The Toy Story 3 full-length trailer was finally made available online on Monday at noon, saying farewell to a childhood gone by. The trailer explains the premise of this sequel quickly: Andy grew up playing with Woody and Buzz and all of his toys, but that time is coming to an end. He's about to leave for college, and must decide what to do with his childhood toys.
After opening so bittersweet, the trailer shifts gears to the adventurous tone we're used to from the Toy Story series. This time it's hijinks at a daycare center full of unruly children, which seems to be more than the kids can handle.
"We all knew this day was coming"...
The great thing about this premise is that it follows the second movie perfectly. The major conflict of Toy Story 2 was the fear of Andy growing up and not loving Woody or the other toys anymore, as budding adults often lose that connection with toys and action figures (Full disclosure: I'm still surrounded by them, though to be fair, anybody who thinks of me as an adult would be making a big mistake). Here we see that day has finally come with Andy's departure from home. Though putting an emphasis on his going to college made me wonder if Andy keeps the toys in a box, rarely played with, or if he kept on goofing around with them all through high school.
The latter, I think, would be somewhat of a cop-out. The easier route would be to make Andy a geek or overly sentimental, keeping his childhood toys all through adulthood.
"Return of the Astronut"...
In Toy Story, a fun aspect of Buzz Lightyear is how oblivious he is to the fact that he is just a toy. For Toy Story 2, they didn't want to let go of this character trait even though Buzz has moved beyond it, hence the introduction of an FOB (fresh off the box) Buzz. The Toy Story 3 trailer shows that they're maintaining that tradition by malfunctioning Buzz.
The situation is treated lightly in the trailer, with a pretty lame gag involving Buzz suddenly speaking Spanish, but I can't help but think (wish) that there might be more to it than just a gag. Buzz is essentially getting a memory wipe, so does that mean the memories of him and Andy are gone? What if they restore him back to normal, but his memory bank is a complete blank slate?
It would be an interesting ending if Buzz moves on from Andy because of the memory wipe and the other toys—after a long adventure busting out of the day care center to return things to status quo—realize that this is what they must do, as well. Not necessarily a memory wipe, but letting go of their connection with Andy in order to let him grow up. Cue the sadness.
The great thing about computer animation is that as technology keeps expanding, animation studios keep pushing themselves to outdo their previous effort, and nowhere is this more evident than in Pixar's filmography. We've seen their improvement over the years; the animation in Wall•E and Up are leaps and bounds more sophisticated compared to the (already impressive) visuals seen in A Bug's Life or Monsters Inc. But the quickest way to see how much they've improved? Try comparing this trailer to Toy Story 2, which came out 10 years ago. The character designs stay the same, but you can see how much they've evolved. Buzz's space suit looks a bit more polished shinier (which is weird, since they're old toys), and Andy's face in the home video portion is much more expressive and detailed.
Something to think about...
Maybe this isn't that important to the movie, but the Toy Story movies haven't exactly progressed in real time. This is because not a lot of time has progressed between Toy Story 1 & 2 in the movie, whereas it was 4 years between the movies in real life. Andy was 8 years old in the first movie and let's assume he's 18 here; that means only 10 years have passed in the timeline, not the actual 15 years it took between the movies.
Thinking about it made me realize that I wasn't that much older than Andy when the first Toy Story came out. The sliding timeline has added more years into my gap, but for all intents and purposes, I've too grown into an adult alongside Andy.
I think Pixar is fully aware of the fact that the original Toy Story fans are all now in their twenties. While their goal is of course to please all ages, I'm confident that they know this sequel would mean a lot more to people who experienced the series at the right age. So expect the Andy-going-college plot to have a lot more resonance than the trailer lets on.
Something NOT to think about...
Of course, there are certain things real adolescents pick up on that we would not see Andy go through in the movie. You know, the unmentionables. Thinking about it too much would just be creepy. After all, we would have to assume that Woody and the gang were present—maybe even watching—when Andy discovered porn, masturbation, or perhaps sex. It opens up a whole can of worms on how involved the toys are in Andy's personal life.
Yes, yes, it would make for an interesting story, the toys trying to understand a teenager's behavior and why he's changed from the sweet little boy they used to know... but even a trailblazer like Pixar is not so daring that they would actually address these things.
Other random observations...
Where's Bo Peep? She's nowhere to be found in the trailer, even at crucial scenes like the toys discussing their future after Andy leaves. Did Woody and her have a falling out? Did she count one sheep too many and never woke up?
Andy doesn't seem to be much of a gamer. His entertainment corner looks modest, and the game controllers are all in a chest, underneath the old toys and VHS tapes.
Instead, he seems to be an athlete. The top of Andy's dresser is lined with baseball trophies. But there's also a flyer or something for an Art Competition on Andy's corkboard.
Speaking of which, what is Andy's major? Given the big imagination he displays when playing with his toys, could Andy be an artist of some sort? I like the proposed theory that Andy will go to college, rediscover his dorky side, channels it into something creative and ultimately becomes John Lasseter.
A really cool easter egg is on display on the corkboard. You'll have to watch the trailer in high definition to really see it, but there's a postcard from Carl & Ellie Fredrickson, the characters from Up.
Another Pixar universe easter egg is when they pop open Buzz's battery slot. They're batteries from Buy N' Large, the mega-company from Wall•E.