Hollywood has an obsession with sequels and remakes. Oftentimes, they are completely unnecessary as the story was complete the first time around and a continuation seems forced. The original Toy Story, the first Pixar film, was indeed a complete story. When the second Toy Story came out, it was the first instance I could remember where the sequel surpassed the original (I have yet to see Godfather II). What I admired about Toy Story 2 was the familiarity of the characters and the subtle references to the first movie, but for the most part it was new material.
When Toy Story 3 was announced, I, like most people, thought it was unnecessary and just a way for Pixar to get a new movie made without having to start from scratch. I should have more faith in Pixar. They have never let me down (with the exception of maybe A Bug’s Life, but they were young then). Toy Story 3 also does not disappoint. The old characters are nostalgic in a good way, while the new additions are adorable. Ken steals the show in every scene he is in. The accent on the strawberry bear is impeccable! The journey is quite enjoyable, but the emotional punch at the end is what elevates this movie from good to a classic.
Pixar has been on a roll lately. What I love about them is that they have all the jokes and gags that make kids laugh, but they also have a level of intelligence that speaks to the parents that bring the kids to the theater. For people my age that grew up with the original Toy Story and classic Disney, this is a throwback to our childhoods. Unlike classic Disney, though, Pixar explores themes other than the typical boy meets girl love story. With Up last year, we had a fantastic depiction of the modern Asian-American family who also happens to be in a broken home. That’s pretty progressive if you ask me. Monsters, inc. explored the magic of laughter; The Incredibles had the power of familial bonds; Wall-E took an approach altogether different and spoke on environmental conscience. Pixar, more than any other animation studio, or live action for that matter, is pushing the enveloped and raising the bar for what we expect in movies.