The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Why I need to arrange a rescue expedition

with 18 comments

My first reaction to Toy Story 3 was panic. Panic and shame.

“OMG! Where have I put Halsnalle? Where is he? He must be in the storehouse outside, in one of the hundreds of boxes. But which one? Can he be saved? And how COULD I treat him like this?”

Halsnalle is used to rough treatment. His name, meaning “Neck Teddy bear” (it sounds much better in Swedish), refers to the fact that the throat was the first spot where he got worn out and started to lose his fur after receiving too many hugs from his loving owner.

While his appearance might be a little bit off-putting before you got to know him, I think he would have made a wonderful addition to the party in Toy Story 3. A little grumpier and older than most of the others, not fit to take part of their wildest adventures, but someone they could turn to when they were in need of word of advice or a pat on the shoulder.

Kermode’s review
But let’s leave Halsnalle for now and talk a little about Toy Story 3. I’m not sure I would have watched it at all if it wasn’t for my favourite podcaster, Mark Kermode. Probably not.

The title tells everything, doesn’t it? Sequels are rarely as good as the original, and the quality tends to decrease over time. While I knew that I did like the first two movies quite well, it was very long since I watched them, and I did it as a mother, accompanying her children, which meant that I had seen it with Swedish voices and with my main attention on the kids rather than on the movie. These days my children are adults (or at least they think they are), and if they’d like to see Toy Story 3, they’d probably rather do it with their friends than with me. The days of family-watching were over and it never occurred to me that I should go and see it on my own.

The glowing review from Kermode changed all of this. I came across it as I listened to some old episodes. In his take on the movie he made a beautiful (and as it turned out very accurate) comparison to the final chapter of Winnie the Pooh, the one that always moved me to tears. So when I discovered that my local library would lend me Toy Story 3 for free, I put myself in the queue to get it. I wanted to see with my own eyes if it was as good as Kermode claimed. And it was. He knows his stuff, that guy.

Hard-boiled action
Toy Story 3 is what I’d say is as close as you can come to a perfect animated movie. It’s got all of the ingredients you possibly could look for; it’s funny, touching and engaging, incredibly imaginative and creative (tortilla potato ftw!), bringing something for everyone, regardless of age. Or rather: almost regardless of age.

I was actually a little bit surprised at how hard-boiled some of the action scenes were, especially one towards the end, when – SPOILER ALERT – the toys escape death by a whisker. That scene was breathtaking in a way I never imagined was possible from an animated movie, but I would have thought twice before showing it to very young children considering the risk for nightmares. (Believe me; it’s possible to give your child phobia about certain things just by showing them the wrong movie. I know it from experience, but I’ll save that story for another day.) However, what do I know? Maybe the children have grown a lot tougher the last 15 years and I’m just overly protective.

A small remark
If you want to hear me say anything negative about Toy Story 3, you’d have to press me hard. The only minor spot I can think of is the view on gender issues. It felt slightly stereotyped at times, especially when it comes to homosexuality and men who like to dress up in pretty clothes. Some of the jokes connected to the Ken doll character were close to passing the best-before-date. But it’s just a small remark.

What really matters is that I too fell in love with Toy Story 3, to the extent that I now consider buying it, and you should know that I don’t buy many movies at all. This is one that I’d be happy to revisit, on my own or possibly in company with grandchildren at some point in the far distant future.

Finding Halsnalle
But first I need to find Halsnalle! Last time I saw him, he had huge naked spots on his skin. In some places it had cracked and now displayed the grey stuffing. One of his arms looked as if it had been chewed on by a monster, only half of it remaining. In one way he had. Children can treat their toys quite brutally, as shown in Toy Story 3. But he always bore his suffering with dignity, like Eeyore.

With a sombre face expression he reassured me: “I know what you’re going through, and it sucks, but we’ll always be together and I’ll never desert you, no matter what”. Halsnalle kept his vow of loyalty, just like Woody did in the movie. I didn’t. It makes me sad.

Maybe I should arrange a rescue expedition. Who knows going on in the storehouse at night?  I know there are other creatures around, such as the rubber giraffe with the black hair and a troll face. Is he really to be trusted?

Halsnalle – if you read this, know: I’m on my way. And I won’t let you go again. Please, please forgive me for all those years of oblivion and neglect. I’ve learned my lesson. Toy Story 3 showed me the way.

Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, US, 2010) My rating: 5/5

Written by Jessica

September 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Toy Story 3

18 Responses

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  1. I’m glad you liked it – I loved the film.

