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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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Anthony Grassi: Anthony’s father died when his son was only 10 years old, but the young lad inherited his father’s devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. As a schoolboy he frequented the local church of the Oratorian Fathers, joining the religious order when he was 17.
<p>Already a fine student, he soon gained a reputation in his religious community as a "walking dictionary" who quickly grasped Scripture and theology. For some time he was tormented by scruples, but they reportedly left him at the very hour he celebrated his first Mass. From that day, serenity penetrated his very being.
</p><p>In 1621, at age 29, Anthony was struck by lightning while praying in the church of the Holy House at Loreto. He was carried paralyzed from the church, expecting to die. When he recovered in a few days he realized that he had been cured of acute indigestion. His scorched clothes were donated to the Loreto church as an offering of thanks for his new gift of life.
</p><p>More important, Anthony now felt that his life belonged entirely to God. Each year thereafter he made a pilgrimage to Loreto to express his thanks.
</p><p>He also began hearing confessions, and came to be regarded as an outstanding confessor. Simple and direct, he listened carefully to penitents, said a few words and gave a penance and absolution, frequently drawing on his gift of reading consciences.
</p><p>In 1635 he was elected superior of the Fermo Oratory. He was so well regarded that he was reelected every three years until his death. He was a quiet person and a gentle superior who did not know how to be severe. At the same time he kept the Oratorian constitutions literally, encouraging the community to do likewise.
</p><p>He refused social or civic commitments and instead would go out day or night to visit the sick or dying or anyone else needing his services. As he grew older, he had a God-given awareness of the future, a gift which he frequently used to warn or to console.
</p><p>But age brought its challenges as well. He suffered the humility of having to give up his physical faculties one by one. First was his preaching, necessitated after he lost his teeth. Then he could no longer hear confessions. Finally, after a fall, he was confined to his room. The archbishop himself came each day to give him holy Communion. One of Anthony’s final acts was to reconcile two fiercely quarreling brothers.</p> American Catholic Blog God of love, as I come to the end of this Advent season, my heart is ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I join with Mary in saying, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Nothing is impossible with you, O God.

 
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