Toy Story 3 ecology

23Jun10

There is a strong ecological current in Toy Story 3. At its most simplified form Toy Story 3 is 1 Corinthians 13:11 meets reduce, reuse, recycle. Childish things must be properly put away in order to move on not in a generic emotional sense but in an ecological sense. The leering threat of TS3 is the possibility of being thrown away, forgotten, or replaced – actions which unnecessarily generate garbage. Since the life of the toys is their use value the painful lesson of the film is that this value is not directly tied to particular ownership (as the characters initially believe that is, as bestowed by Andy or other children), but that ownership is mostly an imaginative or fantasmatic investment, an investment which is fickle.

The villain of the film (Lotso) tries to control the degree to which the toys (as object-subjects?) are used by humans as he holds a grudge from being abandoned and replaced long ago. Lotso argues that the toys are only junk to humans in a kind of reversal of Woody’s logic where the value of the toys is to be decided by themselves, the value of objects in themselves.

The difficulty of ecology that the film presents then is between the fickle desires of thinking humans and the intentionality of objects. Toys are a peculiar example as they are designed (in abundance) to satisfy desires (or at least direct them) and thus have no ‘practical’ use and are therefore are the most likely to become waste. The recycling of toys become a serious mental or fantastic recycling perhaps ever more than a material excercise. To put away certain things requires  a reorientation of desire, or perhaps a swing to drive, or a narrowing of the ways in which we decide we must materialize our thinking or our desires.

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