Toy Story 3 - ****
Directed by: Lee Unkrich
Starring (voices): Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, John Ratzenberger, Don Rickles, Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton, Whoopi Goldberg, Timothy Dalton
Review: All I can say is wow. Pixar has done it again. They took an amazing franchise and made it even better. We have all grown up with Woody and Buzz and the rest of the gang and the wonderful filmmakers at Pixar have used this as a plot device to great effect.
Just like the rest of us, Andy has grown up and has seemingly outgrown his toys. Andy will be on his way to college soon and it has come time for him to decide what to do with all his toys he has held on to over the years. Through a series of events Andy's toys find themselves donated to a day care center to be played with by all the kids there.
This seems like a great new life for the toys. After not being played with for years by Andy this seems like a great gig. Be at the day care center where there is an endless amount of kids coming in to play with you, which is much better than being relegated to the attic. Seems like a great deal.
All seems well until they find out that Sunnyside day care is run by a militant unforgiving toy named Lotso who is intent on making the toys serve in the "Butterfly Room" where are they played with very rough by small toddlers. Lotso fed them the lines of how great it will be to have an endless line of kids to play with them, but didn't tell them what they have to go through for all this. Lotso has been burned in the past by his "kid" and was replaced. This has lead Lotso to brainwash all the toys into thinking that this is the best alternative. They can always be played with and they won't have to get attached so they can never get hurt.
This is where the plot takes a very mature turn and one that I didn't really think Pixar was going to do, but I am glad they did. The toys don't agree with what Lotso is doing and want to do it differently. As Lotso does not like this he incarcerates the toys. This naturally leads to the toys plotting their escape. I will stop with the plot details there as they are too good to give away here.
I wasn't sure about Toy Story 3 going in, it would be very easy for Pixar to give all of us the gags and everything the kids would want and this movie would still make a boatload of money. However, they did not go this route, instead, they chose to give us a more grown up plot that fits the audience that grew up with these characters. Everyone gets to a point in their life where you have to move on and leave parts of the past. Nobody likes to do this, nobody likes to give up with is familiar and what they know, but we all have to. That is what this movie is about, accepting the changing of the times and moving on. This is shown in a very powerful scenes where the toys accept their fate together...and I won't go into more details about it here.
That is what this movie is all about. Accepting that you need to move on but realizing that as long you are with the people important to you that you can get through anything together and what is around the corner may be the start of something very good. A powerful message to be sure and one that makes this movie great and very much worth your time. Best movie of the summer so far.