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Toy Story 3 (G)
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Caution: spoilers.

This came out in 2010, fifteen years after the original Toy Story (and eleven years after Toy Story 2). I didn't see it until 2013, on DVD, but I remember reading lots of positive things about it when it was first released. Reviews made it sound like it was the best movie of the whole series, so my expectations were high. (But, given that it's a Pixar film, my expectations would have been high, anyway.) When I finally watched the movie, I liked it, but probably not quite as much as critics did. I mean, I loved it, but just barely. It's hard for me to say if I liked it more than the first movie... maybe I did, just a little, but not enough for me to rate it any higher than I rated that one. Of course the animation is great, the acting is great, the story is great, it's all very clever, and funny, and dramatic, and melancholy. And I get what the critics saw in it. If you read any of their reviews, I doubt I would disagree with anything they say. It's not like I didn't find it moving, because I did. I just don't think I found it as deeply moving as they did. (A lot of people said they cried at the end. I get that, but... I'm a guy who it isn't hard for movies to move to tears of either joy or sorrow, but this one didn't do that. Almost, but not quite. I'm sure I cry at plenty of movies that people who cried at this one wouldn't, so... it balances out. I'm not sure what that says about me or about this movie, though.) But hey, I do love it, and I think by my rating system, even "quite liked" would actually indicate stronger feelings on my part than what most people mean when they say they "love" a movie. So whatever.

Anyway, it begins with a pretty cool scene of all of Andy's toys involved in a very cinematic battle of good versus evil, spanning at least a couple of genres (Western and sci-fi), as each side continually one-ups the other. But of course that was all in Andy's imagination, as we eventually see. We also see that his mom was recording him playing with his toys, when he was still a kid. But this movie is actually set several years later, when Andy is 17, and about to move out to attend college. (His sister Molly, a baby in the first movie, is now about 10.) Molly is apparently going to be given Andy's room, when he's gone, so their mom keeps nagging the reluctant Andy to determine which of his things he wants to take to college, which to put in the attic, and which to donate or throw out. Of course, the main focus of this question is his toys, which he hasn't played with in years. His mom suggests selling them on ebay, but he says they're junk and no one would want them. (This seems to contradict the second movie, at least in regards to Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye, though I don't suppose Andy ever knew they were actually valuable. Which makes me wonder how different the movie might have been if he'd bothered to actually check the internet.)

Finally, Andy decides to take Woody to college, and puts all his other toys in a trash bag, which he's going to put in the attic. But before he can, he gets distracted, and his mom finds the trash bag, and puts it out on the curb with the rest of the trash. Woody sees all this, and tries to rescue his friends, but they manage to save themselves. However, the other toys thought it was Andy's idea to throw them out, and don't believe Woody when he explains what really happened. (That seems to happen a lot, in these movies.) So, the toys climb into the box that's being donated to Sunnyside Day Care. Woody goes with them, still trying to convince them they need to go back to Andy's house. Incidentally, I should mention that a few of the toys from earlier movies had already left the group prior to this movie, for one reason or another... including Woody's love interest, Bo Peep. But the core group of Woody, Buzz, Slinky Dog, the Potato Heads, Rex, and Hamm, as well as secondary characters like the bucket o' soldiers and the aliens, were still among Andy's toys. Plus Jessie and Bullseye, who joined the group in the second movie. Molly was donating a number of her own toys to Sunnyside, though the only one of any importance is Barbie.

When the toys get to Sunnyside, they're welcomed enthusiastically by all the toys that were already there, who are led by a plush bear named Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear. Another important toy is Ken; he and Barbie quickly fall in love, as if they were "made for each other." (Kind of a funny line, that; but the idea behind it plays into a more romantic line, later in the movie.) There's also a toy called Big Baby, and several less important followers of Lots-O'-Huggin'. Anyway, Andy's (former) toys are all very excited to be at Sunnyside, where they'll never have to worry about being abandoned by their kids, because when one group of kids grows up and leaves, a new group will replace them. Woody, however, leaves, planning to return to Andy's house alone. He's very upset everyone else chose to stay at Sunnyside. However, the newly-arrived toys get assigned to the room with the youngest kids, who treat them very roughly, since they haven't learned yet how to play properly with toys. So, Buzz decides to ask Lots-O'-Huggin' if they can be reassigned to a room with older kids, who play nice. It's at this point that we learn the seemingly friendly bear is actually an evil gang leader (or prison warden, or whatever).

Meanwhile, before Woody can get home, he's found by a little girl named Bonnie, who takes him home to play with her other toys. They include a clown doll named Chuckles, a plush hedgehog named Mr. Pricklepants (voiced by Timothy Dalton), a plastic triceratops named Trixie (Kristen Schaal), a plush unicorn named Buttercup (Jeff Garlin), a rag doll named Dolly (Bonnie Hunt), and maybe some others. (At the very end of the movie, we see that Bonnie also has a plush Totoro doll, which I thought was cool, even though it never speaks, or anything.) Anyway, Woody has fun playing with Bonnie and her toys, but he still wants to return to Andy's house. But then Chuckles tells him a tragic story about the past he shared with Lots-O'-Huggin' and Big Baby, and how it changed Lots-O'-Huggin' into a cruel toy who runs Sunnyside like a prison. So of course Woody decides he must go back there to rescue his friends.

I don't really want to give away any specifics about the daring and harrowing escape plan enacted by the toys, but it was cool, and scary, and I wasn't entirely sure they'd make it. I don't want to spoil what exactly their ultimate fate turns out to be, but the ending is somewhat bittersweet. I'd say mostly very sweet, but... also definitely poignant. The one thing I do want to mention is that, throughout the movie, it's clear that Buzz has romantic feelings for Jessie, and that pays off in some amusing ways. The evolution of their relationship is one of my favorite parts of the film, though... most of the time that's evidenced by very subtle lines, where it seems such a minor plot point that it would almost be an exaggeration to call it an actual subplot. There is one part where it's much more blatant, and that's the part that's the most broadly comical aspect of the movie (I don't want to spoil the exact nature of the gag). I kind of have mixed feelings about that part, though; it's the subtle hints of their feelings that I liked more. But the important thing is that, whichever part of the subplot you like most, it does become an important subplot. I guess.

Anyway, I guess that's all there is to say. I've left some things out, and in spite of giving away a lot of things, I don't really feel like I've truly spoiled anything about the main plot. The movie has a beautiful ending, which serves as a great end to the trilogy, as well. I also should mention there was a Pixar short, Day & Night, which is included on the DVD. It's not related to this movie, though.


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