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Toy Story 3

Old Toys, New Tricks

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Toy Story put Pixar on the map. Toy Story 2 solidified its dominance in CGI animation, as well as storytelling. And rest assured, Toy Story 3 completes a near perfect trilogy, a feat rarely achieved. Everything that made the first two exquisite is back in the third and it’s a fitting conclusion for Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the gang.

They’ve been through many adventures, but this one is the end of an era. Their owner, Andy, is going off to college — and a young adult has no need for mere toys. Whereas the loyal Woody will do everything in his power to remain under Andy’s care, whether in his room or in an box in the attic, the rest of the gang are prepared to do anything but end up in the dump.

But it’s neither that holds their fate, instead they’re donated to a local daycare. There they meet Lotso (Ned Beatty), who introduces them to a world of constant play and no heartbreak. Unfortunately, that’s only a shade of the truth. Instead, they’re the objects of toddlers’ wrath, not a child’s love. Soon they’re in a race for their lives, as they seek to return to Andy’s house before he leaves for college.

Whereas in the first two films we got to know Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang, this one isn’t centered on character development. Instead it’s a bittersweet goodbye as the toys realize their owner has outgrown them. It’s a film about transition, about taking that next step. While it may not be the most exciting of the three, it may be the most touching.

It’s a fond farewell to a cast of characters many of us have grown up and grown old with. They ushered in a new era of filmmaking and it’s humbling to see that they’ll go out in a blaze of glory rather than fading into oblivion.