I have to admit I had my doubts about this movie. The first Toy Story is arguably the greatest animated children’s film of all time, and the second didn’t fall far short of that. They had already hit most of the poignant milestones, and Hollywood knows the Toy Story franchise is a mint. Why put any effort into a sequel that’s going to make a billion dollars at the box office regardless of the quality? Well, I have to say, there are still artists left in the movie industry, and one studio that still employs them is Pixar. Like all artists, some work is better than others, and Toy Story 3 is a masterpiece.
In this third installment, Andy (John Morris) is all grown up and leaving for college. His beloved Woody (Tom Hanks) is the only toy he has chosen to take with him. The rest of the bunch, including Buzz (Tim Allen), Ham (John Ratzenberger), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Rex (Wallace Shawn) and Mr. and Mrs, Potato Head (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), through a series of mishaps, find themselves donated to a day care center. At first the toys are thrilled with the thought of constant attention from children. And a benevolent veteran bear, Lotso (Ned Beatty), convinces them that life there is ideal. They soon learn the real situation and that Lotso isn’t as kind as they thought. It’s up to Woody to free the gang and reunite the family.
There are so many things this movie does right. First of all, I love that John Morris has been the voice of Andy for all three movies and as his voice has aged so has Andy’s. The plot is as touching as it is compelling and the acting, as you would expect, is fantastic. The new toys, especially Barbie (Jodi Benson) and Ken (Michael Keaton), are a funny, refreshing addition. And when the quality of the animation is fifth on your list of things you liked about a Disney/Pixar movie, you know it’s a 9.