a delight to go to the theater and see a fabulous G-rated film! And in
3D. My kids saw it when it was first released, so my husband and I
attended together, and it did not disappoint. I don’t know why we
adults think animated films are just for kids—many of my favorites are
animated. Beauty and the Beast still comes off the
shelf every now and again, even though it’s in VHS. Perhaps there’s
still a kid in me—or perhaps it is the stories behind the animation
that win my heart.
As with all Pixar movies, the
animation in Toy Story 3 is flawless, but again, it
is the story that works beautifully. The theme is similar to the
previous films—a combination of love, forgiveness, friendship, and
sacrifice. In this version, Andy, the owner of the toys, is now
seventeen and just days away from attending college. His mother forces
him to clean out his room so that his little sister can move in. Woody
is the only toy tossed into the box marked COLLEGE, while the rest are
thrown into a black trash bag designated ATTIC. Unfortunately, the
trash bag gets mistaken for garbage, which sends Woody on a wild hunt
to rescue his friends and return them to the attic before Andy takes
off for school.
While certainly not a Christian
or faith-based movie, it is family friendly with Judeo-Christian morals
and themes appropriate for all ages. However, there were a few
hilarious moments with Barbie and Ken that pushed the envelope for
small children, as well as a gambling scene using a Farmer Says toy
that probably wasn’t necessary. Conservative Christians may want to use
caution here, as well as take note that there is no dad in the story,
nor is a father mentioned. It is another sad reminder of the high
divorce rate in our society, even among believers.
**Spoiler Alert** That being
said, an interesting scene had a faith-based element worth mentioning.
After a lengthy action sequence, Woody and the toys end up in the town
dump. After several narrow escapes, they fall onto a fast-moving
conveyor belt that is headed toward an enormous incinerator, looking
very much like the lake of fire. Having just read Bill Wiese’s 23 Minutes
in Hell, I thought the animators did an excellent job of
hopelessness of being trapped in such a situation. There
is absolutely no way out, and the toys realize it, eventually accepting
their doom. Of course, in the world of Hollywood, salvation comes from
unlikely circumstances, and the toys are marvelously rescued.
a scene like this makes for good entertainment, I had a check in my
spirit that really made me think. Many people in this world are on that
fast-moving conveyor belt of life, destined for eternal torment in the
lake of fire, and yet they have no clue what awaits them. There will be
no marvelous, miraculous salvation for them as they fall into that
fiery pit one day. We Christians know that salvation only comes from
faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Perhaps when you see the movie
at the theater this summer, or even on DVD or Blu-ray in the months to
come, you will consider this truth when this scene plays. You could be
creative and talk about it with your children or at Sunday school if
you teach the youth. I’m sure Woody and Buzz and all of their toy
friends would be delighted to know their adventures were used to share
the gospel to the lost and dying.
For those of you who are
soft-hearted, I warn you that the ending touches that emotional place
in the soul that made me dig into my purse and retrieve a few hankies.
But it wasn’t because the story was sad—it was because this version
marked the end of a chapter in the life of the toys and the start of a
new beginning. Particularly touching was a tender good-bye to Woody as
Andy passes him on to another loving child, then drives away to
college. I’m getting choked up now just thinking about it—probably
because my oldest will be off to school in just two years. Like Toy
Story 3, it will be the end of a chapter in my life and the
beginning of something new.
Go be a kid again and see this
movie. You’ll laugh, cry, sit on the edge of your seat, and feel good
about seeing a wonderful, well-made film that the whole family can
enjoy for years to come. Personally, I look forward to many more
sequels and seeing how this new life suits Woody and Buzz and all of