Old toys receive new battery life in Pixar’s Toy Story 3

June 24, 2010

by Maggie Bullock

It is now the beginning of one of the biggest chapters of your life. You are starting college. And what is your most difficult conflict before you leave? Parting with your loved ones? Not having enough room in your car for all the junk you are taking with you? Or just being plain petrified about starting college? Umm, of course not. Your biggest dilemma is leaving your childhood toys behinds to fend for themselves. Duh.

This is where we find our main character, Andy, who is all grown-up and departing for college in Disney Pixar’s newest animated feature, “Toy Story 3,” directed by Lee Unkrich. Andy is torn between the decision of taking Woody the cowboy (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear the space ranger (voice of Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang to college, putting them in the attic, throwing them in the garbage or donating them to Sunnyside Daycare.

From there, the movie quickly takes off with the toys believing Andy does not want them anymore. Through a series of mishaps, the gang ends up at Sunnyside, certain they have hit the jackpot. At the daycare, they are greeted by welcoming new toys and who appears to be their leader, Lotso (voiced by Ned Beatty), a big huggable purple teddy bear. However, Andy’s toys learn really soon that maybe the attic or even the garbage would not be as bad compared to Sunnyside.

One cannot help but contrast the third installment to the other two Toy Stories. While the third one introduces the viewer to new locations for the characters’ adventures, the plot of Woody and the gang feeling abandoned, running away, feeling loved again and making the trek back home to Andy is getting redundant.

However, there are always the sub-plots that give it a fresh twist. Woody gets separated from the group for part of the movie and the audience is introduced to a little girl named Bonnie (voiced by Emily Hahn), her toys and her imaginative world. Here, Woody remembers what it is like to be played with and it makes the viewer feel like a child again, if you are not one already. Also, the sub-plot of Barbie (voiced by Jodi Benson) and new character, Ken (voiced by Michael Keaton), is a comedic one. It is love at first sight for these two–a life full of dream houses, glittery outfits and non-bendable appendages.
Another repeat seems to be the character of Lotso. While watching him on the screen, I could not help but think of Stinky Pete (voiced by Kelsey Grammar) from “Toy Story 2.” He was another cranky character who was wronged by a child and is demanding other innocent toys do what he wants, just like Lotso in “Toy Story 3.” Although, the character of a plushy teddy bear is a little more deceiving than a farting prospector.

There also appears to be an underlining life lesson in this third Toy Story about being able to let go and move on. It seems a little deep for Toy Story so little children may not understand it, but older children and adults will appreciate it.

Even if there seems to be a repeat of plots and maybe some characters, Pixar still managed to roll out another hit even after 15 years of the release of “Toy Story” in 1995. According to www.entertainmentweekly.com, “Toy Story 3” made $109 million its opening weekend, earning the status of Pixar’s highest-grossing opening weekend ever. College students, who were in elementary school when the first “Toy Story” opened, were loyal to the character of Andy and his toys and then some.

Whether you are starting college, starting elementary school or starting a family, “Toy Story 3” is a movie for all ages. It will definitely make you laugh, jump out of your seat and maybe even shed a tear. So grab your “favorite deputy” and go “to infinity and beyond” with “Toy Story 3,” because Pixar did a stellar job of closing the final story.