Toy Story 3

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Toy Story was released in 1995, followed by Toy Story 2 in 1999.  Holy Smokes! Time flies.

I haven’t fired up my VHS player in a good while, but as I recollect, Woody, Buzz and the gang were left in a pretty good spot.  Why revisit a series that was ably put to rest 11 years later?

I mean, my oldest was 4 when the first movie came out, and now she’s 18.  She’s sort of outgrown her toy phase, at least the ones not made by Apple. 

Can’t Hollywood leave well enough alone?

Well, Pixar isn’t exactly Hollywood, and even Disney is smart enough not to mess with them.  Their stories (aside from Cars) have not only been entertaining, but relevant and on point for both kids and adults.  And in Toy Story 3, their timing is once again impeccable.  How so?

Andy, the owner of our familiar gang of toys, is going off to college… Gee, just like my daughter.  What to do with all the junk… (excuse me)… childhood treasures? And that’s the beauty of it – Pixar has developed the story to remain in tune with their original audience, both with cleverness, wit, and an emotional appeal to their growing maturity.

Was it worth $32 for 4 tickets?  Another $34 for the overpriced popcorn and ICEEs?  Absolutely, and the hint of a Clemson Tiger Paw on Andy’s box to be taken to college is, admittedly, a glorious bonus.

The animation was, as always, fantastic, even if it’s so familiar that it no longer dazzles.  Given the relative pain of watching Harrison Ford revisit his glory years as Indiana Jones, animation works wonderfully for a delayed sequel as the characters haven’t aged a day. 

The plot never lags, and, as expected, it remains committed to its winsome characters and tone.  It’s creative, yet familiar. It’s predictable, yet satisfying.  And it’s funny, yet touching.

As an adult, it’s impossible to watch the movie and not recall some moment when decisions were made of which childhood toys to donate, which to toss in the trash, or which to store “somewhere.”  The heartstrings are likely to get pulled a little, but certainly less so for those of us who were smart enough to keep all our best toys. 

If anyone is worried about “tainting” their Toy Story fondness by seeing this sequel, have no fear.  The movie is rated favorably by moviegoers at unseen levels.

And they’re right to do so.

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

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