I just cannot express enough appreciation and amazement I had for Toy Story 3 and for Pixar. I am a Toy Story veteran and I was so afraid about a "third" sequel. But, my gosh, I do not think I have felt so many emotions for a movie in such a long time. If you have not seen it, please do so soon, even if you go only once. I believe you will enjoy it immensely.
This scene stuck out the most for me and, as I have read, many others as well. It is not just because it is the climax and the most dramatic moment of all the Toy Story movies, but because of the message it showed and to the extent of which it showed that message. I know many others have and will write about this scene, and I encourage you to do so, but this is my interpretation, after thinking about it for two days. I have only seen the movie once so far, so not every detail will be perfect, but I still hope you enjoy this!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Disney or Pixar or any affiliated characters.
WARNING: This story contains spoilers for Toy Story 3. If you do not wish to be spoiled, do not continue reading.
Woody had never felt such torture. Plastic began to stream from his forehead in droplets, beading until it dripped from his pointed chin. Heat dominated the air around him and grew more intensely with every inch he slipped. Breathing grew increasingly difficult, as if layers of dust had clogged his throat. The shredded, burning garbage produced a stench, which defiled his senses. The smoke began to weaken what strength he had left, allowing several dizzy spells to rack his already clouded mindset.
The garbage was slippery and overpowering. Half of Woody's body had already sunk deep into the sea of trash, an issue his friends shared as they struggled to dig themselves out. There was nothing to stand on or grab. All he had done when he dove to save Rex was anxiously grind his teeth together and beg his stuffing to halt their descent toward the hellish flames below.
"Buzz, what are we going to do?"
Without even turning back, Woody could picture the frantic fear on Jessie's face. What were they going to do? Their last hope of survival had fled with Lotso, who mercilessly condemned them to this fiery hell. They had saved him too, after every ounce of suffering he imposed upon them. All Woody wished for was to return home, to Andy, even to the attic if need be. He did not care. All he wanted was to be in a safe place with his friends, no, his family.
'To infinity and beyond…'
Buzz did not answer Jessie's questioning plea. Silence ensued among them as the roar of the nearing fire fumed. Woody continued to struggle to retain grip on the slippery garbage bits, but because of Buzz's silence, he made every effort to glance upward to his best friend.
The space ranger never looked so abnormal to him than during that moment. Woody expected the toy to have eyes searching restlessly for some escape, for some plan to prevent their untimely deaths. Yet, Buzz's expression donned an unnatural appearance, one of utter hopelessness. The ranger clutched Jessie's delicate hand tightly, small beads of plastic beginning to form on them. Even Jessie, the jovial, steadfast cowgirl, expressed a similar level of despair.
'What is wrong with them?'
For a moment, Woody stared at them in disbelief. After everything they had been through, Sid's madness, the Prospector's rage, and Lotso's devilry, they never lost their vigor of determination and hope. They faced a vicious dog, deadly traffic, a toy prison, and more than any toy should ever experience. They nearly died several times before, why was now any different?
Buzz suddenly reached out to Woody with his other free hand, silently asking his best friend for his companionship once more. The cowboy doll realized flames would begin licking his boots at any moment and soon enough consume them all completely. There was no escape, no miracle, no rescue. There was only one option left to choose.
'But we shall choose it together.'
Woody grabbed his best friend's hand firmly, giving a small squeeze of understanding. Relief flushed onto Buzz's face for a moment as he tightened his grip in return. Woody immediately turned to his right, catching sight of the rest of his family. They had confidently linked their hands together as well, affirming their attachments for one another. Yet, Slinky had one paw free. Without thinking, the cowboy seized the dog's paw quickly. A surge of energy suddenly rushed through Woody and for the first time in nearly a decade, he felt truly content.
They would meet the end together, a family that would never be separated, not even in death. As he stared numbly at their blazing death, Woody could not help but smile slightly.
'Our friendship will never die…until tomorrow, my friends…'
Then, a white light blinded them all.