Toy Story 3 (2010)

Toy Story 3 (2010) — I think at this point it’s safe to say that if you do not like these movies you are dead inside.  One might think a third Toy Story movie would be crushed by the weight of one’s expectation given the amazing quality of the first two, but nope.  It stands tall with the rest of them, even with a darker tone that tackles such melancholy issues as abandonment.  Andy (voiced by the same “kid” as before, John Morris) is now heading off to college and the toys will be donated, thrown out, or stored in the attic.  The previews should give you a fair idea of which.  The core cast of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Joan Cusack, John Ratzenberger, and Wallace Shawn return as Woody, Buzz, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, Jesse, Hamm, & Rex (also the nonspeaking horse Bullseye returns and Home Improvement‘s Blake Clark replaces the late Jim Varney as Slinky), but they’re all that’s left of Andy’s once-massive toy collection.  R. Lee Ermey returns briefly as Sarge before leaving because “the mission is over.”  Even at the beginning of the movie, this is some pretty heavy stuff for a “kid’s movie.”  But these movies were never really JUST for kids.  New additions to the cast include Jodi Benson and Michael Keaton as Barbie and Ken (not gay, just really into fashion) in addition to small parts by Whoopi Goldberg, Bonnie Hunt, Jeff Garlin, Kristen Schaal, Richard Kind, and Timothy Dalton (!!!).  The standout is Ned Beatty (who is apparently not retired as I had previously believed) as Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear, the folksy but embittered teddy bear who runs a daycare center.  Being made by Pixar, everything in Toy Story 3 is top notch and once again triumphs on the simple idea that children need not be condescended to in their own entertainment.  In the back of my mind I knew that this was a family movie and that everything would work out all right but there were scenes that made me forget that.  Even a happy resolution to the trouble the toys find themselves in would mean no longer being played with by the boy they spent their whole lives loving. By the end of the movie the entire IMAX theater was full of people crying.  Not me of course because I’m so macho… okay I wept like a little girl.  Speaking of IMAX, that really is the way to see this movie as the animators used the 3D effects not to make random junk fly out at you but rather grant the image greater depth for a more immersive film-going experience.  Anyway i know I may have dwelled on the more serious parts of the film, but there are a lot of funny goings-on as well (“¡Hasta el infinito y más allá!”).  I was 10 when the first Toy Story came out and 15 when the 2nd hit.  Now I’m 25 and it feels like I’ve grown up with this series. This is the perfect conclusion for what has been the perfect family franchise.  It’s like saying goodbye to old friends (except thanks to my Blu-Ray shelf, I’ll be able to keep visiting).

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