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Rapid Review: Toy Story 3

June 22, 2010

It’s hard to believe, but the original Toy Story was released way back in 1995.  This is an eternity in movie studio time, where no common sense of reality usually exists.  Back in 1995, Pixar was a young upstart of a studio.  By the time Toy Story was released to critical and box office bonanzas, it revolutionized and revitalized the animated film industry, and almost single-handedly saved Disney studios from a dreary fate.

The original Toy Story more than deserves its stellar and untouchable reputation.  It was a unique charmer of a movie that captured the imagination of both adults and kids alike.  The intelligent, funny script and genuine characters told a time-honored and often told tale of the meaning of friendship, but made it accessible to both the young and old of heart. 

Toy Story 2 was released in 1999 to more critical applause and equally blockbuster box office, introducing new characters and new locales, but basically giving audiences a chance to spend another hour and a half with the characters they had grown to love.

Now, over ten years later, we have Toy Story 3.  The premise is exactly what the final chapter in the series should be concerned with in such a day and age .  What happens when it is time to grow up and move on?  What happens when your whole world is turned upside down?  Times (both economically and socially) are very different from the way they were back in good old 1995, and our beloved characters once again are walking, talking reflections of these changes.   But enough of the heavy talk.  The movie is enormous fun on all levels.

Buzz, Woody, and all of their pals have to deal with a common American dilemma:  what do you do when you lose your home, your idea of comfort, and your perception of your own purpose in the world?  Their beloved owner Andy is heading off to college, and this leaves our toy companions in a horrible limbo.  It’s hard enought for most adults to deal with these problems.  Try being a toy!

I won’t give too much away regarding the basic plot of the movie.  You’re not meant to analyze the details, and that’s half the fun.  Let’s just say it involves a daycare center ironically named “Sunnyside” and a cast of new characters, including a flamboyant and vain Ken,  the world’s creepiest baby doll and a plush bear (who smells like strawberries) that could put any movie mob boss to shame.

It’s a marvelous movie and never once does it miss the mark on either an emotional or technological level.   Those without hearts of stone might want to bring a hanky or two for the final scenes.

Spending an hour and a half watching Toy Story 3 is like attending a reunion with old friends, only without the awkward pauses in conversation and the necessity of viewing billions of photos of their equally awkward children.

There’s plenty of action and physical comedy for the kids, but plenty of heart and soul for the adults.  All in all, Toy Story 3 is destined to be one of the summer’s greatest hits.  It deserves every penny in revenue it makes.  Take your kids, your grandma, your best friend, your neighbor…share the love.  There’s plenty to go around.

Overall Grade: A

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