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: What Tyler said. It's a Calvin and Hobbes thing: First we get the Calvin and Hobbes perspective (the shared imagination perspective of Andy and his toys); then we get Andy's mom's perspective.

But that's the problem: Andy and his toys don't "share" a perspective. Or at least, they never have before. Andy has never had a perspective to "share" with anyone before; he has simply played with his toys and they have let him play with them.

But this has always been such a limited part of the previous films, though obviously it's the heart of the toys' relationship with Andy. The opening to the third film draws back the curtain a bit and gives us more insight into the world of Playtime in which, so to speak, the toys live and move and have their being.

Ooh! Hey! Woody's crucial conversation with Jessie in TS2 anticipates this, doesn't it?

Jessie
: Let me guess. Andy's a real special kid, and to him, you're his buddy, his best friend, and
when Andy plays with you it's like... even though you're not moving, you feel like you're alive ... because that's how he sees you.

Woody
: How did you know that?

Jessie
: Because Emily was just the same. She was my whole world.

So the opening to TS3 shows us what it means to "feel like you're alive even though you're not moving, because that's how he sees you."

What he said. Not to mention the opening scene calls back Andy's playtime scenarios from TS2 and if I'm not mistaken, TS1 also. There's "I've brought my attack dog (Slinky) with built in force field!", "Well, I've brought my dinosaur who eats force fields!", "Death by monkeys!", etc.

As for the climax, Pixar somehow made me believe for a few seconds that they might actually

kill off the entire cast

. I was not prepared for how dark TS3 would get. I was already trying to figure out how I was going to atone for traumatizing my daughter. Thankfully, she was ok. The only thing that really seemed to upset her was not knowing what happens to (the super creepy) Big Baby.

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: Is it his mother, who has the oddly urgent need to clean every trace of Andy out of his room?(I guess he isn't coming to visit during the semester breaks)

I don't know what Andy's plans are between semesters, but the movie does specify that Molly is getting his room.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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: Also, any takes on the opening cartoon Night and Day?

Day & Night, actually. And yes, it's easily the best thing about Toy Story 3 (the complete theatregoing experience, that is), and it's proof positive that 3D is no mere gimmick.

I really liked the device at play there, but didn't like it otherwise. I am not on board with the idea that to understand or coexist with the other, we have to in some way become the other. That kind of garden variety dualism may make for clean animation storyboards, but it is juvenile stuff as far as metaphors for knowing and engaging the "other" goes.

But didn't their appreciation for each other come before (and entirely separate from) their switching roles? The last part (in my view) came more as a bonus: "Now I get to see life from your side," etc.

==

Re: The last sequence. Did anyone else think of Madeleine L'Engle's idea of "naming" she gives in Walking On Water? She cites it as an important function of the creative process. I don't know if it's just because of the books I've been reading lately (Culture Making, etc.), but I saw themes of calling, proper use of authority (right ways and wrong ways to play with toys), and this "naming" part with the last sequence. The last sequence felt affirming and brought a good sense of closure to the *characters* (which is what this series has always been about). I walked away feeling very grateful for the level of care Pixar shows for its characters.

I think this is all vague enough not to warrant a spoiler warning, right? I'm still new to some of this stuff. smile.gif

"Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen."
Robert Bresson

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I loved the film. Completely. I accept the limitations in the story - where else do you go with these characters? What sort of character arc can you give Woody or Buzz that has not already been covered? I understand that line of thinking but it honestly does not matter to me. It did not make one bit of difference to me while I watched the film or as I thought about it afterwards. The film was pure movie magic. It was entertaining, funny, exciting, and very moving. I couldn't have asked for more. I will be seeing this one again and very soon.

FWIW's - my thoughts on the film here.

"The greatest meat of all. The meat of friendship and fatherhood."

The Blue Raft - Are you ready to ride?

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Jeez, might as well just blanket this thread in spoiler-block!

