Toy Story 3

You knew it was coming, didn’t you? "Toy Story 3" was a must-see on its opening weekend – for kids and parents alike – and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was a somewhat unexpected emotional experience at times.

My wife and I hadn’t had any reviews of the third installment of the Woody/Buzz Lightyear saga, so we were a tad surprised at what a woman told us when we were walking toward the theater from the Northland Mall parking lot. When she asked what movie we were going to see and we answered "Toy Story 3," she said, "Hope you brought kleenex!"

Kleenex? Then I thought for a moment. The last Pixar feature, "Up," brought a few tears with its dialogue-free montage of the life of man and his wife, and his wife’s death. But I had read about the sequence beforehand, so I think that tempered my reaction on some level.

"Toy Story 3" was supposed to be pure fun without anything too deep attached to it. And it was, for the most part. Without giving away too much, the plot revolved around the toys’ owner, Andy, going off to college, and the toys finding a new temporary home before quickly realizing they’d be better off at their old home. There are plenty of laughs – provided in no small amount by the meeting and budding relationship of Barbie and a Michael Keaton-voiced Ken – and many great sequences, including a fun and hilarious part when Buzz accidently gets put into Spanish-speaking mode. Our kids got caught up in it pretty well (Zach, at times, wavered between the movie and the race car video game he’d seen in the theater lobby), and Bec and I were definitely into it, too. And then came the wrap-up, and some moist eyes. Not because it was a sad finale, though – just very sweet.

If you’ve got young kids or you’re young at heart – heck, if you’ve ever played with toys - you’ll almost sure to connect with "Toy Story 3" in some way. Plenty already have, as the movie has made more than $100 million in its first three days alone. And some cynics will say the whole thing is a devious money-making enterprise, with not only all the old beloved toys but a few new ones, too (never mind all the other merchandising out there). But most of the "characters" are lovable, there are great messages about family and teamwork, andit reminds us that there’s a kid somewhere inside all of us.

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