Whilst researching Toy Story 3, I came across this question on Yahoo Answers:
"Did anyone else think Toy Story 3 was really about Communism??!?"
To which someone replied:
"I thought the movie was very Marxist. I thought the toys in the butterfly room (I think that's what it was called) represented the bourgeoisie(upper class). The toys in the caterpillar room were the proletariat(lower class) and the bear Lotso was the government system keeping the bourgeoisie in power. The proletariat revolted and threw down their oppressor, quite literally, and began a new "government" with absolute equality, which is the vision of a perfect communist nation. One could also construe the story to allude to WWII, with the bear being Hitler, the ones in the butterfly room being Nazis, and the ones in the caterpillar room as the oppressed peoples(mostly Jews). In this case the new toys from Andy's room would be the Allied forces in Europe, or the french resistance. On a smaller scale it could be just one prison camp. Any way you look at it the main message is the pursuit of freedom and equality."
Whilst I believe the above view is valid, I had another take - that the movie contained veiled and not so veiled allusions to freemasonry and the masonic system. The first clue that this may be the case comes at the beginning in the film - in Andy's bedroom, before the toys embark on their journey to Sunnyside day care centre. We see a poster on the wall of a baseball field - this is when my antennae perked up so to speak, as according to many the layout of a baseball field is based on the design of a masonic square and compass. No screen caps from the movie i'm afraid, but hey, you all know what a baseball field looks like.
When the toys arrive at Sunnyside day care centre one of them remarks that the rainbow is a nice, positive symbol and thus should be seen as a good omen.
We are then presented with the 'butterfly room' and suddenly we have two of the most ubiquitous symbols when it comes to trauma-based mind control (Project Monarch, MKULTRA), the butterfly and the rainbow. We also have the solar imagery of the day care centre's logo, perhaps a reference to the false promise of 'illumination' that organisations such as the Freemasons offer. Such symbols can in themselves have positive connotations, but depending upon who employs them and to what end, these can be grossly subverted. For anyone interested in reading up on trauma-based mind control, there are many books and websites I could recommend. For now however, you would do well to visit http://pseudoccultmedia.blogspot.com, as well as http://vigilantcitizen.com. Both deal with occult / mind control symbols and themes present in popular culture. Also check out http://in2worlds.net/mind-control-themes-and-programming-triggers-in-movies.
We are soon introduced to Lotso bear, the 'head honcho' amongst the toys at the day care centre. We later find out that rather than being the cuddly, warm, paternal figure he intially presents himself as (who also smells of strawberries I might add), he is in fact an evil dictator. He is not what he seems, just as the rainbow on the door was not what it seemed.
The fact that we later learn that Lotso is not what he seems gives a somewhat chilling subtext to the following fake 80s commercials marketing Lotso, made by Pixar to promote the film. As someone commented on YouTube in regards to this link "Lotso might seem nice (and smell like strawberries), but behind that smile, lies pure evil all stuffed with fluff." Others have noted the sinister connotations of these advertisements.
Please note the butterfly in the top left-hand corner of the room. Also, this first commercial is 33 seconds long...
Here's a link to a second 'commercial':
One may wonder, after seeing these fake commercials, to what extent some of the messages in this film are a commentary on the Disney cooperation itself. Television is so often utilised as a form of daycare by parents and one of the messages of the movie seems to be that the shows and movies we let our children watch - the cute cuddly characters and child / family friendly shows - are not what they appear to be on the surface.
Think Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus perhaps (pseudooccultmedia has a great post on this)
Or Britney and Christina, once both part of the infamouse Mickey Mouse Club (the two girls on the right in the first picture) and think of what they became.
As for Sunnyside itself, whilst we are initially led to believe this will be some kind of utopia, again, behind the facade the truth is another story. As a review summarised:
"The day care center is revealed to be a feudal hierarchy. At its apex is misanthrope Lotso Bear, who parades as southern gentleman while his cane and limp evoke the tyranny of Orson Welles' crooked police detective in A Touch of Evil. The day care is divided between the heavenly Butterfly Room and the hellish nightmare of the Caterpillar Room (characterized by a deft parody of the terrifying camera work in Requiem for a Dream). When Buzz Lightyear attempts to reason with kingpin Lotso, he discovers the horrific extent to which Lotso rules his toy kingdom. He is “brainwashed” and returns to the Toys as a foot soldier of injustice, holding his former comrades in captivity."
Indeed, what we discover in the film is that new toys (initiates) are not allowed in the 'butterfly room', but only the 'caterpillar room'. Only those at the top (Lotso and his 'inner circle') decide who and who cannot gain access to the butterfly room. This seems to reflect the nature of the Freemasonic structure where new initiates are not privy to 'higher' knowledge held by the chosen few, but have to progress through the degrees. It is Buzz Lightyear that discovers what is really going on in Sunnyside and he consequently invited to join (but also collude) with the system or face the consequences, When he refuses to cooperate he has his mind wiped and switched to another personality. After buzz is 'transformed' by those who run the butterfly room he becomes the Lotso's loyal henchman. This seems to be another reference to mind control and a remark, once again, on some of the things that actually go on behind the scenes - behind the facade. We may also regard it as no coincidence that the Barbie doll character is admitted straight into the butterfly room after meeting ken, a member of Lotso's 'inner circle' / cabal and is whisked away to live in Ken's 'dream house'- rather like the mind controlled slaves who service the elite.
Another of Lotso's loyal henchmen is 'Big Baby' - a cute sync, as others have also observed, to the 'big baby' of 2001: A Space Odyssey and perhaps more pertinently to 2010: The Year We Make Contact'. As if to solidify this link, Big Baby and Lotso's previous owner before coming to Sunnyside was 'Daisy' (those who will have seen 2001 will not need an explanation as to the pertinence of this).
Big Baby, just in the above poster, has only one eye, the other being closed, and can be considered Lotso's chief agent enforcing his diabolical agenda. Remind you of anything else that is 'one-eyed'..?
Here we can see Big Baby, along with Lotso and Ken just behind him, as well as an octopus - all presenting their outward 'smiley', friendly personas.
The octopus is an interesting inclusion here, particularly when we think about it's relation to a spider - I am thinking of how an organisation such as Disney or Freemasonry spins it's web and ensnares others within it's tentacles. Most interesting is that big baby seems to be an adaption of a character in Toy Story 1- Babyface. If you combine Big Baby and the octopus you get Baby Face.
Now, it is Big Baby that eventually turns on Lotso at the end of the film and in true Darth Vader style (another chief henchman enforcing a Emperor's diabolical agenda), picks him Lotso up and hurls him into a shaft. However, shortly before Lotso is thrown down the shaft by Big Baby two important things happen. The first is that the link connection between Lotso's 'organisation' at Sunnyside and Feemasonry is solidified with the following accusation, levelled at Lotso:
"You created a PYRAMID and placed yourself at the TOP!'
After this is said we see a garbage truck approaching down the street. It's logo is a pyramid and it is called 'Tri-County Landfills'. The number of the garbage truck is 33. If this film was purely about Communism or Nazism then I do not think that these symbols and numbers would have reared their heads at this point.
These are my thoughts for now. Bear in mind I have only seen the movie once at the theatre. Maybe once the DVD is released there will be some more gems to uncover. I do remember spotting a checkerboard floor at some point in the film (a key Masonic symbol) and it should also be noted that the animation short played before the start of the movie was a dualistic masterpiece entitled 'Day and Night' which was worth the price of admission alone.
Until the next time...