Wells:

I have to say that I didn't quite believe

the transformation of 17 year-old Andy (voiced by John Morris) from his first-act identity -- a kid who's into the excitement of college and adventure and hormones and (presumably) girls and who's mindful of what his toys used to mean to him (especially Woody) but isn't all that concerned with their fate apart from an instinct to stash them in the attic -- and his third-act identity as a tender and loving toy-parent who wants to be extra-sure that the little girl he's giving them to will be extra caring and considerate. It's very gratifying to see Andy be that guy at the end, but I didn't buy it. At best, some 17 year-old boys might be into saving one or two of their favorite toys but -- let's face it -- most toys get the heave-ho (and I don't mean into a daycare donation box) and most high-school or college-age kids don't look back. Life is cruel in that respect, which again is why everyone is embracing Toy Story 3 -- it's selling a dream about love and caring and loyalty that we'd like to see embedded in our own day-to-day. I believe in hanging onto toys myself.

Which inspires this from a commentor:

Finale spoilers -

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.

.

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.

Andy didn't become that super-caring parent until he was about to give up Woody, because that's when it hit him that he was grown up, an adult, no longer a kid, and about to embark on the next stage of his life. In that moment, he realizes that he's not as ready as he thought he was, so he indulges in one last playtime with the defining symbols of the childhood that he has to let go of. Sure, he plays with his toys at the end, but he still drives away. His mother realized that her son was at that stage when she saw the empty room, and her acceptance of that is what made Woody realize that he needed to move on as well, hence his proactive actions to make sure he and the rest of his real family stayed together. Love it or hate it, but there's a lot under the surface throughout the entire movie. For those who think it's just reassuring 'comfort food', check out this piece that an acquaintance of mine wrote -

My link. I'm not sure I agree with all of the conclusions, but it's a very thoughtful essay.

And wow -- that link to the Part Time Critic commentary leads you to a whopper of a response. Is Toy Story 3 nihilistic? Is it about the desperate attempt to create the illusion of meaning in a meaningless world? Is it about the ways we, in a godless world, strive to come up with a security blanket, knowing the finality of the abyss? Yikes. (Of course, for those who think the world is god-full rather than god-less, this interpretation has interesting implications. Is it about characters looking to fill "that god-shaped hole" with the idea of community?)

And then this:

Andy's emotional ties with the toys are no different from at the end.

At the beginning, he clearly isn't going to send them to the daycare or throw them out. He has full intentions of storing them in the attic because they still hold some sense of significance in his life, and for nostalgic and sentimental purposes, he can't break those ties. The only one of the toys he clearly loves is Woody, hence why he'd bring him to college with him (even if to just sit on his desk). At the end, he still doesn't want to just throw away the toys. He donates them to a girl who has the same imaginative spark as he did as a kid, and shared with her his stories of these toys. Even at the end, with Woody in the box, he doesn't want to get rid of him. That's the toy that meant the most to him, obviously. What makes the ending so sad is this is the moment where we saw Andy grow up in seconds, passing his childhood on so he can move on. We saw him, very emotionally, make the next step in his life. There was no "sudden" transformation in Andy's character from the beginning to the end. He still had those emotionally ties with those toys, Woody in particular. He just simply grew up at that moment, moreso than earlier in the week. And I don't buy that the film is shoveling corporate ideals down our throats. Is it because Disney/Pixar uses familiar toys from our childhoods?

And I'm sure this will provoke much more.

The more I read, the more my appreciation and gratitude for the storytellers increases.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Brett "Are You a Christian Hipster?" McCracken:

Another film I thought of as I watched Toy Story 3 was Summer Hours–the critically acclaimed French film from 2009 starring Juliette Binoche. Like Toy Story 3, Summer Hours is about what impermanence means both for humans and for the objects humans acquire. It’s about people dying and their possessions being disbursed to the next generation, where new meaning and significance will undoubtedly be ascribed to them. In both films, the reality of “what happens to my stuff”–when I leave, or move, or die–is of central concern.

