Having not been played with for a long time, the toys must face the fact that Andy is all grown up and about to go to college. After accidentally being put out for the trash, the toys end up at a daycare centre for children. While there, they meet the friendly ‘Lots O’ Huggin’ Bear (or Lotso for short) who takes charge of all the toys at the centre. Thinking that they’ve found their paradise, the toys soon find that they have been tricked and escape is not so easy.

Toy Story 3 (2010) – Director: Lee Unkrich

Is Toy Story 3 appropriate for kids

Rating: U

Running Length: 103 mins

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack

Genre: Animated, Comedy

REVIEW

The third instalment of Pixar’s ‘Toy Story’ trilogy sees Woody and co facing the hard truth of being unwanted due to their owner, Andy, growing up. The toys’ fate, which is in Andy’s hands, seems to be either the attic or being thrown out with the trash and when a third option of being played with by an endless rotation of children presents itself, they jump at the chance and embrace it with everything they have. Woody, however, is reluctant and still clings to the hope of being needed by Andy.  For both newcomers to the story and anyone who has followed the adventures of the toys to date, these touching central themes make this movie a real tear-jerker. However, while you may want to keep some tissues handy, ‘Toy Story 3’ continues with the same level of comedy as seen in the previous films and keeps the laughs coming thick and fast.

While the majority of the usual cast is present, it is sad to see that several members of the group have been lost along the way which is referenced to in the dialogue but made clear that these toys have been given to new owners. It is a testament to how good the writing team is that both adults and children can enjoy and relate to a movie which is essentially about the problems that a group of toys face. ‘Toy Story 3’ brings the tale of the toys to a wonderful end and is bound to continue entertaining kids and adults for many years to come.

IS ‘TOY STORY 3’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

While certainly being a film aimed towards kids, there are a few moments which may be distressing for younger children which we would like to highlight.

There are a few moments of tension where it looks like the toys may be in serious danger, for example one such time, towards the beginning, shows Woody believing that a garbage bag containing Buzz, Jessie and the others has been put into the garbage truck and looks on in horror as the bags are crushed, however a few seconds later it becomes apparent that the toys escaped and are fine. We feel that these moments are no stronger than what might be seen in other children’s films and do not believe that additional comments on them are necessary.

When at the daycare centre, Lotso reveals his true colours and his gang are very intimidating. One of the members is a monkey toy which holds a pair of cymbals in its hands. It watches the CCTV screens, screeching loudly and bashing its cymbals together to raise the alarm if anything is wrong. When showing this, the camera has a close up of the monkey’s manic face, it has red rings around its eyes making it look very aggressive and insane. This monkey is shown again later in the movie when it aggressively attacks Woody. The extreme nature of the close up and the very loud noises made may be upsetting to young children, especially those who favour sitting very close to the television set.

One of the other members of Lotso’s gang is a baby toy which has a droopy eye and walks by shuffling one of its legs along the floor like a zombie. Most of the time it lumbers around with one of its ‘doll’ eyes half closed and acts rather ‘babyish’, but it quickly becomes apparent that this toy is the ‘muscle’ of the group. It stands towering over the other toys and physically imposes itself on them, all the time with a blank expression. In a short scene, it is seen staring blankly at the moon. When it hears a noise, its body remains still while its head spins round quickly. Then, with its head the right way round, it slowly shuffles towards the noise it heard. The accompanying score makes it clear that this is a scary scene and young kids could find this quite disturbing as it lurches towards our heroes.

The big action sequence at the end involves a rubbish tip. Whereas in other Toy Story movies the peril that the characters face tended to be being left behind, this time the potential danger is actual being destroyed. This is a sustained scene of action and tension and there are some moments when all looks lost. Children may need reassurance or the presence of parents in order to ensure that this sequence is appropriate.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

Toy Story 3’ proves Pixar’s storytelling clout by successfully rounding off the tale of Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang which began in 1995. Rather than simply opting for a generic kids film, ‘Toy Story 3’ takes the more difficult route of having both mature themes which can be enjoyed by adults and child friendly themes to keep the kids engaged. This could have made the movie confusing and messy but the expertise of the writing ensures that both younger and older audiences can thoroughly enjoy ‘Toy Story 3’ from start to finish. Due to a few short horror elements to the movie, we would not recommend it for children aged under 5 and would advise that some parental supervision may be required for children aged 5-6 in case any reassurance is required.

  • Violence:  1/5 (the toys are subjected to being played with by toddlers who are very rough with them, they are surprised and distressed but are generally ok afterwards. Towards the end of the movie, one character is seen to have been captured by the ‘bad’ toys and forced to talk. This is very mild and unlikely to be fully understood by kids but we mention it as the implication of this character possibly being tortured and suffering is present)
  • Emotional Distress: 3/5
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (some elements of horror, the monkey toy and ‘big baby’ may be particularly frightening for younger children)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5       
  • Bad Language: 0/5
  • Dialogue: 0/5  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of friendship, teamwork, standing up against bullies, fighting for what is right and the need to move on from childhood in order to become an adult.

Words by Laura Record

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