Review: Toy Story 3

Note: This post contains a portion of a review written for CaryCitizen.  To read the full review, click here.

If God exists, he works at Pixar.  If he doesn’t, then its staff must be composed primarily of wizards, Jedi and the Keebler Elves. That’s the only logical explanation for the sheer amount of unbridled creative energy that gets pumped into their movies that miraculously works every time (except for Cars, but that was a fluke – even God has to take a break sometimes).  Of all the major American animation studios, only Pixar can make a few computer-generated characters prance around onscreen for 90 minutes, earn enough money at the box-office to feed a small nation for a year, and leave me feeling like they deserve it.

It’s been 15 years since audiences were first introduced to Woody, Buzz and the gang in the original Toy Story.  Since then, Pixar has gradually proven itself to be the king of animation, capable of producing films that are not only stylistically innovative but thematically dense.  From the environmentally conscious Wall-E to the reflections on mortality and memory in last year’s Up, the studio has shown that it’s willing to go out on a limb and make films with more adult-oriented messages than your average family entertainment.

Toy Story 3 is no different.  While on the surface it plays well as an entertaining adventure film, underneath the spectacle it’s arguably the most profound of the trilogy to date, further elaborating on the themes of rejection, purpose and mortality that provided the emotional backbone of the first two.  Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself shedding a tear over the fates of these characters – Pixar has successfully transformed them from mere plastic playthings into genuine people, and the result is a heartfelt (if not entirely original) tale about life, death, and finding one’s place in an unfamiliar world.

Read the full review over at CaryCitizen.