But it’s not really about the stuff. Toy Story is not really about toys. It’s about the reality of the passing of time–a painful, relentless, unnatural phenomenon that–for creatures like us who were made to be eternal–always feels a bit like an ill-fitting coat.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Is time uncomfortable for us because we "were made to be eternal"? I hear people say things like this a lot, and while I understand what the intent is, I am not sure what it actually means. So we were made to be eternal and now exist in a different ontological state? We were initially created in such a way that time as we now experience it is an aberration? How far does this idea extend? To natural cycles, relationships, aging? I think an alternative theological perspective on time would suggest that the reality of the passage of time is not relentless, painful, or unnatural. Rather, the passage of time is the precise place in which we discover and embrace the presence of God in this world (which, coincidentally, is a process that cinema often mimics by means of the unedited duration of particular images or scenes). Time only feels relentless when God is abstracted from it.

The problem of time is not that it feels relentless or unnatural because we are disconnected from an Edenic experience of reality. The problem of time is that we must, at some point, confess that this seemingly painful pace fits us like a glove. This is simply who we are. I am not sure what Adam and Eve felt about time, but we need to come to a point where we understand time for what it really is: the blessed tug of eschatology on our souls. If there are any commonalities between time mid- and post-Eden, one must be that time in either context is the means by which we measure our developing understanding of who God is. And as a parent, I am constantly faced with the following choice: cling to each present experience with my children in white knuckle terror that they will soon, inevitably, be lost - or celebrate their opportunity to, through time, encounter the immutability of God. The latter perception of time doesn't feel ill-fitting at all.

This sounds like a bit of a sidetrack, but its why I dragged Bradbury into my initial response. At least for Bradbury, this coming-of-age process we see in Toy Story 3 does often feel relentless or painful, but Bradbury is always beckoning us to embrace it anyway. We will lose much in the process that can never be regained, but we can trust that those things which instilled such a sense of wonder in us as children will endure as wondrous things. Time isn't a big shell game in which meaning becomes increasingly relative. Similarly, I think Pixar did make a film about the passage of time, but one that contradicts the idea that time is relentless or unnatural. This is, in essence, the meaning of Andy's conclusion: "Thanks guys."

The other thing is, I also thought of Summer Hours during the end, but as a contrast to the Toy Story arc. It is commonly asserted that objects have their own history and memory. There are always stories associated with the objects that have been produced for our use and then either discarded or stored. Summer Hours is about how objects have contributed to national identity formation in the EU. Toy Story is this idea writ-large, these objects coming alive and conducting stories of their own, all the while asserting their allegiance to their owner. The difference is that Summer Hours really works as a description of objects. Toy Story's description of objects as meaningful becomes obfuscated by the fact that the stuff we see in the film has been reproduced on a very large scale for consumers. These films are both about stuff, but Toy Story is about replaceable stuff, which makes it a different ballgame.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Is time uncomfortable for us because we "were made to be eternal"? I hear people say things like this a lot, and while I understand what the intent is, I am not sure what it actually means. So we were made to be eternal and now exist in a different ontological state? We were initially created in such a way that time as we now experience it is an aberration? How far does this idea extend? To natural cycles, relationships, aging?

Some thoughts.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I thought Toy Story 2, not 3, was the Summer Hours analogue? It is, at any rate, the only one of these films that raises the prospect of things being preserved in museums.

*** SPOILERS GALORE ***

Backrow Baptist wrote:

: Not to mention the opening scene calls back Andy's playtime scenarios from TS2 and if I'm not mistaken, TS1 also.

Only after the film exits the imaginary world, yes.

: The only thing that really seemed to upset her was not knowing what happens to (the super creepy) Big Baby.

You didn't stay for the end credits, then?

Some people have read this film as basically a rejection of one's god, or one's religion -- which is not to say that the toys are rejecting religion and gods altogether, but they are, at least, becoming more pro-active about picking and choosing the gods and religions that appeal to them. And interestingly enough, the end credits take this reading in an unexpected direction by showing how the toys can band together in a sort of utopia by sharing all the risks when they play with the children at the daycare.

Personally, I find that conclusion rather unfortunate, just as I find the prison-escape sequence unfortunate, because both of these things get in the way of exploring what I thought was a very interesting social dynamic at the daycare. Instead of exploring this dynamic and allowing it to be what it was, the filmmakers turn it all into a trick of Lotso's -- and thus, once Lotso is dispatched, the film then pretends that everyone at the daycare can suddenly get along in perfect harmony. This, too, is another reason why I began to tune out of the movie once it introduced that awfully perfunctory (and highly derivative of Toy Story 2) flashback sequence.

