Toy Story 3

Look, long story short - if you liked Toy Story 1 and 2, you owe it to yourself to see Toy Story 3. It did not disappoint. But there's more to it... this movie really shaped how I view the entire trilogy. Maybe it's because I'm old enough now to evaluate things this way. Or maybe it's because it wasn't until this storyline that everything COULD click the way it did. To be honest, it's probably a bit of both.

If you're just curious about if I enjoyed my last couple of hours in the theater, the answer is a definite yes. Find a time to go, and enjoy yet another good Pixar film.

But if you want to know more about WHY this movie was so good, then read ahead. (Note: I'm not going to talk about any key details of the movie, and I don't think there are really any spoilers in here, but if you want to see the movie with a totally clean slate, then maybe come back and read this after you've seen it.)

The first Toy Story was released in November of 1995 - I was only seven years old at the time. I remember being totally taken in by the idea that toys were having their own adventures when I wasn't there, and I'm sure that while I was watching it in theaters, a part of my mind wondered what all my LEGO figurines were up to back home (maybe starting a band?). It was a movie with heart, and the characters were so human, despite being toys.

Fast-forward 4 years, and I'm in the theater to see Toy Story 2. I'm 11 years old, but by this point, I've come to learn that when good animated movies get sequels, they usually aren't as good. So I was excited to get caught up with the toys again, but also apprehensive. But Toy Story 2 was every bit as good as the first. It was goofy, didn't take itself too seriously, yet still managed to pull at the heartstrings. It really built on the theme of friendship that the first one established - both a friendship between the toys (and one that grows to include the new toys, at that), and the bond between Andy and his toys. Maybe not a friendship in a traditional sense, but there was a mutual need between both parties for one another.

And now, TEN years later, Pixar comes out with Toy Story 3. At this point, Pixar has a track record - they make GOOD movies. And being SO far removed from the first 2, you know it isn't Pixar trying to milk a franchise while it's hot. No, this is Pixar going to back to their toys, to their beginning (Toy Story was their first movie, after all), and giving it one last hurrah before retiring it.

I'm not entirely sure if younger kids will fully appreciate the movie. Part of what makes it so good is that it HAS been 10 years - we, as viewers, have grown up, we have new toys to play with, and we'd kind of forgotten about Toy Story. We, as viewers (those who grew up with this series, at least), parallel the character of Andy. And it's fitting that he plays a slightly more prominent role in this film. Still not major, but one of the most powerful scenes in the entire movie centers on him, and his relationship with the toys.

This was a movie about growing up, and moving on. About dealing with the loss of (or at least, separation from) old friends. And it was handled very well. As somebody who just graduated from college, and is facing the need to grow up and move on some more, the movie really hit home. It isn't a movie about toys - it's a movie about friends, and about life coming full circle.

Toy Story 3 elevates the entire series from a goofy little story about toys and friendship to a heartfelt look at friendship and growing up. It takes the two very good movies before it, and makes all three of them (when taken as a whole) into a powerful, very grown-up story, while still staying true to the signature goofiness.

The Toy Story trilogy, I think, needs to be considered as one of the top movie trilogies of all time - THAT'S how good this movie was.

So go see it. Embrace your childhood as you enter the theater, but be ready to grow up over the course of the 103 minute runtime. That's what Toy Story did; it grew up in this movie. And it takes you along for the ride.


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