Summer Showdown: Toy Story 3 vs. Iron Man 2
The battle for best summer movie continues and this time around, we have a serious contender:  Toy Story 3.  So far Iron Man 2 has beaten  down the the competition, but this is Pixar we are talking about.  Truth be told, I considered not including Toy Story 3 in the showdown.  It isn't exactly what I would think of when considering "summer blockbusters".   However, against a checklist, it contains all the markings of a blockbuster.  Action (oh yes, it has quite a bit), humor, a famous cast, a big budget, and a lightning fast pace.  Yes folks, Toy Story 3 is an animated, family-aimed summer blockbuster and it is darn near perfect.

Honestly, its hard to know where to start with Toy Story 3.  I mean, all the voice overs are as great as ever, the music manages to stir up memories and emotions like nothing else, and it is just plain hilarious at times.  The addition of Ken and Barbie could have been all sorts of generic and annoying, but it isn't at all.  In fact, I think they might have been my favorite part of the movie.  That isn't talking down the rest of the movie.  If anything, that is stating just how incredibly awesome Ken and Barbie are, particularly Ken (who is voiced by Michael "I'm Batman" Keaton).  His extreme feminine qualities paired with his awestruck love for Barbie leaves you laughing in every single scene he is in (a special mention to the handwriting joke at the end).

One thing that surprised me about this movie was the scale.  The opening sequence was a total shout out to anyone and everyone who has ever played with action figures (though am I the only one who was reminded of the opening sequence of Bolt?), while the "prison escape" was on par with anything I've ever witnessed in an action movie.  It seriously blew my mind how creative the writers of this movie kept getting with each scene, with every opportunity.  The movie continues to one up itself with each passing segment.  While I'm mentioning the writings, it is truly amazing how many characters this story juggles.  I suppose it helps that many of them have been established for us already in the previous 2 movies, but it also introduces many new characters as well as adds elements to the old ones (Spanish Buzz Lightyear!).

Even with all of these good things, what makes Toy Story 3 a great movie (and make no mistake, it is a GREAT movie) is its heart.  This movie overflows with emotional connection, both happy and sad.  Unlike so many movies, there are no hidden agendas, no biased views, and no political rants.  This movie is pure gold at its center.  I myself have never cried during a movie, but I can say this is probably the closest I have ever come, and there were many teary eyes surrounding me.

I thought for a long time about the themes of this movie and what it meant to me.  The movie left me with quite a bit on mind.  Sure there was the nostalgia, the memories of both my childhood and the Toy Story movies.  However, that wasn't what stuck with me the most.  Toy Story 3 is about growing up and the choices and consequences that come with it.  The owner of the toys, Andy, isn't a kid anymore and that brings him to a cross roads.  In order to move on with his life he has to let go of the past.  The toys represent his childhood memories and experiences.  If Andy simply disposes of them, he essentially cuts a piece out of himself.  The things he did when he was a kid contributed to the person he is now.  At the same time, by clinging onto it too tightly, he will never grow or move forward.  He will be stuck in the past (not to mention he would be a 17 year old playing with action figures).

The movie is about letting go and passing things on to those who follow and that is a theme that everyone can relate to.  The final few scenes in the movie will most certainly make millions weep (the part that got me the most was Andy saying goodbye to his mom).  Friends and loved ones often go separate ways but if they truly love each other, they will always remain a part of each others lives.  As challenges are faced, friends will always be there, if not physically, then emotionally.  For those who neglect friendship, this is made clear: selfish is the greatness evil and loneliness, separation, is the greatest punishment.

A person could probably write a thesis paper on Toy Story 3, but I think I'll end it here.  You (yes whoever you are reading this) should see Toy Story 3.  Its a movie everyone should like, period.  It might have gotten a whole 3 negative reviews from critics, but trust me when I say those people are wrong and most certainly were NOT hugged enough as a child.  As for the summer movie showdown, this movie beats Iron Man 2.  While Iron Man 2 was a movie were the good largely outweighed the bad, Toy Story 3's strengths are so strong you won't even pause to think about any mistakes or imperfections (though I'm sure there are a few shortcomings).  Toy Story 3 may not have the giant red laser beams of awesome, but it has so much greatness its almost unfair to every other summer movie coming out.  I guess we will see what happens when Inception comes out.  I'm still not writing that movie off as a possible champion of this contest.  Till next time!

Get it by Monday, June 11 if you order in the next 9 hours and choose one-day shipping. 100Z
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