SDG wrote:

: I don't know what Andy's plans are between semesters, but the movie does specify that Molly is getting his room.

Ah, right. Which begs the question, then, as to what is going to happen to MOLLY'S room.

: Dog = Buster. Wheezy = penguin with broken squeaker.

BTW, have I posted a link to my blog post on Buster's evolution over the course of the trilogy? If not, I guess I just did now, then. One thing I find interesting about the screen captures, BTW, is how incredibly detailed and textured the floor and fur etc. are in Toy Story 3, compared to Toy Story 2.

Overstreet wrote:

: (Of course, for those who think the world is god-full rather than god-less, this interpretation has interesting implications. Is it about characters looking to fill "that god-shaped hole" with the idea of community?)

To the extent that the toys are increasingly manipulating their gods, and placing togetherness within the community above their obligations to their owners or "the rules", yes, that might very well be what the movie IS about. Or it might be about something else. I'll have to check out that article.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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What a fascinating thread. I wish I had more time to actually participate instead of throwing out little morsels like:

Ah, right. Which begs the question, then, as to what is going to happen to MOLLY'S room.

Guest room. What else do empty nester/s' do with their kids rooms? Mine became a sewing room, fyi.

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Buckeye Jones wrote:

: Guest room. What else do empty nester/s' do with their kids rooms?

Why doesn't Mom let Molly stay in her room and turn ANDY'S room into a guest room, though? Hmmm. Maybe Molly likes the view better from Andy's room.

: Mine became a sewing room, fyi.

My brother is currently living in the room that used to be mine during and just after my university years (from 1992 to 1999). (My parents moved to their present home in 1991, while I was taking time off from school and living with some friends in the infamous "Hoy House", so the actual room I grew up in doesn't belong to the family any more.) My brother's former room, in the meantime, has become my dad's office.

However, my brother actually lived with me in the West End between 1999 and 2003, after which he moved back in with my parents -- so there are four years there where neither he nor I was living in that room. I can't remember what my parents did with the room during that interim.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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(Though I'm not too sure about the way the film goes all Return of the Jedi with her.)

FWIW, a thought occurred to me this morning, and I don't think I've seen anyone else point this out yet: the first, second and third Toy Story movies each make references to the first, second and third Star Wars movies -- and they do it in order. Consider:

  • In TS1, Buzz Lightyear declares: "Right now, poised at the edge of the galaxy, Emperor Zurg has been secretly building a weapon with the destructive capacity to annihilate an entire planet! I alone have information that reveals this weapon's only weakness."

  • In TS2, Emperor Zurg tells Buzz, "I am your father," and Buzz cries, "Nooooooo!"

  • And in TS3... well, that would be spoiling, wouldn't it. But suffice it to say that the reference in question does not involve Buzz this time.

Backrow Baptist wrote:

: In TS2 at least, we get Andy's POV playing with the toys.

Actually, no, I wouldn't say so. In TS2, we get an "objective" depiction of Andy at play, rather than a depiction from anyone's POV.

: On a side note I like how it's not just a cool action sequence. We get to see what Andy loses by growing up.

I can appreciate that. But it still sends awkward wrinkles throughout the rest of the film (to say nothing of the "trilogy" as a whole).

: As for the empty nest scene, one of the few times I saw my father cry was the day I left for college. All it took was Andy's mom staring at his empty room to take me back to that day.

FWIW, for me, the scene took me back to the day we dismantled the twins' cribs and replaced them with beds. I can remember being quite surprised to see how choked up I got at that. The passage of time, the end of an era, the realization that some things I had taken for granted will never be again, etc., etc.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Lou Lumenick:

Apparently, a lot of moviegoers took the advice at the end of my "Toy Story 3'' review and decided it wasn't worth an extra $4 to see this Pixar gem in 3-D. Variety reports that only 60 percent of opening-weekend revenues came from 3-D screens, down 11 percent from "Alice in Wonderland.'' Disney blames the glut of 3-D product, but Variety quotes "insiders'' as questioning whether families will continue springing for inflated 3-D ticket prices, especially when kids have trouble keeping adult-size glasses on. Personally, I've also been hearing people starting to question exactly how sanitary those re-used glasses are.

