Movie Review: Toy Story 3

Movie Review: Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3

Rated G for General audience.
Genre: Adventure, animation, comedy, family
Running Time: 1 hour 43 minutes

The creators of the beloved Toy Story franchise have re-opened the toy box once again to bring moviegoers back to the world of Woody, Buzz and all our other favorite toy gang characters in Toy Story 3.

Woody and Buzz knew their owner Andy would grow up someday.

But, what exactly will happen when that day arrives?

In this third installment of the Toy Story franchise, Andy is preparing to leave for college. That of course leaves his loyal toys troubled about their uncertain future.

Our Old Pals Are Back!

In our household we grew up with Woody and and Buzz through the lives our kids.

Our kids were young when the first two Toy Story flicks hit the big screen. Of course we loved them because of the actors lending their voice talent for the roles of Woody, Buzz, Ham and the gang. It’s just great to hear Tom Hanks as Woody and we will never forget the “To infinity and beyond…” line from Tim Allen who voices Buzz Lightyear.

Aside from the usual line-up, a few new faces, some plastic, some plush, join the adventure in Toy Story 3.

Of the new toys, the iconic swinging bachelor and Barbie’s counterpart Ken, voiced by Michael Keaton, shows up on the scene. There’s a hedgehog named Mr. Picklepants voiced by Timothy Dalton and a pink, strawberry-scented teddy bear named Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear voiced by Ned Beatty. All in all, it’s great to hear the usual voice talent from our old pals and we applaud the filmmakers for grabbing great voice talent for the new toys included in the movie too.

In reality, there are really two main reasons that Toy Story 3 works so well. First off, the filmmakers were smart enough to bring back all the original characters with the original voice talent. Secondly, the writers were also smart enough to have Andy, the main non-toy-character, actually grow up! All too often such animated movies make the mistake of never having the kids grow up. Yes, it’s all aimed at gathering a new generation of fans. But, in the end, most of the time that does nothing more than kill a franchise off in the long run.

Such is not the case with Toy Story 3!

Through the years, going back to 1995 with the release of the first Toy Story, straight through to the latest release, the scriptwriters have always made sure Andy was growing up too. There’s nothing worse than going to a movie sequel where the characters don’t grow up. In most cases such tactics end up with fall flat movies aimed at doing nothing more than generating more dollars through a new generation of kids. However, with Toy Story 3 our youngest son, who’s now 17 and pretty much grew up with the Toy Story pals of Woody and Buzz, said he felt it was the perfect way to conclude the franchise.

As a side note – Here’s hoping this is indeed the end of the Toy Story franchise. Without writing any kind of a spoiler here, the filmmakers do leave the movie hanging with a possible direction for the franchise to continue. But, here’s hoping they know let Woody, Buzz and the rest of the Toy Story gang go out in style with integrity. Please, no more sequels! It just wouldn’t be the same.

A Coming Of Age Story For Toys & People

Toy Story 3 represents not only a story of toys growing up, but also of the characters growing up.

While the toys get older, they’re concerned about where they might end up. Will it be in a garbage bag? Will it be in the attic saved for grandkids of their original owner? Or, will it be off to another home, or even a daycare donation, for kids to play with year after year after year? Toy Story 3 answers all of these questions very well. Not only do we see these questions answered, we also discover what it means to grow up, and what true friendship means.

While the “friendship” angle of the story line lessons are discovered through the toys, we  see the struggle of growing up exhibited in the life of Andy.

Andy is heading off to college – But, does he really have to leave all of his childhood behind just because he’s now college age?

Last, but certainly not least, another aspect of the Toy Story franchise that makes it so good revolves around the fact that while the main characters remain the same, they’re also not afraid to add a few new toy characters along the way. The edition of the Ken doll, or should I say “action figure” and Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear just generates more interest for the long time fans of Toy Story.

A Trip To The Dark Side

However, when it comes to content and rating, once again we say a big boo-hoo to Pixar for their fascination with the dark side.

Why do they insist on taking things too far when it comes to content when the movie is blatantly aimed at kids.

Toy Story 3 contains an entire subplot of the toys getting thrown away and landing in a landfill site. Staying away from any kind of spoiler here, lets just say the landfill scenes were not needed. All it does is scares the young kids in the audience. I’ve received reports from parents saying their young kids were afraid for the entire last half hour of the movie. Others said they had to take their younger kids out of the theater because they were crying.

With that in mind, even though Toy Story 3 carries a G rating for what’s supposed to be a “general audience”, we have to say it’s cautionary family-friendly.

Reality is, even though Pixar is trying to pick up a new generation of viewers, Toy Story 3 should have a PG rating.

Toy Story 3 is more of a movie aimed at those who grew up with the Toy Story franchise, not those who are just now being introduced to it. Toy Story 3 really is not a movie for a general audience. Parents of pre-schoolers, or even kids in elementary school will do well to stay away from this movie. While we applaud the filmmakers on so many levels for producing an incredible movie where their main character has grown up, we give them thumbs down for trying to grab money making people think this final installment of Toy Story is for a general audience.

If you believe the G rating, we say Toy Story 3 is cautionary family-friendly. However, if you change the rating to one of PG, we will say Toy Story 3 is family friendly.

Cautiously enjoy the show!
Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.