I have to admit, the first time I watched Toy Story 3 a few tears came to my eyes. Who would have thought a movie about bits of plastic and cloth could elicit so much emotion? But the Toy Story films are about a lot more than toys; they are about friendship, recapturing childhood and, most of all, love.
In Toy Story 3 most of the familiar cast of characters return, some are missing because their owner, Andy, has grown up in the interim and realized he has outgrown his childhood playthings. Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Mr. and Mrs. Potato head (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), Rex, Slink and Hamm (John Ratzenberger) remain, but are upset over not being played with by their near-adult owner. When they overhear Andy is leaving for college and their options are: a) be put in the attic, b) be donated to a local daycare or c) be thrown out, the toys hope for the best. While Andy intends to put them in the attic, the toys mistakenly think they are headed for the dumpster and instead stowaway with the donations with the idea that they will be played with forever at Sunnyside Daycare.
Once they arrive and meet the strawberry smelling Lots-O’-Huggin’ bear (Ned Beatty) and Ken (Michael Keaton), who meets and falls for Barbie (narrated by The Little Mermaid‘s Jodi Benson) the toys discover daycare is not all fun and eventually hatch a plan to escape and return to Andy.
The bittersweet ending of Toy Story 3 is the part of the film that affected me the most. It is sad and moving, but nevertheless a fitting end to a series of movies that, alongside The Lord of the Rings and the original Star Wars films, is probably the greatest trilogy in film history.
The superlative animation of Pixar is unparalleled and the voice talents of the entire cast (which also include small parts for Timothy Dalton and Whoopi Goldberg) are simply amazing. Toy Story 3 is rated G, but there are some surprisingly tense and scary moments that may be too much for the four and under crowd. This film comes highly recommended with the advice to revisit the first two Toy Story‘s before setting off on these toys’ final adventure.