It’s been 11 years since Toy Story 2, and the same amount of time has passed in Buzz and Woody’s world. Andy is now heading off to college and the toys’ fates are up in the air. Will they go with him? Will they go to the attic? Or worse, what if they get thrown away? The movie explores all these possibilities and ends up having a lot to say about ‘moving on’ and abandonment. I cried. Twice. I had no idea how much these characters had grown on me over the years until I saw them completely helpless, facing their greatest fear at the climax of Toy Story 3. Fortunately, Pixar has a magical ability to weave mature subject matter into their storylines without losing their sense of fun and wonder.
My only complaints are that the first half of the movie isn’t nearly as strong as the second, and there are probably a half-dozen or more new toys introduced than we really needed. The most notable addition is Ned Beatty as Lotso Huggins Bear, a villainous stuffed animal who oversees operations at a local daycare center — an entire sequence that is straight out of Cool Hand Luke, complete with characters having to spend ‘a night in the box’ if they don’t do as Lotso says. Michael Keaton is also memorable as Ken, the vain and overly-accessorized companion to Barbie. Minor gripes aside, Toy Story 3 is a powerful ending to a fantastic film trilogy.
Academy Awards: Best Animated Feature Film, Best Song (“We Belong Together”)
Nominations: Best Picture, Sound Editing, Screenplay