Coming out 15 years after the first, Toy Story 3 proved to be a hit among a new generation of kids and brought in the young adults who grew up with Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody.
It is impossible not to have a fondness for the first two Pixar films, which took animation to a new level and told heartwarming, imaginative tales to which all ages could relate.
Toy Story 3 begins with a rousing action sequence in the old West with all the old toys taking part: Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), the Potato Heads (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), Hamm (John Ratzenberger), Jessie (Joan Cusack) and Rex (Wallace Shawn).
We then learn that the action — impossible chases, laser beams and explosions worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster — is in the imagination of Andy, the mostly glimpsed boy who owns the toys.
Andy is about to go to college, and his mother wants to know what to do with his toys. He long ago stopped playing with them, but they are his emotional ties to childhood. He keeps Woody as a memento and agrees to send the rest to a day-care center.
Directed by Lee Unkrich from a script by Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), the film takes on new life when Andy's toys are abused in their new home.
"Face it, we're just trash," says Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear (Ned Beatty), a raggedy, bitter, pink teddy bear. Toy Story 3 has some dark themes — there are obvious parallels between the toys' fate and treatment of the elderly — but it remains light, fun and inventive.
The day-care center scenes add new/old toys including Barbie (Jodi Benson) and the fashion-plate Ken (Michael Keaton). But the film, which is eye-popping, is so entertaining you forget how smart it is.
There are many DVD extras, including games for film fans, depending on the version.
Toy Story 3 retails for $29.99, $39.99 for Blu-ray and $45.99 for a four-disc Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy.