Toy Story 3

The first—and arguably greatest—cartoon franchise has made one brave call: it’s aged with its fans. Audiences who were kids when Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) first burst out of the box are now off to college, and so too is boy Andy (John Morris). Buzz and Woody (Tom Hanks) have been replaced by the most popular adult toy: a cell phone. Every Toy Story film is about abandonment. In each, the tie between human and toy man loosens; here, it’s undone altogether when mom (Laurie Metcalf) plunks down a cardboard box and tells her son that now is the time to leave behind childish things. And he throws in cowgirl Jessie (Joan Cusack), Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), Rex (Wallace Shaun) and Hamm (John Ratzenberger) callously—the way John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton have continually shown kids treat their toys. Five-year-olds don’t stand for sentiment, not when they have a bottle of glue and some glitter handy. Boys and toys are in an emotionally abusive relationship—now, when the gang is unceremoniously dumped at a daycare, Woody’s insistence on rallying everyone back to their bedroom makes him the toy box Tina Turner, and the flick is smart enough to know it. With only each other to count on, Toy Story 3 makes the most of its ensemble, even giving Barbie a handful of actual jokes and her own story arc after she’s seduced by Ken and his dream mansion. What happens next is best kept a surprise, but make haste for a smart, sweet comedy that treats everyone—heroes, villains and its audience—with empathy and respect, rare qualities both in condescending kiddie cartoons and on the playground.

Click here for Toy Story 3 in the IE Weekly

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