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Movie Review: Why Toy Story 3 Made Me Cry

July 20, 2010

Spoiler Level: Mild to moderate.

There is something about nostalgia that can pique emotions like nothing else. For most adults, childhood toys are simply fragments of fond memories–former figments of our imaginations that would play a role in building the characters we are today.

What Toy Story 3 does is grab those memories; it seizes them with a wild cast of lovable CG toys with personalities as varied as they are charming.

I missed Toy Story 2, but it wasn’t necessary to bridge the first and the third. Andy, the lovable boy introduced in the first of the series, is now 17 and getting ready to leave for college. The toys, boxed up and neglected, contemplate their future. Will they be stored in the attic or donated to charity?

An adventure lands them at Sunnyside Daycare where they are lured by the promise of playtime everyday. Meanwhile, Woody goes rogue and attempts to get back home. Stuck at the daycare, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the crew quickly find out that things at Sunnyside are not all as they seem. The kids they are assigned to are much too young and destructive. The pink bear they once thought to be a wise and benevolent leader is actually an evil tyrant who smells of strawberries and rules the daycare with a fascist fist.  (There were even times I sensed a tinge of Holocaust allusion.)

Although technically a kid’s movie, there a quite a number of adult themes, testament to the writing influence of Little Miss Sunshine’s screenplay author, Michael Ardnt. It’s the double entendres and esoteric allusions that give the movie its mass appeal to all age groups.

With Toy Story 3, Pixar has succeeded in creating the most beautiful family film of the summer. I highly recommend it to everyone.  Warning:  happy tears may ensue.

Discussion Question: What was your favorite toy when you were a kid? (Mine was a tiny Gund puppy with a gold coat named Butterscotch.  And large, empty cardboard boxes.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ben permalink
    July 21, 2010 5:14 pm

    Haven’t seen the movie yet but my understanding is that the teddy bear was a traitorous hick and some were disappointed that he didn’t get a worse comeupance. But more to the topic at hand, my favorite childhood toys were the Battle Beasts. I don’t know if other children produced in the 80s had the same love for these tiny plastic action figures of a variety of animals in robot battle armor but they rocked my world. Each one would come with either a water symbol, fire symbol, or wood symbol and you would dual with your friends in rock-paper-scissors fashion. My poor Battle Beasts, stuck in a box in the garage, unplayed-with for years. I feel bad for them but at least they are safely away from destructive infants and pink tyrants.

  2. Des permalink
    July 21, 2010 7:03 pm

    The comeuppance that the bear gets at the end is pretty substantial. I might be more forgiving than most, but I didn’t think he deserved worse. Or even as much, really, depending on how long it lasts. The idea that toys may be able to “live” more or less indefinitely holds some truly disturbing implications.

    It’s hard to say for sure what my favorite toys were as a kid. I had a bunch of stuffed toys of various animals from when I was practically a baby that I retained an emotional attachment to for many a long time, but I think the ones I played with most over the years were a bunch of soft plastic monsters and, for reasons that were obscure to me even at the time, a plastic German Shepherd, with which I would stage epic Dragon Ball Z-esque battles, with loads of powering up and getting hurled around the room.

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