Now that reviews are trickling in, I can finally talk about this. First, let me state the obvious: go see Toy Story 3. You have no reason not to unless of course you are incapable of having fun and be entertained. I think it is safe to say that Pixar is the only studio in town that has never made a bad film (yes, even Cars). I don’t know if its the drinking water or the fact that the studio is right next to Berkeley, but John Lasseter and Co. just get it. They understand and appreciate good storytelling and they know what audiences like. Toy Story 3 was not a movie Pixar had any plans of making. Awhile back, it looked like Disney and Pixar were going to forever part ways, which was due to Pixar’s realization that they no longer needed Disney to sell their films and Michael Eisner was being a real cock by screwing them out of a fair deal. Pixar had made it clear they were not interested in making another Toy Story film so Disney basically gave them the finger and went ahead with production on Toy Story 3 without Pixar. Soon thereafter, Eisner got ousted from Disney and the two studios kissed and made up. Part of the new deal between Disney and Pixar was that Pixar was going to make Toy Story 3, which would only happen if a great story could be told to justify its making.

Well, a good story was found and now we have Toy Story 3. Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of the gang are all back with some additional characters and based on how it ends I think its safe to say this is the final Toy Story. Andy is all grown up now and he’s about to head for college. In preparing to move, Andy and his mom clean out his room, including getting rid of his childhood toys (a college-bound kid who still keeps his kid shit in his room probably also indicates a little arrested development, but who am I to judge?). During the cleanup, the mom mistakenly interprets Andy’s instructions to mean that he wants Buzz, Woody, and the rest of his toys to be donated to a local daycare center so she boxes the toys up and takes them there. At the daycare center, everything seems peaceful and idyllic at first. After all, what more could a toy ask for than to be surrounded by hundreds of other toys and be played all day by children? Well, the gang soon discover that the children are absolute horrible nightmares and the daycare is actually run like a prison by a Godfather-type mean, nasty teddy bear. The gang spend the rest of the film trying to escape the horrible daycare and get back to Andy.

I didn’t take to this film as much as I did with Toy Story and Toy Story 2, but it still manages to be highly entertaining. I was never looking forward to another Toy Story film so I went into this with much less enthusiasm than with past Pixar films (if there is any Pixar movie that deserves a sequel, its clearly The Incredibles). Despite my reservations, however, I still expected to have a great time and I did. The story is a logical progression in the series that also successfully (a rarity) follows the sequel rule to have everything be bigger and more epic. The stakes are much higher for our characters this time around and the filmmakers do a great job in keeping the audience in suspense (the scene inside the dump is intense and although you know there is no way Pixar would kill off a character, you’ll be guessing whether or not they’ll really survive). Toy Story 3 also contains the best opening scene I have seen so far this year. If you need to pee after the opening credits, hold it until after the opening. Its awesome, hilarious, and it’ll make you want to go out and buy those barrels of red plastic monkeys.

As I said before, all the characters are back and like Toy Story 2, we get introduced to a few new ones as well. I’m sure I speak for many people when I say that although its been 11 years since Toy Story 2 came out, seeing Woody and Buzz Lightyear doesn’t generate the same level of excitement as it did when the 2nd film came out. Pixar probably realized this and they populate this movie with many new characters. The most talked about new character is Ken. The best comedy is reserved for him and the filmmakers do a great job with all the gay innuendos. I was actually surprised by how far the filmmakers were able to take the gay jokes without incurring a PG rating. I was also impressed by the filmmakers’ ability to turn a cute teddy bear into a frighteningly effective villain. He sort of reminded me of Wilford Brimley’s character in The Firm. Underneath all that warm fuzziness is a wrathful, cunning asshole. Finally, after you see this movie, you will NEVER look at a baby doll the same way again. I promise you this.

Overall, Toy Story 3 is probably going to be one of the best summer films this year and based on the load of shit that the studios have been recently coming out with, thats a pretty safe prediction (I reserve the best film of the summer distinction for Inception). In the Pixar filmography, Toy Story 3 is far from being among the best films the studio has released, but given the pedigree we’re working with here, the film easily manages to outshine most of the films the other studios have and will release this year. I’m sure some of you are wondering how Toy Story 3 rates against How to Train Your Dragon. I regard Dragon to be the better film and thats the first time I’ve considered a DreamWorks Animated film to be superior than a Pixar film. Thats a testament to just how great How to Train Your Dragon is.