Toy Story 3 (2010).

D: Lee Unkrich. W: Michael Arnt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich.  Starring (voice talents): Tom Hanks/Tim Allen/Joan Cusack/Ned Beatty/Don Rickles/Michael Keaton/Wallace Shawn/Don Ratzenberger/Estelle Harris/John Morris/Jodi Benson/Blake Clark/Whoopi Goldberg/Timothy Dalton/Bonnie Hunt/Emily Hahn.

As the story of the summer continues, Toy Story 3 has hit cinemas and, thankfully, stolen our hearts and our money.

This third installment picks up the story line in real time, ten or so years after Toy Story 2 was released in 1999. Now the toys’ beloved Andy (voiced again by Morris) is eighteen and packing up his room before he leaves for college. Once again, the tension is on as the toys must come to terms with Andy’s age and stage with his “inanimate” friends. And although packed up for the attic, the toys end up accidentally being donated to a local daycare. A daycare that despite new toy friends and children, is not what is seems.

The new terrain of Sunnyside daycare, much like Sid’s house in the first film and Al’s Toy Barn in the second, represents the new prison the toys must escape or be rescued from. Using this similar dramatic template of the last two films, new director Unkrich is able to maintain the pacing, conflict, and charm that made the first two films so memorable. Clearly a tremendously collective endeavor, Toy Story 3 highest achievement is it’s ability to wrap up a beloved story and childhood connection between toys and their owners. Within both Andy’s relationship with his toys and their own community of support audiences everywhere will feel everything and be satisfied with the conclusion of such adventures.

However, that being said, Toy Story 3 was unfortunately loaded onto the 3D bandwagon. Obviously, Disney and Pixar wished to capitalize on this current craze, but in reality the 3D element is very minimal and hardly significant to this team’s storytelling. Although, not a detriment to anything but your wallet, one just hopes that not every new film will “use” 3D just because its trendy.

Yet by the end of the film most audiences will have forgiven their headache from the 3D and simply smile at Tom Hank’s ability to animate such a great cowboy in Woody. While providing the perfect foil to Tim Allen’s insatiable Buzz Lightyear whose Spanish version makes an appearance and, frankly, steals the show. It is this sort of creative freshness that compliments Pixar’s beautiful animation and allows every detail to exude purpose and pleasure. Lastly, the rest of the cast of Toy Story 3 is (as always) full of energy, charm, and such well written dialogue that even Barbie can have a philosophical moment.

Another Pixar/Disney classic, another reminder of why we go to the movies, and want to bring the kids along.

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