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TOY STORY 3 is a hilarious, emotional rollercoaster for all ages

Rating:  (Awesome)

Usually, when I review a movie, I take notes, but last night I didn't even think about it. Toy Story 3 was the most fun I've had at the movies in a long time. A friend of mine used the word 'rollercoaster' to describe it and I'd agree. Woody and Buzz Lightyear's new adventure has more action and comedy than any Pixar film yet, but in the end, Pixar never loses sight of what makes Toy Story so lovable: its characters. 

The Story

The setup is simple: Andy (still voiced by John Morris) isn't six anymore and it's been years since Woody (Tom Hanks) and the gang had some decent playtime. In their latest maneuver for attention, we see the gang steal Andy's cell phone so he has to sift through the toy chest to find it. The plan backfires, and Andy shuts the chest, more dismissive than ever. You can't blame him; I mean, he's 17 and preparing to go to college. He can't be seen playing with kids stuff. As he cleans his room (Mom's orders), he tries to figure out what to do with what's left of his old toys. Not all of them have made it this far.

Mom tells him to donate the toys to Sunnyside daycare, but Andy doesn't like that idea. Instead, he puts them in a trash bag destined for the attic, except for Woody, who makes it to the college box. Panic ensues as the "trash"  is taken to the curb. Tired and rejected, the toys head for Sunnyside.

Sunnyside feels like paradise, but we learn that the big purple bear who smells like strawberries, Lotso Hugs (Ned Beatty), ain't so nice after all. Paradise becomes prison and it's up to Woody to save the gang. I think I've said too much. Or maybe I haven't said enough.

The Fun Factor

The bottom line is that I couldn't spoil this movie if I tried. It's too much fun. Even if you've somehow read the whole script and know all the plot twists, I recommend you see Toy Story 3. While watching, I realized that when dealing with situations that might read cliche on paper--like a daring escape from a secure prison--Pixar holds it together, surpassing expectations. Dir. Lee Unkrich and his team somehow take the ordinary make it extraordinary.

While I adore the story, and teared up at the end, it's the small moments that help these films stand the test of time. I find myself entertained by the details in Toy Story 3. Case in point, I could watch Woody run around for twenty minutes, his legs flailing about like an excited Kermit the Frog. The animation is hilarious in its accuracy. Woody isn't trying to make us laugh. This is just how he has to run because, well, he's a one and a half foot tall stuffed cowboy. The same goes for the little girl Woody plays with: Bonnie. She's a good girl, but she's shy. When strangers get too close, she'll hide, oftnen behind her mother's leg, but when she's alone with her toys, her imagination runs wild. Her toy, Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), a classically trained actor who takes every playtime seriously, is fantastic as well. 

Ending a Great Trilogy 

How in hell did Pixar pull this off? The original Toy Story (1995) defined the era of computer animated films we're in. There isn't a computer animated movie out there that doesn't borrow from its success. Toy Story 3 takes this dominance one step further. Here, Pixar shows us how to wrap up one of the best trilogies around.

I don't usually recommend seeing these films in 3D, but I saw this one in IMAX 3D and walked away impressed. See it on a big screen!

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