CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

"Toy Story 3" shows how to end a trilogy.

As my sister Carol prepares to sell her home of 19 years, she is confronting nostalgia. As Carol watched her children grow up and go to college, my niece and nephew left behind their toys. Now it is time to trash or donate these artifacts from the eighties, but the memories of good times are becoming stronger. Pixar/Disney has tapped into this social right of passage and the empty nest syndrom with **Toy Story 3.** Parents, bring your kleenex.

It has been eleven years since **Toy Story 2** and Cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) and Hamm (John Ratzenberger) have been spending their recent years in a dark basket. Andy (John Morris, who voiced the previous **Toy Stories**) is preparing for college, but his mother (Laurie Metcalf) keeps nagging him to clean out his room. Andy makes a decision to take Woody to college, but leave the rest of the toys in the attic. Through coincidence and happenstance, the toys end up in Sunnyvale Preschool.
At first, Andy's toys accept their new environment with joy. The avuncular Teddy Bear Mr. Lotso (Ned Beatty) provides Andy's toys with an orientation. Barbie (Jodi Benson) meets her soul mate Ken (Michael Keaton), whose relationship becomes more profound (and kinky) than the television commercials imply.
However much like Pinocchio on Pleasure Island, the situation turns sinister. Many of the Sunnyvale toys are victims of obnoxious children. These spoiled children are disrespectful and torture Andy's toys. After one day of abuse, Buzz Lightyear organizes the great escape. Much like the previous **Toy Stories,** the escape plan goes awry and the characters go out of the frying pan into the mouth of a garbage incinerator.
**Toy Story 3** is the darkest film of the trilogy, but like any good epic, one must go through hell to get to Heaven. The emotional payoff is that good. For all of their technical brilliance and attention to detail, Pixar's box office track record is sustained by good storytelling and engaging character development.
Three years ago, 13 movies were released that were the concluding chapter of a trilogy. Most of these movies (**Spider-Man 3,** **The Bourne Ultimatum**) were critical disappointments. **Toy Story 3** is a natural extension of the previous movies and is a satisfying conclusion. Given the phenomenal success of **Toy Story 3,** Hollywood executives should take note of how to successfully wrap up an epic story.
**Toy Story 3** is a great movie, with or without a six story IMAX screen. However, to appreciate the spectacle of **Toy Story 3,** try seeing at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery within the next 6 days before **The Twilight Saga Eclipse** confiscates the big screen. Don't let the bloodsuckers ruin your summer, go see **Toy Story 3.**
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