    Big Ted, my 70 year old bear, sits on my bookshelf in my lounge. He was rescued by my mother from my father who used to sit him on the end of his bed and throw things at him. I shared everything with him – all my school trips, my hospital visits and he came with me to Uni where eventually he was replaced in my bed by my husband.

    He proudly sports his white glove, which he had to cover his threadbare arms LONG before Michael Jackson made them trendy. He knows that once I go he will be cared for by my daughter who I hope will continue to love him life I did and my dad did before me.

    Hugs to Halsnalle ❤


    September 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    • I’m glad Big Ted got a better treatment than Halsnalle. 70 years! That’s quite an age! I hope Halsnalle too will reach it. First thing I have to do after the rescue is to introduce him to my daughters. Hugs to Ted!


      September 13, 2011 at 12:15 am

  2. …and now I feel compulsified ta go rescue Gasmobile from that box in the garage. I’ll figger out what ta do with an orange elephant pillow with a strange name afters.


    September 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    • Go, go, go! Gasmobile! That’s as weird as Halsnalle! But cute.


      September 13, 2011 at 12:15 am

  3. That first paragraph made me think of “Redda Jobba död eller levanda” I’ve no idea how many other people can relate to that tv show. It was about a kid who kept loosing his toy bear, in the most unlikely places. I think it was a Swedish show, so maybe you remember it Jessica?


    September 12, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    • To be honest I’ve never heard of that TV show but it sounds well worth remembering! You can’t rescue too many toy bears in this world.


      September 13, 2011 at 12:16 am

    • Its “Rädda Joppe på liv eller död” a true swedish classic kids tv-series in mini format. The kid in the show loses his toy animal Joppe in every episode before they find him after a series of events in every episode. Its a classic.

      Joel Burman

      September 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      • So strange I missed that series! Or maybe I just don’t recall it. I guess I’m a few years older though, so it might be that it was sent when I was in my teenages and didn’t watch programs for children…


        September 13, 2011 at 10:21 pm

        • Might be the case… I’m 32 and remember thinking it was a bit childish but still powerful.

          Joel Burman

          September 13, 2011 at 10:46 pm

  4. Go Joppe! (At least I remember too, Dwism 🙂

    My teddy-bear Beppo, inherited from my mom (who named it after her favourite type of chocolate biscuits as a kid), is sitting on top of the bookshelf here, approving of the Halsnalle rescue mission. Go, Jessica 🙂


    September 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm

  5. I started readin this and thinking to myself, this Jessica is bonkers, feeling shame about losing her Teddy!! But then I started thinking about Toby and Tess, a married couple Toby was a dog, Tess a blue bear. They loved me truly and I loved them back….WHERE ARE THEY!!!!??????

    Toy Story 3 is a good film too!!

    Scott Lawlor

    September 13, 2011 at 10:15 am

    • I tell you, they’re out there somewhere. You’ll find them one day. Toys have their ways to get out of the most tricky of situations you know. So don’t give up. GO GET TOBY AND TESS!


      September 13, 2011 at 10:44 am

  6. Charles and Hund (mine and my wife’s uncannily similar teddy-bear dogs) look after our bed when we are at work, threadbare, well-loved, and never to be superfluous – actually after we first met when we were living in separate countries we exchanged our teddies, to keep each other company.

    The rest of our teddies crowd the tops of our bookshelves. Apart from Pink Elephant, and Aristophones (a pink elephant and a christmas penguin) who also inhabit the bed 🙂

    Lewis Maskell

    September 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    • “actually after we first met when we were living in separate countries we exchanged our teddies, to keep each other company”. That is SO romantic. ❤

      You really have made a wonderful home for toys. Charles, Hund, Pink Elephant, Aristophones and all the others can consider themselves very, very lucky.


      September 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm

  7. Amazing write-up of a great movie. To me its the runner-up for best 2010 feature after Blue Valntine.
    I bawled like a kid in the cinema to the point that it almost got embarrassing. And the same thing happened when watching it on blu-ray. An amazing animated classic.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Joel Burman

    September 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    • Thank you! I haven’t seen Blue Valentine myself, but I’ve put myself in a queue for it at my library, so hopefully that will change soon.
      I like the fact that you cry at movies. I do that too. It’s very refreshing. Like brushing your teeth I think.


      September 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm

      • I look forward in hearing your thoughts on Blue Valentine! Gosling and Michelle Williams are truly great in it.

        Joel Burman

        September 13, 2011 at 10:47 pm

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