Pixar’s Toy Story 3 made a ton of money this past weekend, and I am not ashamed to admit I added to the number they will use to advertise the profitability of their company. It was a good movie. No, it was a great movie! It is amazing how moving a story about talking toys can be.
The first two proved that toys can be entertaining. OK, I take it back. The first one proved that toys can be entertaining. Toy Story 3 goes beyond that.
The most striking thing about the film, though, is that it does not seem to be a good fit for a younger audience. Kids will absolutely love the visual stimulation the film provides, not to mention the fairly punchy script. Now take the plot into consideration. Andy is now 17 years-old and has to part with his toys. Not only does he have to learn to part with his childhood, his toys have to learn how to let go as well. The film is incredibly sentimental, which may go completely over the heads of the children in the audience.
It leads me to ask if the movie was really intended for them or for those who were children when the first two Toy Story films were released?
Regardless of the answer, there was an amazingly powerful scene near the end which could have very well been the end itself. It’s a spoiler, so avert your gaze or skip down to the next paragraph if you want to be surprised. Anyway, the most powerful scene was when the toys found themselves in the dump, on the way to the incinerator. While Woody scrambles as best as he can to get away, the others solemnly look to each other and join hands. Eventually Woody joins them. They look head on at the incinerator, silently accepting death together. There is something very powerful and probably Buddhist about it, and it brought tears to my eyes. (Everyone else cried at the end when Andy gave away his toys, but this scene was much more meaningful to me. Probably says more about me than anything else.) Toys should not be able to elicit such a response from me! Sadly, it is a scene that kids wouldn’t understand.
Some are already saying that Toy Story 3 is the best Pixar film to date. That sentiment is heard after the release of every single Pixar film, with the exception of Cars. Of course, this means that people are saying that it is better than Up! Naturally, I totally and utterly disagree. But it is up there. It is a great film. It may be the best movie of 2010.
An aside, though. Am I the only one who thinks that Buzz’s Spanish mode is a tacit admission that DreamWorks got things right with Puss in Boots? Or was I too busy laughing to be offended by the stereotyping used in both cases?