The best magic tricks in the world are ones that cannot be unraveled, reverse engineered or dissected to figure out exactly how they are pulled off. This philosophy is doubly applicable to Pixar's "Toy Story 3", the storyline-ending outro of the beloved Toy Story, uh, story.
I feel it relevant somehow to divulge my age, as it somehow validates the powerful emotions evoked throughout the film. I am a 28 year old male, who, fifteen years ago, was fresh into the teen years of supposed adolescence at the release of some weird, 3d animated movie (wait, they can animate with computers?) entitled "Toy Story". This was a pretty bold move, a calculated stroll to the edge of the cliff and a daring leap off into the thin air of creativity and innovation. And it was a hit, ensuring 3d animation a place right alongside (more or less) 2d animation. And naturally, Pixar would be at the forefront, leading the cavalry charge of digital animation ranging from great to gawd-awful.
"Toy Story 3" starts off as comfortably as possible, with our friends Woody and Buzz Lightyear doing what they do the best...playing with Andy in his world of make-believe adventure. We are then treated to some familiar Pixar progression, like abandonment, solidarity, coming back to friends, and the passing of the torch. Clearly, in the eleven years between this point and when "Toy Story 2" wrapped, a computer revolution or four has occurred, allowing a world of unsurpassed clarity, reality and imagination to shine through like never before. TS1's spark is TS2's candle, and that in turn is TS3's blazing sun.
Roll the last fifteen minutes of film. It became clearly obvious that the figurative tables have been turned, because a good number of the adults in the audience (including myself) were sniffling and teary-eyed, while the kids were looking up, likely thinking "jeez mom and dad, they're just toys, get over it".
Wasn't it conventional wisdom that just the kids get emotional over losing plastic playthings? With "Toy Story 3", Pixar has shown us one of the greatest magic tricks in modern showbiz history, likely not to be outdone or duplicated, that we all have very real and deep connections to our childhoods and to the things and people that allowed us as kids to be free, and innocent, and pure, and most importantly, to dream. This, to me, is a life lesson worth remembering, to infinity and beyond.
"Toy Story 3" gets 10 of 10 blazing stars
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