Geoff and I went to see Toy Story 3 last night.
Now, before you start judging, let me explain! The first Toy Story came out in 1995, and, at the risk of dating myself, lets just say I was in middle school at the time. Geoff was a few years younger. I was given the VHS of Toy Story for my birthday when I was in 9th grade because I loved it so much.
Have you seen Toy Story? The movie is rife with jokes that only an adult would understand. I love it.
Mr. Potato Head: “Hey look! I’m Picasso!”
Ham: “I don’t get it.”
Mr. Potato Head: “You uncultured swine!”
In 2000 Toy Story 2 came out. My sister and I actually stood in line to get into the theater to see that one. It was just as good as the first, though nothing will be as good as the first one, to me.
Toy Story 3 came out on Friday, and I insisted that Geoff and I see it last night. I was not disappointed. The animation has greatly improved in the last 15 years, and all my favorite toys were still there. The plot, after a willful suspension of disbelief, was well done as well.
In this one, Andy was going off to college, and hadn’t played with his toys in years. He was facing the choice of either donating the toys or putting them in the attic, neither of which the toys really wanted. After finding themselves in a daycare with kids that didn’t know how to be gentle with the toys, their mission was simple: escape, go up into the attic, and Woody himself was heading to college with Andy.
The ending was happy, as always, but getting there was difficult. There were fewer “adult-only” jokes, fewer references to pop culture that children wouldn’t get but I have enjoyed so much in the past two movies. Overall it was also a darker, sadder movie than the other two, partially due to the “bad toy” character and partially due to the simple fact that Andy was growing up and moving on.
Overall, it was a great movie, but, as Geoff said afterwards, he would have been happy to think of Andy as a little kid, still playing with his toys.
There’s a lesson for kids and adults alike here that I wasn’t sure I wanted to be reminded of. We all grow up, we all move on, but our toys stay the same. Those same toys that used to come alive for us have lost a bit of their magic, and that overall theme of the movie was very sad to me.
Was it a good movie for kids? Most definitely. It was also a better kids movie than most of what I have seen while babysitting, one that I wouldn’t mind sitting through 50 times. (Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs are another story…) Sad as it was to remember that we all grow up, it was fun to see the toy’s reactions, and where they ended up in the end. Exactly where they belonged.