How else do you explain the numerous and ruthless attempts throughout Toy Story 3 to get its audience to sob like a soiled toddler? (sorry about the simile, work in the babysitting room was kind of icky today). Anyway, I FINALLY saw Toy Story 3 with Jon, and it was perfect. It was funny, happy, sad, and while still a kid's film, it was ultimately for the people who used to be kids, who were kids when they saw the first one, this is a movie that matured with its audience.
Over at the mommy-blog Did You Remember Your Pill Today?, resident Mom Heather talked about how she spent most of Toy Story 3 trying to keep her little munchkins from exploding into torrents of terror-fueled tears, which is understandable now that I've seen it. The movie deals with heavy themes: the inevitability of change, loss, moving on, and the importance of staying together as a family. It is also basically a prison escape movie enacted by toys. Anyway, it is easy to see why a little kid would be perfectly fine watching Toy Story 1 or 2 but wetting their pants watching Toy Story 3: it wasn't meant for them (stay with me on this). The first movie came out FIFTEEN years ago! Fifteen! That's three hands for those of you who never got an education. I was five freaking years old when I saw this movie in theaters and it was a movie made for that age group. Four years later, at the age of nine, pretty much the same thing, still wonderful because it's Pixar but pretty much the same. Now, eleven years after Toy Story 2, things are different, the target audience is the same but different. It's the one that bounced in their seats on tiny butts fifteen years ago but are now all grown up.
And Andy's grown up with them. I won't rehash the premise because all the commercials and whatnot have pretty much beaten everyone over the head with it. Andy's grown up, going to college, what do the toys do now? Go to daycare and get abused by toddlers and a malevolent teddy-bear named Lotsa-Hugging. Yeah. It's heavy stuff, but there are three specific points in the movie where Pixar is yanking on your heartstrings with deadly precision:
1. The film opens with home movies of Andy playing with the toys as a little kid
2. Near the end, it looks like the toys are done for. Like for reals are about to face a fiery demise. They all link hands and close their eyes and await the inevitable. It is heartbreaking, I am literally tearing up just typing it. Damn you, Pixar! Seriously, these are characters I grew up caring about, I have an attachment to them that is longer than a decade! And Pixar seriously makes you believe they are gonna torch the little dudes!
3. Andy passes the toys on and plays with them one last time in the process. It's just...perfect. It really is. As a scene, as a metaphor, as a representation of revisiting your youth at a great crossroads in your life. It's just perfect.
But it's not all snot-dripping and weeping, it's pretty damn funny too, mostly based on the interaction between Ken, Barbie and Ken's wardrobe. But the hands-down funniest part comes from the casual acceptance of a pair of high heels. Just watch it and see. Also Spanish Buzz Lightyear is a laugh riot and I about died when I saw Senor Tortilla-Head. Hilarious.
And when it was over, the theater applauded. I never thought I'd write this sentence but Toy Story 3 is an emotional roller coaster. It puts the toys, and by extension, you, through the ringer as they escape danger after danger and face heartbreak after heartbreak. It's a wonderful and fantastic movie visually, storywise and musically (because who doesn't want to hear a Spanish version of "You Got A Friend In Me" as performed by the Gipsy Kings?). Toy Story 3 will make you laugh, gasp, cry and when you get home, dig around in the attic for that box of old toys. Five catapults out of five.
(Also there is a MATERNAL FORNICATING TOTORO PLUSHIE!! WHY HAS NO ONE MENTIONED THIS?!)
Ok, I needs me mah sleep. Just lock the door on your way out. This is Sugary Cynic saying "I'm not crying! I've just got something in my eye! (and it happens to be sadness!)" 'night!
(As I paid for my ticket to see the movie)
Theater Worker Chick: "Are you a Theater Club member?"
TWC: "Would you like to sign up and receive a Theater Club Card?"
Me: "Not at this time, thanks"
TWC: "But, well...(thinking she's being oh so clever) Are you gonna get popcorn?"
Me: "No. Popcorn ravaged my village and killed my uncle"
TWC: ...(stare of utter contempt with a touch of confusion)