Leave it to Pixar to subvert the Hollywood rule of sequels, which states that each subsequent film must have eyes full of dollar signs at the expense of quality. (See: Shrek
, all horror and action franchises.) Maybe 11 years and a few delays is all every sequel needs, because Toy Story 3
is just as witty, poignant and masterful as its 1995 and ’99 installments. Andy is off to college, and the toys decide that relocating to a daycare is better than a lifetime in the attic or a short ride in a garbage truck. But head bear Lotso (Ned Beatty) gets them assigned to the toddler room, where they’re heaved against walls, dragged through paint and generally abused. That attic? Suddenly paradise. All Pixar films are about getting back home, and the various trials endured by Buzz, Woody, Jessie and co. are spirited and witty, but nothing in the series holds the poignancy---and uneasy terror---of the climax of Toy Story 3
, with the main cast facing a modern-day hellmouth, being dragged toward a certain end, hand-in-hand, out of cleverness at last. (No spoilers here!) The message, 15 years on: you’ve always got a friend in me.