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So A Third Film In A Series Can Be Good?

Andy is going off to college and is given the option of putting his toys in the attic or throwing them out. Through a series of unfortunate events, the toys actually end up being donated to Sunnyside Daycare. Which at first, seems like a wonderful place to be, but the truth about the place is soon discovered by the toys and they try to escape.

In 1995 when Toy Story first hit the screens, I was around 7 or 8 years old. I am in disbelief at how young I was, 1995 doesn't seem that long ago, but it's been 15 years. I was still in elementary school when the second one came out too. I was young and was able to connect to both of the films, I saw a little of myself in Andy. I grew up playing with plastic army men, dinosaurs and cowboys. There is a special bond between a boy and his toys and Toy Story got it perfect. The original Toy Story introduced us to a few things. One was Pixar, a studio that would go on to create dozens of films that are entertaining and brilliant. Another was the first fully computer animated feature film. It changed the way animated films were made. Finally it gave us two of the most recognizable animated characters of all time, Woody and Buzz.

Flashforward 11 years after Toy Story 2. I have recently graduated college and don't play with my toys anymore. Andy is heading off to college and he doesn't play with his toys anymore. The big question I had was, can a third entry to a series that is more than a decade old, still hold true to the original and will I still be able to connect to it? The answer is yes, on both accounts. Toy Story 3 is magical, entertaining and heartfelt. It reminded me of my childhood and my toys, the biggest thing this film has going for it is nostalgia. I found it funny that more than half the people in the audience were not alive when the first film came out.

The constant fear of being discarded is present here, as it is in all three of the films. With this entry it is the forefront issue. The themes of loss, friendship and courage are all present in this third installment. Usually the third film in a franchise falls short of what the first two are, but this is not the case. Toy Story 3 is just as good as the first two. My minor complaint is that there is that one thing that is missing. It might be the 11 year gap between the films, but there is that little special thing that made me love the first two films that this one doesn't seem to have. Buzz seems a little underused as do the other toys, but this is a small issue that doesn't ruin a great film.

There are 3 scenes in the film that made me almost cry. Hey, I said ALMOST. The first one is pretty early on, when Woody calls for a meeting, something we are accustomed to in the previous installments. But this time we don't see dozens of toys coming out from under the bed, behind closets or out of bins. It's just these guys. All the other toys that we see in the background are gone. Even though they were never the main characters, or given a lot of screen time, there was something about each one that we seemed to love. This people were a family and that family is broken. Wheezy, Bo Peep, Etch, RC, Lenny the Binoculars, Mike the tape recorder, Rocky Gibraltar the gladiator. Dozens of lovable background characters that made us love that room so much more.

The other two scenes are near the end, one in which the toys join hands in fear of their ultimate doom. It's their realization of the end and their bonding together that got to me. The other is the final send off from Andy. The film builds on the previous adventures these characters had to tug on the heart strings. It never reaches the emotional depths of Up, but these are two totally different films. The way they chose to end the series, in my opinion was perfect and sad.

There are hundreds of new characters, all introduced at the Daycare. At first you would seem to think that you will be overwhelmed with all the additional characters, but it is never an issue. The two most prominent new characters are Lotso Hugs and Ken, who is voiced by Batman himself. Some of the more interesting new characters are never given a chance to shine, they belong to Bonnie in her room, mainly my new favourite Mr. Pricklepants.

The film mixes adventure, comedy and drama all perfectly. It's not as funny as the first two, but it is more adventurous. The animation doesn't call for anything fancy, these are toys after all, yet Pixar finds a way to still dazzle the eye. The climax of the film has a lot going on and it is edge of your seat entertainment.

To end this review, I'll simply say the last thing Andy said before leaving the toys..."Thanks Guys"