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June 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Kids are going to love Toy Story 3. That’s the conclusion of nearly all the major critics even if some of them were not so thrilled with it. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times spends little time analyzing the artistic merits of the movie, devoting most of his review to a summary of the plot. Nevertheless, he concludes, “This is a jolly, slapstick comedy, lacking the almost eerie humanity that infused the earlier Toy Story sagas, and happier with action and jokes than with characters and emotions. But hey, what can you expect from a movie named Toy Story 3?” Lou Lumenick in the New York Post remarks that until the last half hour of the film, “this felt like a three-star movie to me,” but that the final act left him in tears. After describing earlier Pixar movies as masterpieces, he says, “I’m not complaining too loudly that Toy Story 3 … is merely very good.” Similarly Lisa Kennedy writes in the Denver Post: “Pixar … has gone for the pleasantly familiar over its customary astonishing.” Steven Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer complains that the latest edition’s 3D enhancement comes across as “a gimmick.” He concludes: “Toy Story 3 is solid, smile-inducing stuff. But by the inherent nature of a sequel, and our familiarity with the main characters, the glow of originality has dissipated. There’s something generic about this Pixar property, and that third-act recycling plant looks an awful lot like a metaphor, with or without 3-D glasses.” And Liam Lacey in the Toronto Globe and Mail sums up: “Measured against such superb Pixar films as Ratatouille, Wall-E and Up, the new Toy Story has to be seen as a letdown.” On the other hand, Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle argues that the movie may be the best film Pixar has ever turned out. “It succeeds completely in conventional terms. For 103 minutes, it never takes audience interest for granted. It has action, horror and vivid characters, and it always keeps moving forward. It’s also less obvious in its ambition. Wall-E and Up were like experiments in profundity. In Toy Story 3 everything meaningful is just part of the flow. You’ll feel it before you see it coming.” Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times observes that given Pixar’s previous track record, “it’s not exactly a surprise to say that Toy Story 3 is everything you hoped it would be.” And A.O. Scott in the New York Times finds the movie as endearing as a favorite stashed-away old toy and an artistic tour de force as well. “Toy Story 3 is as sweet, as touching, as humane a movie as you are likely to see this summer, and yet it is all about doodads stamped and molded out of plastic and polyester,” he writes. “Therein lies its genius, and its uncanny authenticity. A tale that captured the romance and pathos of the consumer economy, the sorrows and pleasures that dwell at the heart of our materialist way of life, could only be told from the standpoint of the commodities themselves, those accretions of synthetic substance and alienated labor we somehow endow with souls.”

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