving chaos in their wake.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“To infinity,” yelled one.
“And beyond,” joined the other.
Then they were gone as quickly as they had come. I stood in the hallway, coffee in hand and watched as they rounded the corner, chose their path and followed it forever.
Toy Story 3 is kind of like that, but with more Ken doll.