But the thing that makes Woody special, is he’ll never give up on you… ever. He’ll be there for you, no matter what.”- Andy
Yesterday, Guy and I made a date of an afternoon off, had lunch out and went to see Toy Story 3. Both of us have been anxiously anticipating it since we heard there was to be a sequel to the sequel. It has rave reviews and we’ve heard from more than one person that Toy Story 3 might be the best of the trilogy. After hearing all this I was surprised by the overall darkness of the film, both visually and metaphorically within the subject matter. A good portion of the film takes place at night, which obviously mutes the hues, of both the characters and the settings. Some of those more sinister themes were pushed to far at times, where scenes started to feel like they were lasting past the point of suspense and enjoyment. While I realize that this move was attempting to tie up the lose ends of a trilogy it really played to an adult audience (and that audience that grew up with the first two films) and not enough to the children who would potentially embracing these characters for the first time. Part of the joy of watching cartoons is losing one’s self in the silliness and joy that comes with childhood and a lot of the time I felt like that was missing. It felt like a kids movie, that forgot it was for children. Some of my favorite characters were made to be fickle in their loyalty to Andy, the little boy, almost a man who had scrawled his name on their feet in permanence so many years ago.I also felt like it lacked some of the sing-a-long qualities of the first two. Even the lyrics of the songs were pretty somber. I included the two most prominent songs from the film.
Now that I sort of vented , I did like it and if I had to give it a letter grade it would be teetering on the A-/B+ edge with the beloved characters giving it the A-. I also would have given it a PG rating rather than a G rating, due to some intense scenes that might be frightening or upsetting to young children. I did appreciate the bittersweet feel. The beginning and the end were probably the two most enjoyable parts of it for me. It was oh so reminiscent of both the pains and joys of growing up. Independence comes with its own privileges and yet at the same time those things you give up, sometimes willingly and unknowingly and at other times painstakingly, also have great value.
I loved the character of Bonnie , who acts as a rare uplifting character through out the film and gives new lives and meanings to Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bullseye and all the rest. Toy Story is a tear jerking, heart breaking and honest portrayal of what growing up is and means. I loved how Andy has evolved from the playful little boy to a sweet young man torn between what was and what is to be. Overall there is a theme of love, acceptance, loyalty and family that is true to the characters that we fell in love with fifteen years ago and while at times the message and the film are less jubilant that it two prequels, the characters are true to form and mostly lovable as ever. And I’ll personally never get enough of Rex’s hysterics.