Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 8:10 pm | Fair 72º


Cinema in Focus: ‘Toy Story 3’

From the masterful story line to its 3-D technology, the third film in the series is a must-see

4 Stars — Inspirational

Toy Story 3 is masterfully written and the 3-D animation is an extraordinary new level of art. This is not your grandfather’s Snow White or Donald Duck. The attention to detail in every scene, combined with the clever and witty story line, makes this one of the most entertaining films of the decade.

What makes this film inspiring, though, is its attention to the child-like love that is exhibited among the characters. Yes, each has their own “human” imperfections and fears, but the compassion that is shown one to another answers a longing in the human soul.

In this third installment of the animated tale of a boy named Andy (John Morris) who has loved his toy friends for his entire life, Andy is now 17 years old and about to go off to college. His closest friends — Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris), three alien squeak toys from Pizza Planet, Slinky Dog (Blake Clark), Rex (Wallace Shawn), and Hamm the Piggy Bank (John Ratzenberger) — are all hoping that Andy won’t forget them, and they long for one last loving time to play together.

But alas, it is time for Andy to pack up and leave, and the toys of his childhood are bound for the attic.

When Andy’s mother accidentally throws his bag of toys in the trash, Woody is horrified and sets out to save them from destruction. Through a series of mishaps, they end up being donated to the Sunnyside Daycare Center. At first the toys are thrilled that some new children will love them again, but they soon find that they are often harshly abused by the kids while being held captive by the other toys in the center.

Through all the trials and tribulations that these toys endure, they are finally reunited with Andy back at his home. Though they were resigned to the fact that they were going to spend months/years in storage in the attic, they were also pleasantly surprised to find that Andy decided to donate his prized toys to a little girl down the street named Jessie. When Woody realizes that the love Andy has for his toys goes beyond his personal experience and is being transformed into a loving relationship with other kids, the story reaches its emotional conclusion and the toys are born again into a new family.

When Andy sees how happy little Jessie is with his old toys, he stops and plays with Jessie and all of his old friends on the front lawn one last time. The last playtime is what all of Andy’s toys had hoped for, and how their life was complete.

All of us go through transitions in our lives, and many of the happy times we may have experienced as a kid are long since forgotten. Toy Story 3 reminds us that unconditional love knows no bounds, and the love we knew as a child is the basis for all future healthy relationships. Don’t miss this experience!


» When you look at your childhood now as an adult, what were the most significant relationships you had during those early years? Were any with toys?

» To project emotions onto our toys allows us to get in touch with some of our deeper hopes and fears. This “imaginative play” is a helpful tool to unlock those feelings even as adults. Do you ever engage in “play” as an adult? What happens when you do?

» The ability to share his beloved toys was a satisfying transition for Andy as he became an adult. How has your transition from childhood to adult been accomplished?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit

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