Story

Toy Story 3 is the third instalment of Pixar’s flagship franchise. This animated 3D movie has all the familiar main characters including Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Mr and Mrs Potato Head (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), and Hamm the Piggy Bank (John Ratzenberger).

Andy Davis (John Morris) is now 17 years old and about to head off to college. When his mother asks him to sort through his stuff, Andy decides to take Woody along to college. He puts the remaining toys in a black garbage bag to store in the attic. But his mother mistakes the bag for rubbish and puts it out for collection.

Thinking that Andy does not want them any more, the toys jump into a box headed for Sunnyside child care centre. Woody unintentionally joins them. The toys are joyfully met by other toys at the centre, led by a strawberry-scented teddy bear called Lotso (Ned Beatty). Woody leaves the others to get back to Andy, feeling happy that they have found somewhere they will be played with and enjoyed by lots of children.

But the toys get an unpleasant surprise when they are placed in the toddler room at the centre and experience rough toddler play. They decide to escape and head back to Andy’s attic. But Buzz is caught by the now not-so-friendly Lotso and reprogrammed into his galactic superhero state. Buzz turns on the others and imprisons them so they can’t escape. It’s up to Woody to rescue them.

Themes

Growing up; abandonment

Violence

This movie includes some violence and accidental harm. For example:

  • During the opening play sequence, a bad Mr Potato Head who is stealing money from a train is whipped and stepped on by Woody. Another Potato Head pushes Woody off the train. Two toys blow up the tracks that connect two sides of a valley, and the train runs off the end of the cliff. The children in the train are saved when Buzz lifts it to safety.
  • During a sequence imagined by the young Andy, ‘bombs’ are dropped from the air, causing a huge explosion. Thousands of red monkeys emerge from the explosion and chase the toys.
  • Woody falls from a kite through a tree and onto the ground.
  • The toys almost get crushed by a garbage compactor in a garbage truck.
  • Toys are violently mistreated and destroyed by the children in the child care centre. They are kicked, shoved, thrown, ripped apart, broken and licked.
  • One child takes the eye off a Potato head and sticks it up her nose.
  • Mr Potato Head is thrown by a baby toy.
  • Lotso the bear rips off Mr Potato Head’s mouth.
  • Toys are verbally mean to one another.
  • A monkey toy bashes its cymbals on either side of Woody’s head.
  • The Slinky Dog and Woody wrap a monkey toy in sticky tape.
  • Barbie pins Ken on the floor and twists his head around.
  • Buzz is tied up in a chair. His back is unscrewed, and he is reprogrammed.
  • Buzz fights with other toys. He hits and kicks them, slams them into walls, and imprisons them against their will.
  • A bird tries to eat Mr Potato Head, causing him to fall apart.
  • The toys are tipped into a garbage furnace. They are almost shredded and burned. The Martian toys later save them.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five. These scenes are enhanced by the 3D component of the movie, which causes objects to suddenly emerge from the screen. For example:

  • The rubbish dump scene is likely to be particularly scary for preschoolers. The earth movers arrive very suddenly to move the rubbish. The huge crusher pulverises the rubbish. There is a massive incinerator pit, where things slowly move towards the centre flame.
  • Particularly ‘creepy’ characters include ‘Big Baby’, who has a strange eye, and a monkey with cymbals who screams wildly.
  • Rex the dinosaur comes out of the ground with a huge roar.
  • Several scenes occur in the dark and with scary music. These scenes show the corridors of the day care centre at night, the ‘cells’ where the toys are locked at night, and the stormy weather that happens when Lotso changes his personality.
  • Big Baby sits on a swing outside in the dark. Her head spins around while sinister music plays.

From 5-8

Children in this age group could also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. They might also be worried by the toys’ experiences of being:

  • abandoned by Andy
  • mistreated and trapped at the child care centre
  • in danger at the rubbish dump.

Over 8

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

This movie includes some sexual references. For example:

  • Buzz feels ‘hot’ when Jessie moves up close to him.
  • Barbie compliments Ken on his bottom.
  • Mrs Potato Head rubs her hands along a toy with big biceps. She says: ‘Why hello there … May I?’
  • Ken is showing Barbie around his house and says, ‘This is where the magic happens …’. Then he shows her his wardrobe.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is no use of substances in this movie. But in one scene, some characters are betting on a roulette-type game using batteries and toy coins as money. There are drinks around the table, although they are not obviously alcoholic.

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie includes some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Barbie sits on Ken’s lap and strokes his shoulders.
  • Barbie wears her familiar tight clothing. Ken appears wearing only boxer shorts.
  • Jessie kisses Buzz repeatedly on the cheek.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Barbie, Monopoly, Apple and other toy brands like Fisher Price.

There is also a significant amount of merchandise, including toys and clothing, being marketed to children in association with the movie.

Coarse language

This movie includes some name-calling.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Toy Story 3 3D is a quality animated adventure movie. It is likely to be enjoyed by most of the family, although it is darker and more scary than previous Toy Story movies. This is why it’s not recommended for children under five.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Be loyal to your friends and give them help when they need it.
  • Growing up and accepting change is a part of life.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, loyalty and courage.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as:

  • mistreating and bullying others
  • not giving help when it’s needed
  • being imprisoned or abandoned.