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  • Third Toy Story Flick is Three Times the Fun

Third Toy Story Flick is Three Times the Fun

Third Toy Story Flick is Three Times the Fun

Toy Story 3 delivers the laughs, tears and surprises that will have people of all ages rooting for the manufactured protagonists.  The movie begins with an elaborate chase scene, bringing back all of the old favorites including Woody, Buzz, Jessie, The Potato Heads, Slinky, Rex and Ham.  Viewers are barraged with death beams, explosions, giant dinosaurs, pig-shaped space ships, and a war-sized barrel of feral monkeys, only to learn that all of this is taking place inside Andy’s head.  Andy is the maestro of his own imagination. His love for his toys creates the premise for two subtle themes in the story.  It is easy to get lost in the all the action and more lighthearted scenes, but underneath these are two valuable lessons:  they are the power of a child’s imagination, and the importance of nurturing creative energy.

Cut to the next scene and fast-forward through time.  Andy is all grown up and moving off to college.  His old childhood buddies are getting a little desperate for attention, even staging a phone call using an old cell phone to lure Andy over to the toy chest.  With his mom nagging him to clean his room and decide what goes in the attic, what is trash, and what gets donated to Sunnyside Daycare (where most of the story occurs), it is clear from the expression on Andy’s face that he still cares about his toys.  But, like most teenagers, he has made the leap from childhood to the new frontier of adulthood, leaving some old friends behind in the process.  He breaks out the cardboard boxes and trash bags, much to the chagrin of those listening and watching from a much lower camera angle.

After a series of mishaps, Woody, Buzz and company wind up at Sunnyside Daycare Center, which is the proverbial toy heaven.  Toys are played with every day.  A never-ending supply of children awaits them.  We meet some new characters, including the leader of Sunnyside, Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear, and his cohort, Ken, who quickly falls for Barbie in a sparkling, cheesy way that only a 6-year-old girl (or nostalgia-ridden screenwriters) could have imagined.  The other toys are instantly taken with the place, but Woody, ever the loyal cowboy, is determined to make them see that they belong with Andy, where they will always have a home and a future—and that could mean risking all of their lives, as things at Sunnyside aren’t what they seem on the surface.

It would appear that Disney and Pixar have another box office hit to add to their archives.  The animation is stunning, the plot engaging, and the characters, animated and manufactured, are as human as any of us.  The movie emphasizes the importance of imagination, and perhaps more significantly, the importance of giving.  In a world where much of yesterday is thrown away, including our once-beloved childhood possessions, Toy Story 3 asks us to reconsider what we think of as trash, and what we can hand off to tomorrow’s generation.

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