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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Toy Story 3

By
Joseph McAleer
Source: Catholic News Service


Mr. Potato Head, Hamm, Rex, Buzz Lightyear and Slinky Dog appear on the big screen again in "Toy Story 3."
The third time's a charm with "Toy Story 3" (Disney/Pixar), the action-packed sequel to two of the biggest animated films of all time, "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2." Arriving 15 years after the start of the franchise, "Toy Story 3" offers a satisfying and poignant conclusion with valuable lessons on family, friendship, and destiny.

Toy owner Andy (voice of John Morris) is all grown up and heading to college, which means putting away his childish things. This is the moment all toys dread, with only three possible outcomes: storage in the attic, donation to charity, or the garbage pile.

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (voice of Tim Allen), and the rest of the "Roundup Gang" wax philosophical as the "warm and safe" attic beckons. "Every toy goes through this," Woody says. "We've survived yard sales and spring cleaning."

Before "Toy Story 3" gets too bogged down in discussing the meaning of plastic life and the destiny of playthings, the action adventure kicks into high gear. Woody is chosen to go to college with Andy, while the other toys, prepped for the attic, are accidentally placed in the trash.

They escape, and joined by a reluctant Woody, spurn Andy and choose the next best option: donation to "Sunnyside," a daycare center which promises the one thing toys desire—to be played with by a loving child.

At first glance, Sunnyside seems like Nirvana, and a warm welcome is offered by the resident toys and their benevolent leader, Lots-O'Huggin Bear (Ned Beatty). "Here there are no 'overs,' no heartache," Lots-O tells the refugees. "We are never abandoned or forgotten. We control our destiny."

Woody is not convinced, and his loyalty to Andy leads him to part company with his friends. But his journey home is cut short, and Woody lands in the arms of a caring child, Bonnie (Emily Hahn). Her home offers even more new toys to play with, including a hilarious porcupine dressed in lederhosen, Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), who fancies himself a classically trained actor slumming among amateurs.

Meanwhile, back at Sunnyside, the rest of the gang savors their peaceable kingdom—until the children arrive. The toddlers are unruly and destructive, and this dream world becomes a nightmare.

Lots-O, moreover, rules with an iron paw, imposing prison-like conditions after hours on the new arrivals. Sunnyside becomes a very dark place, and scenes of toy "torture" (and a rather menacing Big Baby doll) may upset or confuse the smaller ones in the audience.

Taking a page from "The Great Escape," "Toy Story 3" ramps up the action when Woody learns the truth and returns to help his friends. "We're a family. We stay together," he insists.

The journey is perilous, but "Toy Story 3" never forgets its core audience. Good triumphs over evil, and the denouement is heartfelt, hope-filled—and handkerchief-worthy.

Directed by Lee Unkrich ("Finding Nemo") with music, once again, by Randy Newman, "Toy Story 3" is a film for all ages. Parents will appreciate the gag-driven script with plenty of innuendo (the blossoming relationship between the Barbie and Ken dolls steals the show), while kids will delight in all the new characters.

The film contains mild cartoonish violence and scenes of peril. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I—general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G—general audiences. All ages admitted.

*****
Joseph McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.


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Stephen of Mar Saba: A "do not disturb" sign helped today's saint find holiness and peace. 
<p>Stephen of Mar Saba was the nephew of St. John Damascene, who introduced the young boy to monastic life beginning at age 10. When he reached 24, Stephen served the community in a variety of ways, including guest master. After some time he asked permission to live a hermit's life. The answer from the abbot was yes and no: Stephen could follow his preferred lifestyle during the week, but on weekends he was to offer his skills as a counselor. Stephen placed a note on the door of his cell: "Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays." </p><p>Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide. </p><p>His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things." </p><p>Stephen died in 794.</p> American Catholic Blog Father, grant us the grace to be humble and content to place ourselves at your service. You know the role you want us to play in your kingdom. Following where you lead is the only sure way to find success and enjoy the adventure. We ask your grace to know this, in Jesus's name, Amen.


 
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