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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

June 22, 2010 at 2:05 PM

“Toy Story 3”: Did you bring the kids?

So it looks as if Pixar’s charming “Toy Story 3” has solved the Great Summer Box-Office Slump, at least for the moment, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer film. But I’ve been wondering something for the past few days, and this Entertainment Weekly item expressed the same thing: Is this movie, despite its G rating, more for adults than for kids? (An interesting inversion, if that’s the case: I see plenty of R-rated movies that seem as if they were made for — and by — teenagers.) EW’s John Young reports that he went to an early-evening Saturday screening and found virtually no kids there; just hordes of happy adults (some of whom might well have been kids when the first “Toy Story” came out 15 years ago). He says this made for a particularly pleasant moviegoing experience, with no crying babies or squirrely tots, and that much of “Toy Story 3” is best appreciated by grown-ups.
Agreed — that there’s a poignancy about the passage of time in “TS3” (and, for that matter, in all Pixar films) that you have to have put in some time to understand, and that there’s much in the film that kids won’t appreciate until they’re older. And I wondered, watching the film, if there weren’t a few sequences that might be too scary for small kids (the conveyer-belt scene at the city dump, for example, had me kind of scared, and I’m way past grade school). Then again, the cute three-year-old next to me at the preview screening seemed thrilled (and not too scared) by the movie, and it was fun to sneak peeks in her direction and watch her enjoy it.
(And there’s a bigger issue here that the EW posting touches upon: A lot of people, based on my reading, don’t like to see movies alongside kids, as little ones have a tendency to kick the backs of chairs (which, I must admit, that three-year-old next to me did), ask questions in piping voices, and generally behave like children. And I sympathize, to a point. But this is a G-rated movie we’re talking about, and kids are going to be part of that territory. Every time a “Harry Potter” movie comes out, I hear from readers complaining that squirrelly kids ruined their moviegoing experience. While I hope parents are teaching their kids proper behavior at the movie theater, I hope unaccompanied adults at kid-movie screenings can come to accept that kid behavior is a work in progress, and that perhaps they can at least smile when asking a kid to stop kicking the seat. And that complaining about kids at a G-rated movie screening is kind of like complaining that a strip club is full of, well, strippers. End of digression.)
Anyway. Did you take your kid(s) to “Toy Story 3”? Or do you think it’s more for grown-ups? Were you a kid when the first “Toy Story” came out? Have you watched it since as an adult?

And did you have one of these Fisher-Price phones? I think I did. (Photo copyright Disney/Pixar.)

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