The toys of summer

By Tracy Lum


Though it’s been over 10 years since the last “Toy Story,” the third film in the series is no less stunning, complex and inviting. With a new adventure, new friends and tons of emotional turmoil, “Toy Story 3” transports audiences back to the days when they themselves packed up their childhood and headed to college.

With Andy grown and headed to college, the toys have been locked in a dark chest for a very long time. Loyal to their owner, they carefully arrange themselves around his room, hoping Andy will one day pick them up and play again.

As Andy packs, he’s torn between childhood and college, between his toys and a sophisticated college lifestyle. Though he decides to take Woody (Tom Hanks) with him to university, and stows the rest of the toys in the attic, some misunderstandings land the toys in a garbage truck.

Fed up with Andy, the toys journey to a day care center to finally be used again. Upon entry, the center seems like paradise with pleasant, well-behaved children and an array of new toys, including Lotso the Bear (Ned Beatty) and Barbie’s partner Ken (Michael Keaton). But soon the terrors of the day care are revealed as toddlers abuse Buzz, Jessie, Mr. Potato Head and the rest. Adventure ensues as the toys try their best to survive and stay together.

Pixar’s animation, as usual, is exceptional, rendering the toys so life-like it’s easy to forget they aretoys. The plot and story plod along at an even but rapid pace. Writers John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich incorporate subtle witticisms into a child-friendly and original script, weaving a more complex story even adults can appreciate. Motivational twists, love affairs and commentaries on childhood really tug at the heartstrings.

Woody’s story overshadows that of the remaining cast. Since Woody was Andy’s favorite andserved as pack leader since the very beginning, the choice seems logical. Though Woodychooses a path that seems to take him away from his friends, he also encounters his fair share of obstacles and new friends like Mr. Pricklepants and Trixie.

The only truly regrettable aspect of “Toy Story 3” is not having enough time to really get to know the new toys. With such a dense and intricateplot, it’s difficult to really develop the new characters.

As current college students were the generation who reaped the outset of the “Toy Story” phenomenon, “Toy Story 3” recalls the nostalgia associated with leaving for college we can all relate to. The film also touches on the essential fight of good versus evil and on the concepts of greater good and purpose. The film is deep, entertaining and even moving–definitely not just for kids.

Toy Story 3

Directed by Lee Unkrich

Release date: June 18, 2010

5 out of 5 stars

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