Oh god. This. It just keeps getting worse, doesn’t it? In the first movie, it just starts with a toy’s heartfelt song of love and devotion to a child, only to see the toy cast aside, ostracized, tortured, and nearly murdered. We also see toys, which we already know are sentient beings, tossed to dogs, blown up, and vivisected.
But at least we get the joy of plausible deniability at the end, when it showed that the kid still loves his toy. The next movies rip that sense of security away. It turns out, nearly everything we do with our toys hurts them. We can’t ever cast them aside, because that breaks their hearts. We can’t avoid buying them, because that turns them bitter and mean. We can’t play rough with them, because then we’re torturing them. And we can’t put them in toy chests, because those are like tiny toy prisons. Throughout the trilogy, the humans create what seems like Hell on Earth for those toys, over and over. And the toys take it, because they love humans in a totally codependent fashion — and because they have no choice. Every child is a toy abuser. Every adult is a nonentity, as far as toys are concerned. Every relationship ends in heartbreak. By the end of it all, you realize that that soldier that the evil kid blew up with a firecracker got off easy — at least it was over quickly for him. Pixar’s most beloved series teaches kids that all their most beloved toys are trapped in a nightmare world that’s not worth living in. Those movies should be banned, I tell you. Banned.