Toy Story 3 has heart, great characters and most of all a fantastic story, making it a joy to watch.
It took me a while, but I was determined to enjoy the third Toy Story installment from Disney/Pixar on the big screen rather than on DVD, and I'm so glad I did.
Initially when the movie was introduced (they do that at ArcLight cinemas) and they said to make yourself comfortable for the next two hours or so (with the trailers and animated short before the movie), I was concerned, but the time just flew by.
There's so much to enjoy, it's an engaging story with so many new ideas and great characterisation for all your existing favourites and the new toys that are introduced.
You really feel that these toys are living, breathing people with feelings, as their desire to be played with by their grown-up owner 'Andy' is so emotive, but it never descends into schmaltzy sentimentality.
The movie is so clever and works on so many levels, appealing to old and young. Take for instance the audience I saw it with. Amongst my weekday viewers were a couple in their sixties, a dad and his two young kids, a thirty-something couple on a date, another group of children with their mother. I think it appeals to everyone because they don't dumb down the plot and treat the characters like real actors and give them really meaty roles to play.
It's also the 'darkest' of the franchise as it really does delve into the depths of abandonment, which is personified by 'Lotso' bear, and there is also a sense of peril and more than a few tear-jerker moments when you can't help but well up.
I loved how all the original toys had their moment to shine and their dialogue and actions were so in character, plus I loved the new additions like the thespian hedgehog 'Mr. Pricklepants','Buttercup' the stuffed unicorn, 'Trixie' the triceratops and probably the stand-out of the whole movie, Barbie's 'Ken'.
Oh 'Ken', how I love you and your wonderful outfits and how you get your groove on. There were so many laugh out loud moments to enjoy.
And 'Buzz Lightyear' continues to delight and is genuinely hilarious in Spanish language mode.
There's so much more to be said about the movie, but you must go and discover it for yourself if you already haven't. I give Toy Story 3 five fantastic ***** stars.
If only Disney's live-action movies could be this good...