Toy Story 3 is absolutely riveting
Featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack. Rated G. Opens Friday, June 18
It’s a little-recognized truism that we’re most nostalgic when we are children—that is, the affection we have for old songs and automobiles is actually a shadow of the early intimations of impermanence we felt while moving from, say, kindergarten to the first grade.
Watch the trailer for Toy Story 3.
That shadow finds its perfect expression in Toy Story 3, the absolutely riveting, sometimes highly emotional culmination of a trilogy that not only takes nostalgic attachment as its main subject but has now been around long enough that some of today’s adults were children when the first installment arrived, 15 years ago.
None of our usual gang, including cowpokes Woody and Jessie (Tom Hanks and Joan Cusack), space case Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and franticasaurus Rex (Wallace Shawn), have aged a bit. And the Potato Heads (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris) still have don’t have any tots. But their usefulness as imaginative projections to Andy (John Morris) has fizzled now that the former boy is heading off to college.
The toys have enough self-awareness to at least discuss the few options open to them. Only Woody, at this rather dark juncture, values loyalty to the humans above polyethylene togetherness, and in fact they get split up, with most going to a deceptively sunny daycare centre. At night, the place is run by a fuzzy bear (Ned Beatty), a soft-spoken cross between The Jungle Book’s Phil Harris and the commandant of Stalag 17.
This toy repository is also home to the new film’s funniest character: a vainglorious fellow named Ken (Michael Keaton), who seems fated to be with our Barbie (Jodi Benson). The performance is as flawless as the animation, but there are hints of homophobia here, as if there are some human habits that even docile playthings can’t let go of. Other than that, this is the best Toy out of the box.