Personally, I was proud of my 4-year-old daughter for wearing her 3D glasses all the way through the movie this time. She didn't wear 'em when we saw How to Train Your Dragon or last year's Toy Story double-bill, but that could be because the glasses given to her at that time were grown-up-sized. It wasn't until this week that 3D glasses came in a size made for kids!

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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We decided to go the 2D route with our 2 1/2 year old daughter. It was her first movie in the theater so I wanted to make sure she could actually sit still that long. Thankfully she did great and only needed one potty break. I may try to catch the 3D IMAX version (in another city about an hour away) at some point, but I don't feel like we missed out on anything by not seeing it in 3D. Has anyone here seen both versions?

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We decided to go the 2D route with our 2 1/2 year old daughter. It was her first movie in the theater so I wanted to make sure she could actually sit still that long. Thankfully she did great and only needed one potty break. I may try to catch the 3D IMAX version (in another city about an hour away) at some point, but I don't feel like we missed out on anything by not seeing it in 3D. Has anyone here seen both versions?

We chose 2D because we have a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old who would not have been impressed with the 3D at all. I took the 5-year-old to the Toy Story double feature earlier this year and she watched most of the movies with her glasses off.

Plus, when it comes to 3D, I'm as cranky and curmudgeonly as Roger Ebert. It's an over-priced, over-hyped, unnecessary gimmick and I hope the fad ends sooner rather than later.

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We decided to go the 2D route with our 2 1/2 year old daughter. It was her first movie in the theater so I wanted to make sure she could actually sit still that long. Thankfully she did great and only needed one potty break. I may try to catch the 3D IMAX version (in another city about an hour away) at some point, but I don't feel like we missed out on anything by not seeing it in 3D. Has anyone here seen both versions?

We chose 2D because we have a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old who would not have been impressed with the 3D at all. I took the 5-year-old to the Toy Story double feature earlier this year and she watched most of the movies with her glasses off.

Plus, when it comes to 3D, I'm as cranky and curmudgeonly as Roger Ebert. It's an over-priced, over-hyped, unnecessary gimmick and I hope the fad ends sooner rather than later.

I'm with you. So far "How to Train Your Dragon" has been the only 3D to really impress me. Better than "Avatar".

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One thing I find interesting about the screen captures, BTW, is how incredibly detailed and textured the floor and fur etc. are in Toy Story 3, compared to Toy Story 2.

I feel that each of the Toy Story movies has been a stellar jump in quality. Unlike any other Pixar films, which each utilize their own art styles(to say nothing of new settings and characters), in the Toy Story trilogy we can watch the evolution of computer animation on the same characters, art style and locations. IMO, Toy Story 3 makes Toy Story look like crap. True, Toy Story holds up just fine on its own, but put them side by side and WOW.

If you look at this Wired article(which, coincidently may have something of a spoiler as its very first image), Toy Story looks closer to Step 4 of the process than Step 5.

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Just saw it. To save the trouble of dodging in and out of spoiler mode, I'm just going to set my whole comment in a spoiler tag and then I don't have to worry about it:

I think the identification of Andy with God is a fundamental misreading of the film. The toys are not Andy's metaphoric worshippers: they are his metaphoric parents. The relationship between the toys and Andy's is based on Andy's needs (God has no needs). Over and over again, we are told that they are Andy's toys as long as he needs them. Overall, the movie has two legs. One leg is the parental problem of what to do when the child becomes an adult and no longer needs parental care. The other leg is the problem of responsibilities to friends.

