Funny how time flies. Once upon a time Toy Story's animation style was the leader of the pack and the state of the art, now it's considered standard fare. But that's ok; once the shine and polish wore off of it the true value in the franchise was exactly what the title says- the Toys' Story. Thankfully, that hasn't changed.
The movie opens with an incredibly over-the-top playtime fantasy starring the entire cast that leaves you a little breathless and kinda nostalgic with some of the cameos involved. The plot focuses upon the inevitable period of transition in life: Andy is heading off to college, leaving his childhood behind, and both he and his sister Molly have to decide what to do with their old toys. His destined for the attic, save Woody, whom Andy decides to take with him. Molly donates hers to the local day care, including her Barbie doll (raise your hand if you can see it coming!). A mistake has Andy's toys left out for garbage; Woody goes to rescue his friends and they manage to all end up at the day care center- a Garden of Eden for toys. But there are snakes in the garden as things are not quite what they seem, leaving them worse off than before. Now they have to find a way to escape and make it back to Andy's before he leaves.
The typically superior Pixar animation is flawless, and the script is excellent- I'd have to say this was more for adults than kids. Woody remains his loyal, inventive self and there's always the iconic Buzz Lightyear gravity (and logic)-defying flight across the room. Sight gags abound and one-liners zing, but the best laughs came from the running jokes about the inevitable `When Barbie meets Ken' scenario ("No one else around here understands clothes!"), as well as the age-old question about Ken- is he or isn't he? There's also some hilarious moments surrounding the romance between Buzz and Jessie the Cowgirl: Buzz gets brainwashed by the bad guys and his friends need to restore him to normal. A tip: try not to be eating anything once Buzz gets his buttons pushed.
The key to the Toy Story movies is they never take themselves too seriously even in their sentimental and poignant moments, and there were quite a few of those here. The villain's character arc is perfectly appropriate for a toy movie, and ties into the main plot of the toy's search for a new home. The ending definitely tugs at your heart strings but works very well; I honestly couldn't see it coming out any other way. And as is the current trend in movies, you definitely need to stick around for the credits! Toy Story 3 runs the risk of being overshadowed by other flicks this summer, but it shouldn't be. Go to Infinity and Beyond in order to see this one!