Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich has weighed in on a debate that’s long hovered around the nature of the franchise’s character’s existence. Can the toys die, or are they immortal pieces of imbued plastic?
In his opinion, the answer is definitely yes, the toys can die. Responding to a tweet that went viral by encapsulating the argument, Unkrich drew reference to the iconic incinerator scene from his movie, stating that were the toys to be completely destroyed, they would die just like any person would.
They live as long as they exist. But if they were to be utterly destroyed? Say, in an incinerator? Game over. https://t.co/p9nwIAjAl8
— Lee Unkrich (@leeunkrich) August 2, 2020
I have to say, I’m completely behind Unkrich’s reading of the issue. All films have internal logic to them. In Toy Story, it’s that toys are alive and dream of being played with (as any toy would). But if they were immortal, where would be the danger? There’d be no stakes in any of Toy Story 3’s climactic scenes.
This headline piqued my interest not just because it marked a change from covering the Marvel content stream (don’t worry, the pandemic hasn’t stopped it a-flowin’), but also because I happened to rewatch Toy Story 3 a few months ago. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 I knew like the back of my hand, but 3 had receded from memory somewhat. By the end, I was surprised by the depth of its creative decisions. At first, the introduction’s deliberate pacing felt like a compromise in comparison to 2’s kinetic brilliance. But that change was justified by a tonal reinvention – the real-life passage of time realized as a melancholy character piece.
It goes without saying Disney should never have gone back for more. Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending to a perfect trilogy. And in my mind, it still is.