Can you believe that it's been 15 years since Toy Story came out?! That's an insane amount of time to pass in between segments of a trilogy. However the company that brought us the first computer animated feature film in 1995, has finally gotten around to rounding out the story in the way that only Pixar can. Toy Story 3 picks up in real time from when we last saw toys, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack) and the rest of the toys. But time has passed by and now it's time for their boy Andy, who's now 17, go off to college. Alone, that premise chokes up adults while making them laugh when we see the family dog Buster, who was a puppy at the end of Toy Story, has become a slow, grey senior dog. That simple story of the passage of time turns into one of the most creative "Prison Break" films I've ever seen It's also the best film of 2010 so far and the MOST satisfying ending to a trilogy I've ever seen in my life. Pixar doesn't make films, in my opinion; they make pure art. There are other children's movies that are fun and funny but nothing can even come close to a Pixar film. This is their 11th movie and all but one (Cars) have a 90% or higher on RottenTomatoes.com and they keep getting better and better. They do things that no other children's films can and that's touch the soul in all of us no matter what age we are. Seeing adults and children crying together at a Pixar movie is common place, but that's fine for two reasons; one, you do much more laughing and two, it's okay to have kids feel for characters on a deeply emotional level...in fact it might even be good for them since they seem to do it so seldom anymore. Toy Story 3 introduces us to the voice work of Ned Beatty (Deliverance) as Lots'O'Huggin' and Michael Keaton (Batman, Beetlejuice) as Ken among many other new characters. Not all of them are good though and they put our group of friends in very dangerous situations. It's because of that that we see some very adult themes shine through that kids won't pick up on. We see an ending that consists of so many epic moments that the 3D glasses come in handy for hiding your tears as well as adding spectacular depth to the film. There is a moment that deals with excepting your fate and saving your dignity that is wrapped in such symbolism that even most adults won't pick up on the masterful storytelling that went into it. These initial endings will lead to what is ultimately a bigger theme that pulls the whole trilogy together, it hammers the feelings we all have inside, regardless of our age at the moment, for the importance of friendship and letting go of the past. Don't get me wrong though, the film isn't all serious and full of heavy thematic elements. There are countless scenes that had me laughing harder than any Rated-R film in the past year and excited my nerves with thrilling action that lacked in almost all live-action thrillers recently too. What I'm trying to say is that Toy Story 3 has miraculously raised the already sky-high bar again by making not only a perfect ending to a trilogy I'm sad to see end but by making an overall perfect film. Bravo, Pixar! I can't wait to see what you do next.
Toy Story 3 (Rated PG)
Gavin Grade: A+