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Thursday, June 24, 2010 08:06 am

Story of a used toy store

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A scene from Walt Disney Pictures’ Toy Story 3.

Critics and fans have been falling all over themselves praising Toy Story 3 as if it were the animated Citizen Kane. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a fine film and it hits all of the points we expect it to. I simply don’t think it’s as good as the other two entries in the series. There are a great many factors at play as to why it’s getting the reaction it is. It is one of the best summer films by default and there’s a high degree of nostalgia surrounding the film that’s blinding many to its faults.

Woody, Buzz, Jessie (voices by Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack respectively) and the rest of the toy crew are in a tizzy because their owner, Andy, is going to college. Knowing they can’t go with him, they begin to fret about their fate, not knowing that they’re destined for an extended stay in the attic. However, through a series of mistakes, they end up being donated to a daycare center where they’re introduced to Lotso (Ned Beatty), a strawberry-scented bear whose benevolent appearance belies a nasty side.

Needless to say, the toys find themselves at the mercy of a bevy of violent children and set out to escape in order to return to Andy’s. This is virtually the same premise as Toy Story 2 only told through a darker lens, while none of the characters develop in a meaningful way. Though there’s something to be said for finding solace in revisiting the familiar, I expect more than a slick retread from Pixar Studios. Keep in mind, I’m not saying this is a bad movie – it’s quite funny at times and so suspenseful it may be the cause of nightmares in young viewers – but there’s a “been-there, done-that feel” to it that makes it like a used toy rather than something shiny and new.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.