The tale of Woody and his pals heads in a new direction in this final installment of the Pixar original film and it is a good way to end it. The basic nature of the original and the sequel stays intact: Woody and Buzz and the rest of the group (including Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, who are a hoot!) have but one goal in their lives…and that is to be the playthings of Andy, the little boy who looks as plastic as the rest of the toys in this movie. Only this time, Andy has grown up and is moving on to college. Will any of the toys make the transition with him? Or will they be placed in the attic? Or will they be bagged and dumped like so many pieces of toys past at the curbside, headed for that great big junkpile in the sky?
It’s on with new adventures with the rowdy gang as one mishap after another lands them in a playschool, which is run by a Lots O’ Huggs Bear and Ken…of Ken & Barbie fame. What seems like a natural transition for toys (kid grows up, toys go to nursery, toys remain happy and true to their being) soon becomes a nightmare and the gang must escape and get back to Andy before he moves away! And as the comedy unfolds, there is, of course, a message about loyalty and friendship that gets thrown in there for good measure.
I really enjoyed this film. There is something about Woody & Buzz that will forever remind me of MY kids growing up (considering the first 2 Toy Stories were in theatres before my son was born and he’s been watching them on DVD since he was 2) and my childhood (I still have my original Pooh packed away somewhere). And so seeing this adventure is kind of like returning to meet old friends who I haven’t seen in a while. The plot has changed, but the heart of the film remains the same, and that’s what is important.
Let’s face it…no one makes movies like Pixar does. And for this series to be as action-packed and as sentimental as the other two is a testiment to their ability to satisfy all ages of their audience. I found myself laughing along with my 2 kids as Buzz does the flamenco, gripping my seat when they end up in perilous situations and shedding a tear (but only one) when Andy shares a moment with his mother before he heads off to college. Its all a big bundle of hugs from Pixar to us, the audience, who have grown up with this trilogy and it all seems to be wrapped up with a nice big bow.
To sum it up…if you have kids, this is a MUST SEE for this summer season. Even if they are in their teens, this will take you back to the days when your kids were young and free of worry and drama. And for a couple of hours you can forget that they are grown and want nothing to do with you. For those 2 hours, they are your babies again…and you can remember the past and smile. And maybe even shed a tear or two.
If you have kids: A
If you DON’T have kids: B