Much of the movie is devoted to the conflict between parenthood and friendship. We see this dilemma played out in the beginning, when the other toys are going to the attic while Woody is going with Andy to college. Woody's response is to console the other toys as best he can, but he is going with Andy, choosing parenthood over friendship. We see the conflict again when the other toys are accidentally taken to the garbage and then to Sunnyside. Woody follows them and intends to help them as best he can, but only up to the limit of maintaining his parental responsibility to Andy. Once Woody catches up with the other toys at Sunnyside, he expects them to come back with him, but they think that Andy no longer needs them (or even cares about them — sharper than a serpent's tooth...) and so refuse: they choose friendship once the bond of parenthood has been severed. Woody is forced to choose once again between the responsibilities of parenthood and those of friendship, and again chooses parenthood, returning to Andy. Woody has yet another time when he needs to choose, once he is at Molly's house and learns that his friends are in danger at Sunnyside. Once again, he chooses friendship up to the limits of parenthood. He plans to help them, but still intends to return to Andy. Woody's choices remain constant throughout the movie up to this point. His parental responsibility to Andy comes first, but he tries to meet his responsibilities to his friends insofar as that is possible without failing in his parental responsibilities.

The big change is at the end, and it is after Andy's mother (of course the example comes from Andy's mother; she is the reality of parenthood that the toys model) says how much she will miss Andy, and Any assures her that she will always be with him in his heart. It is at this point that Woody really, for the first time, understands the finality of what has happened, and what he is demanding of his friends; that they sacrifice themselves for a need that Andy no longer has. At that point, Woody puts his friendship with the toys first and he acts on the basis of what is best for them; Andy no longer comes first for the simple reason that Andy is no longer a child.

We then see an exquisite scene where Andy gives up his toys; his emotions are clearly mixed in that he is letting go of a part of himself and it is hard to do, especially at the end when he gives up Woody, whom he had not intended to give up at all, for the reason that Molly asks for him. At that moment, Andy really is an adult in the fullest sense; Molly's needs trump his own and in giving up Woody, he not only leaves childhood behind but embraces parenthood. His play at the end is because he wants to give of himself to Molly. What makes this closing sequence so special is that coming of age stories typically end at the beginning of adulthood: with the protagonist leaving the care of their parents and beginning adult life on their own (typically mediated with a story of romance). However, in Toy Story 3, through dramatic compression, we see Andy move past that stage and on to what full adulthood really means: not just taking care of your own needs, but taking care of the needs of others, specifically the needs of children. Andy has closed the circle from where he was at the beginning of this movie (through the flashback play scenes) and at the beginning of the entire Toy Story series, and by closing the circle Andy has brought the toys' parental duties to a full, successful, and deeply satisfying close.

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Ramin Setoodeh @ Newsweek:

And then there’s the meta-theme: the fact that Toy Story itself rendered a particular brand of children’s entertainment extinct. The best Disney films (Pinocchio, Bambi, The Lion King) have always played on the heartstrings of all ages, but Toy Story changed the script. Animated movies now have a dry Seinfeld-ian wit, more Friends than Snoopy and friends. The original Toy Story—co-written by Joss Whedon in his pre–Buffy the Vampire Slayer days—was constructed like a buddy action movie and sprinkled with dialogue that worked on different levels. (Woody calls his rival “Buzz Light Beer.”) The 1999 sequel, about a toy collector who kidnaps Woody, was even better with its sly pop-culture references. Once the films became a phenomenon, a new era of animation was born. There was Wall-E and its homage to Chaplin, Up’s examination of grief, Shrek’s fractured fairy tales packed with sexual innuendo, and the subversive Fantastic Mr. Fox from Wes Anderson. Fifteen years later, it’s hard to remember how revolutionary Toy Story was, because the world of animation is so different because of it. . . .

FWIW, I'm not sure how much of the blame or credit for this I would put at Pixar's feet. Three years before Toy Story came out, Disney had its then-biggest hit to date with Aladdin, which featured Robin Williams as a shape-shifting genie who riffs on pop culture like there's no tomorrow. It may not have been dry and Seinfeld-ian, per se, but it was certainly bringing a grown-up stand-up-comedy vibe to the material that is in the same basic ballpark as a lot of this other stuff (most notably Shrek; and of course, all three of these movies -- Aladdin, Toy Story and Shrek -- were produced with input from Jeffrey Katzenberg).

FWIW, Setoodeh also writes:

The third movie might be too scary and not as good as the second one—there is an escape from a day-care center that’s as stale as Ocean’s Thirteen—but it redeems itself with its bittersweet ending.

Aha! Someone else who feels the whole prison-escape bit was one of the film's less interesting sequences!

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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