Now Showing: Toy Story 3

[Ladies, meet Meredith, the newest addition to the CollegeCandy team. She’s a BU student, a movie buff, and an all around fantastic chicadee. She’ll be our resident movie gal, givings us the ins and outs of the new releases and telling us whether or not its worth it to fork over $12 for the latest flicks.]

I live in a small town in New Hampshire. This means that my friends and I drove an hour and a half to get to the nearest IMAX theater to watch Toy Story 3. Thanks to modern technology, our GPS took us on an hour-long detour to the wrong theater about five minutes before our 7PM movie was about to start. We arrived at the correct place five minutes after our showing had started and entered the theater to see that there were only three seats available. Not together. And all had jackets on the seats and drinks in the cup holders. We decided to attend the 9:40 movie instead, so we got home at around one in the morning.

Overall, we devoted about nine hours of our lives to this film. Was it worth it?

Absolutely.

Toy Story 3 is Pixar’s latest work of art. Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and all of the characters that we know and love are back for a third adventure. This time, Andy is heading off to college. He attempts to store his toys in the attic, but they accidentally end up getting donated to a local daycare. At first, the toys are ecstatic that they will finally be played with once again, after years of being ignored, but they soon discover that their situation is less than desirable. We meet Lots-O-Huggin’ Bear, Ken, and a new bunch of toys at the daycare that’s much less “sunny” than it promises. As always, Pixar packs its film with comedy, action, and just enough heartbreak. More importantly, they’re not afraid to provide new characters with the same amount of substance and depth that the returning characters have.

If you have the chance, see the film in 3-D IMAX; it is such an experience. Everything is so immersive and huge that you might find yourself thinking you’re a toy for a minute or two. The voice talents are equally amazing. A year ago, I saw the animated film, Bolt and it is impossible to watch that movie without thinking about the main character being voiced by Miley Cyrus. On the other hand, when Woody and Buzz Lightyear are on the screen, they are Woody and Buzz and no one else. Unlike the thoughts of Hannah Montana that came to my mind when I was watching Bolt, I promise that Toy Story 3 will never let you think about Forest Gump or Tim the Tool Man Taylor.

One of the best parts of the movie is that every age group will get something different out of it. To me, this film feels like it was made for college students. I watched Toy Story when it came out in 1995 and I watched Toy Story 2 when it came out in 1999. My family bought the box set so we could watch both films over and over on DVD. The films have been in my life for as long as I can remember. Now it’s 2010 and all of the kids who grew up with the Toy Story films are college-aged. If you decide to see the film in theaters, this fact will be confirmed by the large amount of adults watching the film. Children were the minority in both showings that I walked into on opening night.

Pixar could have chosen to continue to film series with Andy as a ten-year-old and ignore the gap in years between the release dates of the second and third movie, but they decided to have Andy be a college student. When I was watching the movie, I truly felt as though the filmmakers understood those who grew up with the first two films. It’s almost as if Pixar is thanking us for letting Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the toys be a part of our childhood. We are growing up, we are moving on, maybe we are going to college. We are Andy.

I’m not going to give away the ending, but some of the key ideas of Toy Story 3 are clear just from my brief synopsis. The movie especially had me thinking about the expression, “If you love someone, set them free.” It’s a bizarre idea. Why would you let someone go if you still love them? Perhaps you have nothing left to give. Toy Story 3 may be about Andy deciding which toys to keep for college and which to put in storage, but an opening montage of “home videos” shows us that the toys are more like Andy’s childhood friends than mere objects. Directly after, we skip seven years and see all of the toys stuffed into a toy box, desperate for attention. The film poignantly asks, What do you do when you have given someone all of the love that you can provide? What’s the next step? We are all guilty of holding onto people for longer than we need them. Is it fair to just put them in storage, or should we set them free? I won’t tell you Pixar’s answer, but I think it’s the perfect one.

Candy Dish: Playboy Will Take Just About Anyone
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