A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids may learn the value of appreciating and taking good care of their favorite toys.
Pixar's Toy Story movies are all about friendship, loyalty, and "being there" for Andy and for each other. Through teamwork, perserverance, and collaboration, Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bullseye, Hamm, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, and Rex band together to overcome their many obstacles and disagreements. Sharing, curiosity, and ingenuity are all celebrated.
Positive Role Models
Andy's toys are all courageous and willing to sacrifice themselves for each other. Woody is one of the most loyal characters in movie history -- his dedication to Andy above all else is admirable (if sometimes hard for his friends to understand) -- and over the course of the three films truly learns humility. The rest of the toys are also quite brave and helpful, and they don't quit on Buzz when he's not acting like himself. Even the alien "kids" are quite willing to do anything and everything to save their "parents" Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and friends from danger. Toy Story 3 introduces some new characters who aren't as admirable as Andy's crew, but they face the consequences of their behavior in the end -- and some even get a fresh start.
Violence & Scariness
Spoiler alert: In one particularly harrowing/scary sequence set in a junkyard, Andy's toys narrowly escape death several times; at one point they look like they're about to fall into a very fiery incinerator. It's a tense scene, and some kids will find it upsetting. A few of the Sunnyside toys are creepy -- especially the Big Baby doll and the screeching Monkey. A few scenes meant to suggest prison culture/abuse show toys being tied up or thrown in a sandbox as "punishment" -- or, in the case of Buzz, "reset." Some bullying and harsh talk between toys; a few perilous scenes. The opening sequence includes spaceship attacks and a train falling/crashing, but it ends up being the product of Andy's imagination.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting between toy characters like Ken and Barbie (it's love at first sight!) and Buzz Lightyear and Jessie. Some innuendoes (as when Baribe tells Ken that she likes his "ascot").
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Mild insults like "shut up" and "junk."
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Products & Purchases
Several of the Toy Story characters are recognizable brands (like Barbie, Ken, and Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head). And beyond that, the Toy Story franchise has the potential for the most merchandising tie-ins of any kid-targeted movie series. Toys, action figures, books, party supplies, plush dolls, you name it -- Disney's Toy Story characters are everywhere, especially kid favorites Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while Toy Story 3 -- the third movie in Pixar's flagship Toy Story franchise -- is bound to please moviegoers of all ages, it is scarier and more intense than the first two (which is why we've rated this "threequel" at a higher age than Toy Story and Toy Story 2). Overall, the latest adventure shared by Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and the rest of Andy's favorite toys is kid-friendly -- but there's a fairly long scene of the toys in serious peril toward the end of the movie that many 3- to 5-year-olds could find quite upsetting. There are also a few new toys that act a bit mean and creepy (particularly a Big Baby doll and a cymbal-clapping Monkey) and scenes in which favorite characters are trapped by cruel authority figures. But there are also wonderful, touching messages about friendship, loyalty, and imagination. Note: The 3-D version of the movie may make certain parts feel more immediate/lifelike, but the movie's intense scenes have a strong impact no matter which version you see. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
If only every "children's movie" could be this well-made and well-loved. The consistency of the voice cast (even Andy is played by the same actor, now in his 20s), the brilliant animation, and the many running jokes are just a few of the reasons this series has yet to go stale. And the clever new gags -- like when Buzz gets "reset" and ends up in Spanish mode, making poetic declarations of love to his señorita, Jessie -- offer some of the movie's highlights. The film's antagonists, led by Beatty's deceptively huggable Lotso, have a believable reason for acting so selfishly, and Keaton's Ken is hilariously clothes-obsessed (and sensitive about being called a "girl's toy"). In the end, every character gets to shine (Barbie, the aliens, a self-sacrificing Mr. Potato Head who gets very creative when the situation calls for it), and every toy gets the "happily ever after" they deserve.
Disney's Pixar is possibly the only studio in the history of Hollywood to bat a thousand. Even though some of their films end up having more adult appeal (Ratatouille and WALL-E probably don't get as much DVD rotation as Finding Nemo or Monsters Inc. in many kids' houses) than others, Pixar's films always surpass expectations. So it's absolutely no surprise that the third installment in the studio's Toy Story franchise is another winner. By now we love these toys, cheering them on through battles with Sid the sadistic tween neighbor, greedy Big Al, and selfish Stinky Pete. So when Andy tosses the toys in a trash bag, our hearts flutter -- and when that bag winds up in the donation box instead of a trash compactor, we sigh in relief. And when at one point it seems that our beloved heroes may have truly reached the end, we tense up -- or in the case of the preschoolers in the audience, shed a tear or two. (And if that moment doesn't get you, the scene in which Andy's mom looks around his empty room and bids him farewell certainly will.)
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