Toy Story 3 (2010)

Rated: G
Length: 103 minutes
Grade: A+AAA+=A+
Budget: $200 million
Box Office: $210 million in first week! (167 U.S., 43 Intl.)

Written by: Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) John Lasseter (Cars, Toy Story 1-2, A Bug’s Life), Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Toy Story 1-2, A Bug’s Life), and Lee Unkrich (First script, but he’s been at Pixar since Toy Story 1)
Directed by: Lee Unkrich (Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Toy Story 2)
Starring the voices of: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack
With the voices of: Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, John Ratzenberger, Timothy Dalton, Bonnnie Hunt, Whoopi Goldberg, and Richard Kind.

Andy is going to college and taking only Woody with him. The other toys are supposed to go to the attic for storage, but a mix-up sends them all as donations to a daycare, where a disillusioned bear runs a totalitarian regime built around sacrificing the new immigrants to the most destructive kids.

Entertainment Value: A+
My kids laughed. My wife and I laughed. The story, the characters, the comedy, and of course the animation are all superb. The worst part of the movie was that it ended. Even the opening short “Day and Night” was brilliantly creative, if a bit strange in the ending. This is everything we have long come to demand and just expect from Pixar. I’ll be shocked if this doesn’t blow through the one billion mark in short order.

Superficial Content: A
Drugs/Alcohol A+, Sex/Nudity A, Violence B+, Language A
Heck and darn, idiot and doofus are the extent of bad content in language. There are some semi-scary scenes which are nevertheless tamer than Sid in the first movie. One scene that did bother Ethan (4) was the opener which involves a train heading off a blown up bridge (and then being saved) and an onslaught of hanging monkeys. There’s also an early scene where it seems the toys may have been crushed in a garbage truck, but they aren’t. Also, the toy baby is a bit creepy. I think any kids who can handle the first two should be fine here, but I agree with some of the sites who say this is a bit more than the first two. All three have sinister characters and “toy-peril.”

Significant Content: A
All toys are created equal, but bitter, selfish ones might think they’re created more equal than others. Nobility is sacrificing your own position or privilege for others, villainy is making others suffer so you can have what you want. Even when you are generous to some toys, they don’t change their ways. But by far my favorite lesson in this movie is the repeated EXAMPLE of how to play imaginatively with toys by Andy and Bonnie. If a movie could ever be a source of getting kids to play more in real life, this has to be it. And although it isn’t emphasized in this direction, I think there’s a powerful lesson about the value of being “owned” rather than just being “liberated” to own yourself. More on that in a moment.

Artistic/Thought Value: A
Der. Many of the constant Toy Story themes show up again here, including the notion of community and the relationship between identity and being used by your owner. There are clear (obvious) political lessons here about totalitarianism and equality which echo Orwell quite well. There are also great lessons about real generosity and sharing with others so they can enjoy something we enjoyed. And the issues about purpose and the ideal of letting those who will really maximize a thing’s teleology (thanks, Aristotle) are quite solid. Plus, the psychologies of abandonment and bitterness are vivid. If you can’t find things to talk about with your kids here or examples to use in helping them understand others, I have to wonder if you ever will find them in any movie.

Discussion Questions:
~What is the purpose of a toy? Can that purpose be satisfied if the toy doesn’t have a particular owner? How does the owner of a toy interact differently with a toy over the course of time than a stranger does? Would you say that an owner “knows” his toys in a way random kids just can’t? What are the implications for having friends? For church? What implications are there here for marriage? Can you draw the lessons about thinking things might be more fun outside the bounds of ownership and then discovering a very different reality? Is Woody trying to convince his friends to not commit “toydultery?”
~Why is Ken so eager to have someone to share all his wealth with?
~What do you think of the toys deriving their identity from being owned and played with by Andy? Do you think this is similar to how we human beings should understand our relationship to God? Is Andy like God to these toys?
~Even though toys aren’t real with personalities as in this movie, which view of toys comes closer to the reality a kid experiences: a mere object or a live creature such as a pet or friend? Is it healthy or not for young children to form extremely close attachments to particular toys? What does this universal tendency have to teach kids (or us) about God and the Gospel?
~Can it be sinful to fail to maximize the purpose of a thing such as a toy? What are the implications for overconsumption?
`Is daycare really a sad, lonely place for washed up old toys who have no owners?
~What should be done with toys that are still owned by a grown boy? Discuss the various alternatives of keeping, storing, or donating them? Do you still have your childhood toys? Do you ever play with them? Have you given them to your own children or will you?
~When Lotso says, “No ownership means no heartbreak,” does that seem plausible to you? Does this seem like the sort of thing that modern libertines and atheists like to say? Why is it so understandable that people who feel rejected try to turn that pain into a kind of virtue? Have you ever felt betrayed or abandoned and then wanted to not be vulnerable again because of it?
~One of the key themes of Toy Story was Woody’s difficulty at losing his status as Andy’s favorite toy. In this movie, Woody is the only one who is chosen to go to college, but he gives this up to go save his friends. How has he matured, and why do you think he has?
~What, if anything, is this movie trying to say about day care? What do you make of the contrast between a place that must be nice “because it has a rainbow on the door” to the inner reality of it? Is this movie trying to draw an analogy between abandoned toys and children in day care? Are Andy and Bonnie being presented as the best parents in addition to the best owners?
~Why was Lotso’s treatment of new toys so wrong? What alternative system might you construct that would be more practical and fair for the toys with respect to the different sorts of play they experience?Are there any lessons to be drawn from this movie with regard to the political issue of immigration?
~What made it possible for Lotso to have the sort of power he had? What happened when the truth came out? He is outwardly cute and cuddly and even “smells like strawberries.” What lessons about appearances and reality is this showing?

Poignant or memorable scenes:
~Woody taking the chance to sacrifice himself for his enemy, Lotso. Is Woody practicing the Gospel here? What do you think of Lotso’s response?
~Andy and Bonnie playing with the toys imaginatively throughout the movie and then together at the end. Do you think this movie will help educate children and parents about how to play with toys more imaginatively? Do you think the average kid would rather play with his toys or watch Toy Story 3?
~The secret cabal meeting of toys in the vending machine.
~The first play session at the daycare.
~Honestly, I only saw it once so far, and I think I have most of the movie memorized because it was all so vivid.
~Spanish Buzz.

~Ken to Barbie: I know you don’t know me from GI Joe.
~Hamm and Rex: Let’s go see how much we’re going for on Ebay.

Overall Grade: A+
Fantastic. Great thought and art value. As entertaining as any Pixar move has ever been. See it and then go play make-believe with your children!

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