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Directed by Lee Unkrich
Toy Story 3
Let me start with “Toy Story 2,” (1999) which in my view is a classic because it asks the existential question: Should Woody live forever, behind glass, in a museum of toys? Or should he choose to be rescued by his gang of toys and live only a while with his friend Andy, who will discard him as he grows up? Which will he do?
“Toy Story 3,” unfortunately, does not have anything like the existential questions of the last film, and is little more than a series of toy-threatening adventures and narrow escapes – in fact it is so scary and so brutal that I’m surprised it got a G rating. Andy has now grown up and is going off to college. He puts his toys in a bag destined for the attic of his house, but by a mixup they are donated to a day-care center instead. All of which would be fine except that when the children are not there, the place is run by a proto-fascist bear named LotsoHugs, who imprisons Woody, Buzz and the others each night.
The rest of the story of “Toy Story 3” is about how Andy’s toys manage to get away from Lotso and his gang, survive a near-death experience in a land-fill, and get home to be safely sequestered in the attic, waiting for Andy’s children. Is this funny? Give me a break. There are a few funny moments, and if you don’t mind I’ll tell you what they are. Mrs. Potato Head has lost an eye, but it can still see things like danger, no matter how far away. New toys Barbie and Ken, missing from the earlier films, are very much here and in a nice switch we watch Ken trying on and modeling dozens of outfits. Then Mr. Potato Head is transformed from a potato and becomes Mr. Tortilla Head. Unfortunately in an hour and a half that is about all I can remember being wittily conceive in a way that surprised and amused me.
“Toy Story 3” is another John Lasseter film, the voices are once again fine – Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprise their work as the voices of Woody and Buzz, and the film is preceded by an animated short, also by Pixar, called “Night and Day,” which strives for some kind of universal meaning, i.e., what each one is good for, as in swimming pools (day) versus Las Vegas (night.) If you didn’t get it early on, I can’t help you.