"Toy Story" was about sibling rivalry. "Toy Story 2" was about loving others, even if it means you might get hurt someday.
So what is "Toy Story 3" about? It takes the whole "kids + loyal toys" theme to its natural conclusion, by showing us what happens when the kids grow up and leave. While the first two-thirds of the movie are fairly pedestrian (for a Pixar movie!), the last part is both action-packed and emotionally wrenching.
Ten years have passed, and Andy is now a college-bound teenager. His toys are anxious about what's going to happen, so Woody keeps assuring them that they'll be put safely in the attic. But a misunderstanding leads to a date with the garbage truck. Since the toys believe they have been abandoned, they jump into the box of donated toys bound for Sunnyside Daycare.
They're greeted by the genial Lots-o'-Hugging Bear (aka Lotso) and the friendly daycare toys, and all seems to be well. But Andy's toys soon discover that Sunnyside is a nighmare -- they've been assigned the "Caterpillar Room" for wild abusive toddlers, and Lotso is the Godfatheresque overlord of the daycare. Once Woody learns the true horrors of Sunnyside, he must infiltrate the daycare and somehow get his friends out.
You know that the movie industry is officially in a slump when the cleverest, funniest and most touching movie of the summer... is a CGI sequel about toys. "Toy Story 3" starts off rather lightweight at first, with the toys being brought into Sunnyside and Woody setting off in another direction.
But once Lotso is revealed as the villain, the movie takes a sharp turn -- it becomes a clever, complex "Great Escape"-style caper, with some moments of G-rated horror (THE MONKEY!) and hilarity (resetting Buzz ends up turning him into a flamenco-dancing suave Spaniard). And while the toys' attempted escape from Sunnyside is taut and genuinely thrilling, it's only the START of the climax -- a harrowing, genuinely scary chase scene that brings the toys together.
And there's a bittersweet core to "Toy Story 3": kids grow up, leave home and the people/toys they leave behind are both proud and sad. In the final scenes of the movie,we're quietly ushered through the emotional goodbyes and hellos of growing up.
And the adorable little cast of toys still remind us that what matters most is love and loyalty, particularly during a deadly crisis where they all fearfully join hands (it sounds sappy, but it isn't). There's also some endearing additions to the cast -- the foppish clotheshorse Ken, Big Baby, a Totoro, a giggly tricerotops, and the Shakespearean stuffed hedgehog Mr. Pricklepants.
It hurts to say goodbye to Woody, Buzz and their friends, but "Toy Story 3" is a fitting farewell that brings the trilogy full circle. Best movie of the summer, hands down.Read more ›