The Best “Toy Story”, hands down.
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The gang returns with the classic favorites, Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), the Potato Heads, Jessie, Bullseye, Rex, Hamm, and we meet a few new toys as well. We FINALLY get to see Barbie and Ken (sorry, but Little Bo Peep, while Woodyâ€™s romantic interest, just didnâ€™t cut it for me!), and a few other classics, like the chatter telephone on a string and an over sized baby doll named Big Baby, who was a little more than creepyâ€¦more on that later.
Its been 15 years since the first Toy Story adventure and Andy has grown up and is heading off to college. As he packs his room up, he needs to decide what to do with all of his toys, which he has not played with in years. His mom gives him several boxes, some to be taken to college, others for the attic, and a trash bag. She also suggests that his younger sister should start cleaning up her room, but her toys are destined for Sunnyside, the local day care center.
Andy selects Woody as the only toy to accompany him to college and puts all of the others in a bag to be stored in the attic.The bag of toys is mistakenly taken out to the trash and after being rescued by Woody, the toys decide that it would be better to go to the day care center where theyâ€™ll be played with by other children instead of collecting dust in the attic. Woody inadvertently ends up in the box with them and they all find themselves being donated to Sunnyside.
Sunnyside appears to be a toyâ€™s paradise for the gang. They are greeted by the day careâ€™s leader, Lots-o-Hugginâ€™ Bear (voice of Ned Beatty), an over sized purple bear who smells like strawberries.Â (I was reminded of my Strawberry Shortcake doll who also smelled of strawberries – of course I couldn’t smell Lots-o-Huggin).Â But there is more to the fragrant bear than first impressions would have you believe, he is a tyrant, dictator of the center who has created a pyramid of control over Sunnyside.
The toys prepare for a great escape with Woody leading the caper. The purple bear finds out about the plot and sentences the toys to the â€śCatepillarâ€ť roomÂ – with children too young to appreciate the gangâ€™s playing ability. Jessie is used as a paintbrush, Rex is pulled apart, and the toys are tossed about like sand in the sandbox. Buzz requests a transfer to the â€śButterflyâ€ť room with Lots-O and the other, more tenured toys, only to find out that the gang must â€śpay their dues.â€ťÂ Lots-O allows Buzz into the fold, but there is a terrible price to pay, and even Barbie is kicked out of Kenâ€™s Dream House.
Meanwhile, on the way to Andyâ€™s house to arrange for the escape, Woody is swooped up by a little girl who brings him home with her.Â She has toys of her own, Trixie, a vivacious triceratops, Buttercup, a friendly unicorn, and Mr. Pricklepants, a thespian hedgehog (voice of Timothy Dalton). But when Woodyâ€™s new friends find out that Woody escaped from Sunnyside, they are shockedâ€¦no one escapes from Sunnyside! Woody realizes his friends are in trouble and sneaks in the little girlâ€™s backpack to get back to Sunnyside. Plans for the great escape get underway and the gang pulls together to outsmart Lots-O and his gang of toy thugs.
The comedy in this movie is inventive and balances out the mischievous action. Buzz expands his role as a Latin lover, speaking Spanish and dancing around while trying to woo Barbie, and the ascot sporting Ken (voiced by Michael Keaton) stole the show with his â€śKen Dream Houseâ€ť and large collection of authentic vintage clothing. (As the daughter of an avid Barbie collector, I actually remembered some of the outfits that are worth a pretty penny in the collectorâ€™s arena, and it was fun to see some of the real life outfits on Ken in the fashion show scene!)
However there is a darker side to the film, as expected. Instead of Zorg, or an evil Toy Collector, there is Lots-O. We learn that the once friendly and cuddly bear turned sour after being forgotten, along with Big Baby and a clown, at a picnic by his former owner. Hungry for power and control of Sunnyside, he has created a prison for all of the toys inside, complete with a high tech security system, guards, and an all seeing monkey who monitors the security cameras. All of which create the challenges to the great escape for our gang of toys.
And then there is Big Baby. Big Baby is an over sized damaged infant doll with a droopy eye who is the muscle of the gang. While the film did a decent job of trying to keep this toy as a fairly Disney-friendly villainâ€¦it border-lined something youâ€™d see in Chucky or some kind of horror film. Even the clown wasnâ€™t as scary looking as Big Baby.
The 3D film surpassed its 2D counterparts and I would highly recommend it to the kid inside of everyone. Directed by Lee Unkrich (co-director of â€śToy Story 2â€ť and â€śFinding Nemoâ€ť), produced by Pixar, and written by Academy-Award winning screenwriter Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3 is hysterical adventure the whole family will enjoy (preferably in 3D).
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