As a longtime fan of Woody, Buzz, and company, I eagerly anticipated taking my four and six year old to the 3-D version of Toy Story 3. Little did I know I would be the one to have to evacuate during the apocalyptic climax, as all of Andy’s toys were almost destroyed in a maw of flames, after a brutal betrayal by the evil daycare dictator bear, Lotso.
Lotso has the chance to push a button and save the toys from certain destruction. But instead of helping, (EVEN THOUGH WOODY SAVED HIS LIFE!) the bear snarls, “Where’s your kid NOW, Cowboy?” and saves his own worthless polyester hide.
This movie confirmed every fear I had as a child. My dollies feelings really DID get hurt when I took one on a trip and left the other 16 home. They WERE cold when I forgot to tuck them in at night, and they noticed which doll got the chipped cup during our leisurely afternoon teas.
My kids seemed to take the movie in stride, despite the heavy, sad plot line of Andy growing up and leaving for college. Upon his departure, the toys either get college, the attic, or the donation bin- where they’d be relegated to- DUH da duh…DAYCARE.
If I had children in a center setting, I would have been further horrified by this film. It starts off rainbows and sunshine, where there’s a literal rainbow on the door and all the playthings will never be abandoned again. They’ll have a constant flow of growing children to love and interact with them…every toy’s dream.
But as with most Utopias, there’s a dark side. At night, the evil dictator bear Lotso decides which toys are “keepers” and which toys will be used as “Toddler Fodder”- considered useless and expendable. They’d be given to the smaller kids to mouth, suck on, and destroy.
When a toy steps out of line, they’re locked in organizational bins, “The Box”, (sandbox), or, in the case of Buzz, reset to factory settings by a torturer named “The Bookworm”. Nighttime at the center is an Orwellian DMZ where every movement is monitored by one of the most terrifying cinematic creations I’ve ever seen, “The Monkey”.
Strangely, I can’t find a single image online to share with you of the Monkey (GOOD CALL, PIXAR!) but trust me, he’s freaky. As is the clown that tells his tale of woe of how Lotso was turned bu his owner, Daisy’s careless loss of her toys at a rest stop and subsequent replacement of them.
Oh, the toy-manity.
One aspect of Toy Story 3 that I found both hilarious and instructive was the Barbie/Ken plotline.
At first, at seems like Barbie is livin’ the dream. When she arrives at the Daycare, she sees Ken and the dream house- he mournfully tells her he has it all- except for someone to share it with. So they shack up.
But when Barbie sees her friends being mistreated, she decides to take action and flee her gilded cage. She goes all kung fu/special ops on Ken and ties him uo in his boxers- then destroys his vintage wardrobe, piece by piece, until he gives her the deets she needs to reset Buzz. He breaks on the Nehru jacket.
I’ve never been so proud of Barbie as when she broke her Stepford chains and stood up for her clan.
Later, the evil bear said to Ken, “She’s a Barbie! There’s a hundred million out there just like her!”
“Not to me,” Ken said reverently. Atta boy.
All in all, I don’t know if I would have taken my kids to see this had I known what was coming down the pike. They’re not as sensitive about their toys as I was- this movie would have sent me into an OCD tailspin at 5. But I’m not sure I would have subjected them to such a dark and toy-violent film had I realized it was not of the same mostly lighthearted ilk as the first 2.
My final Mompinion: It’s a good movie, I’m just not sure it’s for kids. Rated G? Seriously?
Have you guys seen it? What did you think?
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