Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I had to wait to see ‘Toy Story 3’ since my wife and son wouldn’t be allowed to accompany me to the critics screening and with Pixar films being kind of an event around our house. In the meantime my wife’s cousin had taken her family to see the film, one she raved about, so I asked her if she thought it was better than ‘Toy Story 2’ which I personally thought was simply amazing. In her opinion this movie was better so then I asked her if she thought it was better than ‘Finding Nemo’, simply one of the best movies ever made. Everybody has a right to their own opinion and I’d be the last person to chastise someone for hating something that I happen to like but I am of the opinion if someone out there actively doesn’t like ‘Finding Nemo’ then that poor person was born with a rotten soul. Poor rotten person. Regardless she had to hesitate on that, ultimately unable to ascend ‘Toy Story 3’ above the level of excellence that is ‘Finding Nemo’ (no matter what the IMDB ratings might say). After seeing ‘Toy Story 3’ I don’t think I would elevate this film past ‘Toy Story 2’ in its overall excellence but believe me, saying something isn’t as great as ‘Toy Story 2’ is not an insult because ‘Toy Story 3’ is still a great movie.

As the story plays out this time around Andy (voiced by John Morris) is all grown up and on his way to college and the toys are petrified what might become of them. Woody (Tom Hanks) assures them, with Buzz (Tim Allen) backing him up, that all will be okay until all of the toys, except for Woody who’s heading to college with Andy, are accidentally thrown to the curb for trash pickup.

Fortunately our toys manage to escape the compacter and sneak into the ‘donate’ box and have stumbled upon toy Nirvana, a local daycare center where they will be played with every single day. This daycare center is lorded over by the kindly purple stuffed bear Lotso (Ned Beatty) and his right man, Barbie’s boyfriend accessory Ken (Michael Keaton). As it turns out Lotso isn’t so kindly after all and has setup this daycare center as a Gestapo with our toys being sentenced to the toddler room where…oh my… it’s unspeakable what toddlers do to toys. I’ve seen it first hand.

Woody, who was making his way back to Andy so he wouldn’t miss college, has learned of Lotso’s evil ways, so at great personal risk he makes his way back to this daycare center to free his friends from their dire plight. Pulling this off will not be easy, mainly because of the Monkey. It’s complicated.

There’s probably nothing I can say about ‘Toy Story 3’ that hasn’t been said already so I won’t say anything other than it’s a great. Go see it. Or go see it again. The ‘review’ is now over and I will spend the rest of my time prattling on nonsensically. Please feel free to move on.

One of the great things about the Toy Story series are the toys themselves. Not Woody and Buzz and Jessie since these are Pixar originals allowing Disney to soak up more licensing loot but the other ‘real’ toys. For instance that silly toy phone with they eyes the moved every time you rolled it played a significant part in this episode. I loved that stupid toy despite the fact it served absolutely no purpose. I had many a deep conversation on that phone. But as purposelessness as that great toy may have been, it was still better that the Worst Toy Ever… that obnoxious thing with the handle and the hard balls that popped around while it was rolling around. Rest assured when a parent ‘donates’ a toy to a future parent or a day care center or a garage sale that’s the FIRST toy that gets marked. Give a two year old a choice of a hundred toys and if that hateful toy is one of the choices… guess which toy that two year old is going to choose every single time? I HATE that toy.

Then there’s curious case of Barbie. My sister had everything Barbie. Everything. One day I ask her had she ever wondered how Barbie got all this stuff. I mean she has three cars, a stable of horses, a couple of homes and enough clothes to choke a pig yet she has no job and since we’ve never seen her parents, I don’t think inherited any of that stuff. My sister tried to tell me that she’s a nurse, but I point out to the eight year old back in 1982 that that’s a costume, not a job. I inform my sister that I only know of one way that a woman with a body like that and no W-2 can pull that kind of income. Next thing I know she’s crying to mom accusing me of calling Barbie a prostitute. I did no such thing as she inferred that all on her own. It’s been almost thirty years and she still doesn’t talk to me. What’s up with that?

The plus and minus of being Pixar Studios is that their only competition is themselves, and that’s some stiff competition to have to deal with time in and time out. As good as some of the Dreamworks animated films have been such as ‘Kung Fu Panda’ or ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, they still just can’t quite measure up to the creativity, ingenuity, magic and story telling excellence that Pixar Studios brings to every single film that they have made to this point. One day John Lassiter and company may stumble, but it didn’t happen today and I would put down good money that it probably never will happen.

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