Toy Story 3

B+

Lately it seems like Pixar, in order to avoid ever having a flop with critics or audiences, has adopted a formula where they really crank up sentimentality and emotion in order to give their movies added depth. Certainly, Up did this with its story of a kid with serious father issues. But Toy Story 3 really lays it on thick as the toys come to terms with the end of their usefulness and therefore their lives, really. Is that a nice story? Will any child who watches this movie ever be able to give away any of his toys?

Andy is going to college and must decide which of his toys will be donated, which will go to the attic, and which go with him to college. It is the job of the toys to serve him no matter what his decision, though of course they just want to be loved. This is not happy material. It is like the huge emotional downer of Toy Story 2 when Jessie the Cowgirl reveals how her owner abandoned her, while the saddest song in the world was played. This movie takes that song and expands on the theme, applying it to all of the characters.

Anyway, it seems a bit much. Otherwise there is a good story here, essentially a prison break movie. There are some new toys to get to know and, while they don't have big parts, are still fun to watch as counterparts to the characters we already know (Barbie meets Ken, the T Rex meets another dinosaur). I don't know if most kids will even enjoy this movie except for the fun parts (maybe some of the sad parts will go over their heads as filler between the fun parts). I can't say whether the movie is happy or sad without giving away the ending, but I will say they find a way to crank the sentimentality up several more notches before it is over with.