Toy Story 3 is another notch in Pixar’s belt. Of course, everyone expected them to turn out another successful movie, but Toy Story 3 has advanced Pixar into a different realm of family filmmaking. I guess what I mean to say is this: even though Pixar had already advanced into more mature filmmaking with Ratatouille and Up, the fact that they can take toys and make them have such emotional depths, enough to where your eyes well up and your breath hitches at their plight, means that the studio really does know how to take story matter that would normally be boiled down to crap by lesser studios and elevate it into something that adults not only appreciate, but can reflect on. The way Pixar has manipulated these toys into well-rounded characters makes the audience once again think back to their own childhood and wonder if their toys probably can feel.

The storyline is about Andy(John Morris) getting ready to go to college, leaving the fate of the toys, led by Woody (Tom Hanks) Buzz (Tim Allen), and Jessie (Joan Cusack) open to uncertainty. When the toys expect to the taken to the attic (Woody is packed to go to college with Andy), they are mistakenly put on the curb as trash, leading the toys (including Woody) to Sunnyside Day Care, the domain of the strawberry-scented Lots O’ Hugging Bear (Ned Beatty). When the toys realize the Day Care is more like a high-security prison, they hatch a plan to escape.

That small synopsis doesn’t really do the film justice, but that’s all I can tell you without giving too much away. Everyone’s doing what they do best in this film–the film actors, especially Beatty and Michael Keaton as Ken, are all stellar. There are two notable cameos in this film, Sid and Totoro from Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, which should make Pixar and animated movie buffs happy.

But the big thing to stress is that you should not take small children to this film. I know that sounds weird, to not take your kids to a kids’ movie, but that’s just it–this is a film disguised as a kids’ movie. It really isn’t. If it’s for any kids, it’s for seven year olds and up, not toddlers. NOT TODDLERS! I’m not sure how much more I can stress that. Case in point–there is a monkey character that you really need to watch out for in this film, especially if you see it in 3D. It made me jumpy, and I was watching the movie in its traditional form. Also, there is a lot more instances of loss, potential death, and serious-minded escape and action scenes that will make small children cry. In the first 15-20 minutes, a child was crying in the theater I was in. By the time the movie was over, there were at least seven different instances of scared children.

There are a couple of instances where things seem to happen too conveniently, but overall, this film is an excellent exercise in experiencing loss, death, the unknown, and new beginnings. Make sure to see this one in the theaters (perhaps more than once).


~ by LM Preston on June 27, 2010.

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