The toys are back! From Barbie to Buzz and Andy to Mr. Potato Head, the third installment of Toy Story reunites its posse of plastic for an action-packed ride about loyalty, love, and growing up.
This time around the toys’ owner, Andy (voiced by John Morris), is getting ready to go to college — and plans to leave his old toys behind. Everyone from dinosaur Rex (voiced by Wallace Shawn) to cowgirl Jessie (voiced by Joan Cusack) is dealing with abandonment issues as they’re donated to a local day care. They can only hope that a fresh crop of kids might pluck them from the toy bin.
Instead, nothing at their new home is as it seemed: The rainbows belie a dark regime run by a toy that smells of strawberries and rules with an iron paw. Faced with such fascism, our posse mounts a mission to escape, only to encounter hazard (trash bin!) after hazard (evil toy baby!) on their long road home.
Complete with hilarious one-liners, wink-wink jokes and even some romance (introducing super-groovy Ken. Ohh la la!), Toy Story 3 is the summer’s most satisfying watch so far. Brimming with energy and good-natured characters, the film is further fleshed out with surprisingly poignant moments (bring tissues). Still, in this animated world, with its air-tight writing and warm and fuzzy end, leaving childhood behind means painful choices — followed by a sunny, new beginning.