Andy is going off to college — my, how time flies — which signals the end of the run for his childhood toys, right?
The twin heroes in his toy constellation, the earnest cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks) and the galactic defender Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), are the two heads of the luckiest coin any boy could ever hope to own. But, most importantly, the two figurines remain the model of human morality and potential that parents hope to teach and instill in their children, which makes Woody and Buzz and their various plastic cohorts the perfect expression of the notion of the personification of animals and inanimate objects in cartoons. Children infuse their toys with the best and worst qualities of humanity in order to retell the myths of childhood, so why wouldn’t that creative soul take root and continue even after the child ceases to pay attention and believe?
Andy’s toys live, and as this adventure begins they come face to face with the inevitability of the thing that, for them, might be worse than death: obsolescence.
They fight amongst themselves and against a variety of forces and situations arrayed in opposition to them, but through it all they do so with the courage, generosity and humanity that every parent would be proud to see in their own children.
Toy Story 3 shows that the Pixar team unfailingly sticks to a winning formula that runs completely counter to our accepted sense of what such formulas mean. These stories are not about product placement and franchise continuation. These are narratives with fully developed characters placed in situations that are emotionally familiar and relevant. Now that’s a formula worth repeating again and again. Grade: A