With free tickets and extra coupons in hand, we went to a matinee showing on Friday. We were really psyched. We've been anticipating this movie ever since the first trailer was released and the moment the release date was announced. June 18 was circled in red on our calendar.
Like many American families, Buzz Lightyear, Woody and the gang are almost family members. I recall seeing Toy Story 2 in the theater with my husband well before we had children of our own and sitting at dinner with my sister and her young daughter commenting about the Star Wars references. A few years later when we had our first child, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were some of the first videos added to our collection.
When Joseph was young Buzz Lightyear was one of his favorites, before he could even say the name. And I admit to encouraging his interest. I much preferred Buzz Lightyear the clearly "good guy" as a super hero over the sinister Batman, Spiderman, and even Superman. At 3 and 4 years of age, I wanted to encourage doing the right thing for the right reasons. Buzz Lightyear and Woody were, usually, good examples for that goal.
Toy Story 3 continues that theme in many ways. It is certainly a family movie which most everyone in the family can enjoy. There is much playful imagination for the young ones and there are lines only adults will (or should) understand. The toys just want to be played with. Andy's going off to college and they're all in a dilemma of what to do. They want to bring comfort and joy to a child, they don't want to end up thrown out, unwanted in the trash heap. And that's a good goal for a toy.
There are wonderfully funny moments throughout the movie, some that even brought the crowd to cheering!
Hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed it; laughing and, yes, even crying at several points. The kids loved it too. Cora, said it was a good movie and she loved the end the best. Joseph thoroughly enjoyed it and thought the best part was when Woody and Slinky are battling the monkeys. Hubby's favorite was the Monkey Bomb at the beginning. I loved the spunk and strength they wove into Barbie's character. She has far more depth in this movie than is typical for her.
Now for the practicalities ... If you haven't been to a movie in a while, be prepared for sticker shock. We went on Friday afternoon so that we could take advantage of matinee pricing. Even with two free tickets (up to $8.50), a discount on the second two tickets and matinee pricing - we still paid $25.00 for our 4 tickets. I wasn't thrilled. The extra cost was for the 3-D glasses. This was, in my opinion, a wasted expense. I would have enjoyed this movie just as much, maybe more, without the 3-D effects. My advice ... if you can find a showing without 3-D, take advantage of it.
Now if you haven't seen it, do not read any further ...
***** SPOILER ALERT!! *****
if you do not want a hint at the ending.
If you're planning to take very young children, you may want to reconsider. The line between good and evil characters becomes a bit fiuzzy in this movie. Some of the new characters are not so clearly good. While I think that's a good lesson to discuss with my 8 and 6 year olds; it's not a lesson I wanted to teach at 3 or 4. At that age it was more important to clearly identify, this is good; that is bad.
Another thing that concerned me about this movie was the level of peril. Near the end, Buzz, Woody and the gang are in real danger of being destroyed in an incinerator. This moment brought 3 of 4 members of my family to tears, especially our young Buzz Lightyear fan. We really thought the toys were going to die. I remember thinking, "Oh my goodness! Surely, they're not going to have them die? What will I tell my son?" In the end, everyone comes out fine and the very end is absolutely delightful (I won't divulge the final plot twist.) But, specifically because of that moment I almost think it deserved a PG rating instead of G.
Overall, I'd give it 4 ½ out of 5 stars.
If you've seen the movie, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.