During orientation at Ohio Wesleyan a few of us went to see Toy Story 3 as one of the evenings events. I have a few different impressions of the movie based on which lens you look through. My initial impression was, of course, seen through the lens of a concerned mother. The second was through the lens of a soon-to-be-college-student, and one who grew up alongside Andy at that. The third, and final lens is that of a movie lover.
As I mentioned before, my initial reaction to the movie was that it was completely and utterly unsuitable for children. The rating was PG and I would not encourage younger kids to see the movie by any means. It grapples with subjects like loss, torture, separation, pain, insanity and death. The corrupt system of toys running the daycare is a difficult topic for younger children to understand, just as the bear’s reaction to rejection leads him to make some terrible decisions. I think it is difficult for children to understand the complexities of the corruption. I was personally always frightened by the idea of torture or the presence of “Big Brother” as a kid, although I doubt I would have called it that. The use of the sandbox as a torture chamber was terrifying and the Butterfly Room as a room in which only newer stronger toys could put up with the pain inflicted on them by the younger children was somewhat upsetting. My initial reactions were based on this lense and when I gave myself more time to think about the overall creation and point of the movie I came to a few other conclusions.
When watching the movie with this motive it takes a distinctly bittersweet turn. I soon realized that this film was primarily created for our generation, and I believe specifically for people moving on to college this year. We’ve grown up alongside Andy as each Toy Story movie has come out and now we’re being taught our final lessons in letting-go and moving-on from Pixar and Disney. The idea of separation and the casting off of childhood comforts is present throughout the film and when it hits so close to home it can be very jolting (especially when watching the movie on a college campus 12 hours from home and family).
Finally, when I decided to look at the movie objectively, I realized that it was a truly great movie and an excellent way for the trilogy to finish. Pixar does not often continue on with their project so this was a major exception and a great one. It tied up loose ends while still introducing us to new characters along the way. The animation was, as always, incredible and the writing was brilliant yet again. Once the movie is over you feel as if it has gotten the message across and genuinely works as a whole (meaning the writing, animation, directing, editing and voice overs all work well together).
I would recommend this movie to ANYONE from this generation and older, but maybe bring your kids to see it some other time, or watch it at home where there is a handy pause button nearby.