June 21st, 2010
Movie industry folks are stunned that Disney’s “Toy Story 3” amassed an impressive $110 million gross this past weekend.
Didn’t you go, to contribute to the total?
I did, with wife and 12-year-old nephew in tow. It's a great family pic, and I think it echoes "The Wizard of Oz." More, later.
Woody the cowboy and Buzz Lightyear the astronaut are iconic characters first introduced in 1995, which means today’s collegians were in first grade when the dude with the cowpoke hat and Holstein vest and the flying soul in the green and white spacesuit and bubble shield unreeled on screen and became essentials at toy stores for birthday- and Christmas-giving.
Their bond then is much tighter now, even if Buzz is (warning: spoiler) spaced out in a telling moment in the film, doing the unthinkable to Woody.
Andy, the lad in “TS3” who has played with his toy pals is packing Woody to go to college but bagging his other friends for storage in the attic (warning: spoiler) with an unintended detour to curbside and the trash pickup, setting up the mission to restore the bond.
Didn’t you treasure your “Star War” dolls and “Star Trek” spaceship collection when you were college bound, too?
Toys not in “TS1” or “TS2” are introduced (warning: spoiler) — Ken and Barbie, Lots-o-Huggin’ the strawberry-scented bear and a creepy doll previously mistreated. Plus a chatting phone and a purple octopus — none, of course, as sentimental and heart-tugging as Buzz and Woody.
I saw the film in 3D, which is subtle and, frankly, largely unnecessary, in this floor-level saga of toys battling each other (and warding off nasty daycare kids, who don’t show respect) to save the dignity of our favorite playthings.
The third time’s the charmingest, it turns out; sequels often are deflated and overrated; this is a franchise entry that likely will be one of the year’s astronomical hits.
Whether you’re 5, 15, 25, 35, 55 or 65, you’ll get wattage and a wee bit of the wet-eyes in the perfect denouement — the toys are jostled to a land beyond the yellow brick road, as if a tornado came and swept them away to a turf called day care. It's like a bad nightmare (is there a good one?) of fright and fear, where friends can be enemies, and vice-versa. One toy finds his heart; another, learns he's got brain smarts; still another, discovers courage. Many other virtues evolve —in animation, mind you. Brilliant animation, from the Pixar folks.
When it comes down to basics, the toys just want to get back home, just like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.”
So what’s your take on the Woody-Buzz bonding? And how did “TS3” deliver as the summer’s sizzling flick?