Toy Story - 1995
Age-appropriateness: Generally wholesome enough for all ages. Some mild violence involving toys. Name-calling.
Overview: A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy's room. Toy Story is entertaining and incredibly deep. The character have major flaws that mirror our own (pride, identity outside of their created purpose) and the way they overcome those flaws (humility, friends communicating truth in love) can teach a ton of great life lessons.
Themes: toys, change, friendship, community, identity, insecurity, jealousy, pride, teamwork, love
The Quick 3
Ask these quick questions to hit the major themes of the film.
1. Pride. Have you ever been too proud of yourself? What’s one thing you can do to make yourself “less important”?
Woody thought he was the most important toy in the world. His selfishness created a puffed-up view of himself that led to pride and an inflated ego. Pride is a feeling that you are the best and most important.
2. Jealousy. Have you ever felt jealous of someone else? When
Buzz started to get more attention, Woody became wildly jealous. Jealousy is wanting to have something that someone else has.
3. Identity. What makes you, you? How would you describe the parts of “who you are” that will never change?
Buzz Lightyear was confused about his identity. He thought he was a real space ranger, when actually he was simply a toy. Our identity is the truest, deepest part of who we are. Our identity is determined by God and remains true our entire life. It’s who God sees us to be: perfect and chosen sons and daughters of the King. Fully known and still...fully loved. Citizens of Heaven. Blessed. Forgiven. Saved.
After The Movie Discussion Guide
Follow this 5-10 minute discussion guide to drive an in-depth conversation.
1. What are your favorite toys? What are the most fun games you like to play with them? Take time to play with your child with their favorite toys.
Read this article, which describes 5 benefits of imaginary play.
2. Woody thought he was the most important toy in the world. His selfishness created a puffed-up view of himself that led to pride and an inflated ego. Pride is a feeling that you are the best and most important. The Bible warns that everyone is susceptible to pride, and it’s one of the most dangerous and tricky things that happens to us. It’s a sin that causes destruction (Pro 16:18; James 4:6; Rom. 12:16). As Christians, we are called to consider others more important than ourselves (Phil 2:3). What is one specific thing you can do to make yourself less important, and to think of others more?
3. Woody never wanted Andy to change his toy preferences. Buzz Lightyear didn’t want to change his view of himself as a space ranger. However, change is an inevitable part of life. But regardless of what unexpected change is coming in our life, the great thing about God is that he never changes! He is always good, loving, merciful, and gracious! He’ll never, ever change his mind on loving you. Change is really hard, so when change comes, remember who God is: John 14:27; Psalm 55:22; Isaiah 41:13. What does it mean to say that “God never changes”?
4. When Buzz started to get more attention, Woody became wildly jealous. Jealousy is wanting to have something that someone else has. Have you ever felt jealous of someone else?
Parent resources: Here are 6 ways to deal with jealousy in children and How to help your kids overcome jealousy and insecurity
5. Sid is very disrespectful to his toys. Do you feel like you treat your things with respect?
Minute By Minute Guide
Use this break down of the entire movie in addition to the “After the Movie” discussion guide. Great for repeat viewings.
:11 Andy’s birthday party. What is the best birthday party you can remember? Why was it so awesome? What’s your favorite gift that you’ve ever given to someone for their birthday?
:17 Buzz meets Andy’s toys. There seems to be an argument over who Buzz is – is he a space ranger or is he just a toy? Woody has already defined the toy’s purpose in life is to “be there when Andy needs them.” Yet Buzz thinks he was made for something more. Who do you think is right?
:19 Strange Things. Woody lived his entire life believing he was the best. That he was and always will be Andy’s favorite toy. Out of nowhere, everything seems to change. How do you think this makes Woody feel? Is there any kind of change that you’ve experienced in your life that’s been difficult? (i.e. starting at a new school, moving into a new house, getting a new baby brother/sister)
:26 Woody tricks Buzz so that he could go to Pizza Planet with Andy. Woody was willing to hurt another toy because he was selfish and cared about himself more than anyone else. Have you ever done something selfish that ended up hurting someone else?
:37 The toy aliens worship the claw. The aliens say that the claw is their “master”. They talk about the claw with reverence (deep respect) and Woody even calls them “zealots”. The claw is something that the Bible calls an “idol”. It is something that one worships as a god – the thing that gets that person’s highest love and affection. While it may not be a claw, every single person gives their deepest love to something besides God from time to time. Can you think of anything outside of God (even if it’s a good thing) that you have considered most important in your life? (i.e. a video game, a friend, yourself)
:44 Buzz and Woody are terrified of Sid’s toys simply because they appear scary. Even though they look different, these toys were actually very nice. Have you ever make assumptions about people because of the way they look? Who is a person that turned out to be much different than your first impression of them?
:46 Buzz sees the commercial of the Buzz Lightyear toy and is confronted with his true identity. Our identity is the truest, deepest part of who we are. Buzz goes into a depression because he believed the wrong thing about his life. How would you describe yourself? What makes you, you?
Read this article on How to Talk to Your Child about their Identity.
:57 Woody lovingly tells Buzz the truth about his identity, but emphasizes Buzz’s strengths. Buzz thought the wrong things about himself to be true. That led him into trouble. Woody befriends him, and humbly and lovingly points out that Buzz has a lot of great qualities that are true of him. When Buzz’s identity was off, he needed a friend to reveal his blind-spots and also build him up. Do you have friends that you lovingly tell them to do the right thing? Do you have friends that encourage you and make you feel great about yourself? How can you be that kind of friend?
1:01 Woody couldn’t save Buzz by himself, so he asks for help. Is there anything you can’t accomplish by yourself? Who are the people in your life you can ask for help when you need it?
1:02 Sid’s toys get revenge. As it turns out, the bad things that happened to the toys (the way Sid modified their parts) are actually the very thing that allow their escape. The worst moments of these toy’s lives actually turned out to make them special and unique. Because they were combined with other toys, they were able to do things that weren’t possible before. Is there anything bad that happens in this world that you can’t understand? Something that seems like there’s no way good could come from it? Has something bad ever happened to you, but it eventually turned out to be a blessing in disguise? Something that was difficult, but actually led to your growth?