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Toy Story 3 (2010)

Directed by:

Lee Unkrich

Rating: 10/10

US Certificate: G

Oh Pixar, why do you do these things to me? I knew Up would make me cry, but really guys? Woody? I mean, there have been touching moments in the other two Toy Story films, but nothing that made me and half the theater sniffle and blubber all embarrassing-like. Not that it’s a big sob-fest, or even a downer—Toy Story 3 is darn funny all the way through—and in a rare Hollywood twist, it’s a sequel that’s just as good as the original.

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks), Buzz (voice of Tim Allen) and the gang are back and ready to play—problem is, Andy’s not. See, Andy’s all grown up and about to go off to college, and his beloved playthings have been relegated to the toybox. As if that weren’t bad enough, they’re about to be sent up to the attic—so before that happens, they decide to take matters into their own hands and get themselves donated to a day care, where they dream of being played with all day long. All seems to be going great at Sunnyside Day Care … for about five minutes, until things take a dark turn, and it’s up to Woody to save his friends from the big, fluffy paws of evil plush dictator Lotso (voice of Ned Beatty).

Usually, by the time you get to the third installment of a successful animated franchise, the filmmakers seem to have decided that as long as they keep some of the same fundamental stories and core characters, their audience will follow them whatever they do. That doesn’t make for memorable storytelling, it’s more just a feeling that well, at least you get to see some of the people (animals, ogres, etc.) you loved before. This is definitely not the case with Toy Story 3; in fact, in some ways, it’s the best of the trilogy. Jokes are funny without ever being innuendo-laden or too pop culture-y, there are some spectacular action scenes, and let me just say that the villains of the piece are just a little terrifying. The heart of the film, though, is that there’s a little part of us that always thinks our toys have feelings, and it’s heartbreaking to both adults who have left their childhood behind and kids who feel a deep connection to their toys to think of them being sad and abandoned. This isn’t like Up or even WALL-E, where the touching moments resonate more with parents—no, everyone who’s ever had a favorite doll or stuffed bunny gets it. In between the sniffles, though, Buzz does a hilarious Spanish dance of love, and Ken puts on a fashion show, and … well, it’s the best of the three, and that’s saying a lot.

It's Got: Hilarious new characters, A scary giant baby, Mr. Tortilla Head

It Needs: A little warning to parents that a few parts might scare younger kids

Alternatives:

The Brave Little Toaster, Toy Story, Toy Story 2

Summary

It’s redundant at this point to continue to praise these Pixar films, but they did it again, and it’s funny and heartbreaking and a little scary and one of the best films of the year.

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