Is there anything those Pixar people can't do?
Usually by the third installment of a franchise, things have gotten a bit stale. This is so not the case with Toy Story 3. The toys, despite being old, seem so fresh that the screen almost emits that new plastic smell.
Despite living in cartoon land, little boy Andy is all grown up. The college-bound fella has little time to play and little need for a box of old toys -- well, except Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks). When the other toys get mistaken for trash, they bust out and stow away in a daycare donation box. Big mistake.
What's not a mistake is Pixar's decision to put this film out in 3D. At first glance, I had to wonder why the company would mess with a proven franchise. However, the 3D is done beautifully, providing just enough depth to bring your favorite toys to life even more.
From the first minute of the movie, you realize that the 3D is going to be good. Andy's home videos reveal a little train adventure and a very evil Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles). The front engine of that runaway train pops just enough so you feel like you can reach it. Other great effects include a dynamic rainstorm and popping subtitles (for Buzz Lightyear's Spanish mode), as well as texture on Rex the Dinosaur and the fur and dirt on new character/nemesis Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear (Ned Beatty).
Basically, 3D or not, the Toy Story franchise continues to dazzle. All of the voices are back, including Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, and John Ratzenberger. There are plenty of new famous voices that you will be trying to point out -- most notably Michael Keaton as Ken and Timothy Dalton, as the awesomely named Mr. Pricklepants.
The end will have you blubbering like a baby, wanting another film, and yes, wanting even more 3D. Pixar has definitely left an opening for another Toy Story -- and why wouldn't they with such great storytelling abilities, as well as a record-breaking ($110 million!) opening weekend?
Editor's Note: Make sure to get to the theater early for another 3D treat: The 6-minute Pixar short, Day & Night. Check out a few minutes of the making of in the video below.