Toy Story 3

'Toy Story 3'
Directors: Lee Unkrich
Rated: G
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris

Parent Concerns: Although Disney Pixar's third installment in the 'Toy Story' franchise is rated G, there is one climactic sequence of our favorite toys in peril (needless to say, they're rescued from danger) that may temporarily scare preschoolers. Even I tensed up, and I knew everything would end well. My daughter, who's 5-and-a-half, however, gripped my arm, began to whimper, and ended up sitting on my lap. For a few seconds, she really thought Woody, Buzz and the gang were doomed. The scene is more harrowing because the movie is 3-D. Otherwise, there's nothing to worry about in the "threequel," and it's a perfect pick for all ages.
Toy Story 3

'Toy Story 3'
Directors: Lee Unkrich
Rated: G
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris

Parent Concerns: Although Disney Pixar's third installment in the 'Toy Story' franchise is rated G, there is one climactic sequence of our favorite toys in peril (needless to say, they're rescued from danger) that may temporarily scare preschoolers. Even I tensed up, and I knew everything would end well. My daughter, who's 5-and-a-half, however, gripped my arm, began to whimper, and ended up sitting on my lap. For a few seconds, she really thought Woody, Buzz and the gang were doomed. The scene is more harrowing because the movie is 3-D. Otherwise, there's nothing to worry about in the "threequel," and it's a perfect pick for all ages.




Moviefone Mama Says: If your family is saving up to see only one movie this summer together, this is it! No matter how old your kids are (in fact, chances are if you have teenagers, they were the original young fans of the first two 'Toy Story' movies), they are sure to love the new 'Toy Story 3.' Its universal themes, superb voice cast, familiar Randy Newman music, and hilarious but also quite poignant story prove why Pixar turns out critical and box-office hits time after time. Before the movie starts, there's an ingenious animated short about two semi-transparent creatures that represent 'Night and Day,' and after the film is over, there's still fun to be had watching the credits, which are always a treat in Pixar films. The highlight of the credit sequence is an elaborate paso doble dance that Jessie and Buzz do, when she switches him to "Spanish mode." It was choreographed by Cheryl Burke and Tony Dovolani from 'Dancing with the Stars,' and it's accompanied by a flamenco-flavored Gipsy Kings version of 'You've Got a Friend in Me.' Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. Truly, from beginning to end, this is by far the summer's best movie.



Toy Story 3Here are three tips to extend your moviegoing experience beyond the multiplex.

1. My Favorite Toys: The funniest new character in 'Toy Story 3' is undoubtedly the Ken doll (voiced by Michael Keaton), who struggles with being called "a girls' toy" (meanwhile, his dream house's walk-in closet rivals Carrie Bradshaw's). He finds his soulmate in Barbie, who shares his love of large houses, convertibles, and dozens of outfit changes and accessories. His house and clothes reminded me of my own 1980s Ken, who, like the on-screen doll, had shorts (they were teal!) and an ascot. Very young kids don't care about whether a toy is considered a "girl toy" or a "boy toy," and even in the movie it's a little girl at the preschool who takes a shine to "the cowboy" (Woody). Gender issues aside, what were some of your favorite toys from childhood? Did you keep them into adulthood? Talk to your kids about your own personal Woody and Buzz. My kids have had the chance to play with my 25-year-old Cabbage Patch dolls and my husband's steel Tonka trucks and Transformers. Ask your kids which of their toys they plan to save for posterity.

2. Toy Tie-In Mania: As with all Disney movies, there are endless merchandising tie-ins to the movie, from plush dolls to t-shirts to games and action figures. I find merchandise one of the trickier issues to deal with, because while I don't mind encouraging my kids' interest in particular characters, children's movies or TV series, I don't want them becoming a walking advertisement for any particular brand (says the mom whose son was Harry Potter for Halloween and whose two-year-old is wearing a 'Star Wars' tee right at this moment). Every family has to decide how "invested" they want to become in a movie's merchandise; I have some friends who flat-out refuse to buy any licensed product, period, and others who completely decorate their kids' rooms with movie-based linens and posters. A couple of 'TS3' toys my kids and I can personally recommend: the 'Toy Story 3' video game, which I bought for my 8-and-a-half-year-old after my colleague at Common Sense Media gave it five stars, and the Disney Digital Books' 'Toy Story 3' app for the iPad, which is an audiobook for my five-year-old, but also an e-reader for my 8-year-old (you can even get free 3-D glasses at Disney Stores for it).

3. You've Gotta Give a Little: One of the sweetest messages of the movie is that toys need to be played with, or they get lonely. What better way to keep the joy of toys alive than to pass them along after your child has lost interest? My 5-and-a-half-year-old daughter couldn't wait to get home and pick out some toys to give away, and I was only too happy to oblige her (and declutter!). She selected 10 items to donate, from a tiny Happy Meal toy to a baby doll she's done "raising," and she kept saying she hoped someone "special" would play and take care of her toys. If a not-quite-kindergartener can come up with this on her own, than older kids with even more accumulated stuff can do it too.

Three to See: More Pixar Mania
Kids: 'Finding Nemo' is one of the best animated movies ever made. It's a funny and touching undersea adventure even the youngest movie-goers will love.

Tweens: 'Wall-E' is part environmental cautionary tale and part robot-on-robot love story, but it's all adorable, and kids may even want to see 'Hello, Dolly!' afterward.

Teens: 'The Incredibles' is an unforgettable family comedy. They're superheroes, but they're dealing with the same domestic trials as the rest of us: teen angst, marital issues, mid-life crises.

Bonus for Parents: 'Up' starts off with a montage about the life cycle of love and marriage that is so beautiful, I dare any married person to watch it without getting emotional.

Also in theaters:
'Shrek Forever After'

On DVD:
'Alice in Wonderland'