The first two Toy Story films may have four credited screenwriters each but as with all Pixar films never feel cobbled together or written by committee. With as much going on in Toy Story 3 it may come as a surprise that only a single writer, Michael Arndt, is credited. Another surprise is that this is only Arndt’s second writing credit after his Oscar-winning screenplay for the dark, R-rated indie hit Little Miss Sunshine. That Oscar was no fluke I’m happy to say. There’s so much hilarity, heart, and adventure packed into this film that he should at least receive yet another nomination come next awards season. It will be no surprise to anyone when Toy Story 3 walks away with Best Animated Feature. Pixar usually does and for good reason.
I won’t go into huge detail involving the plot. The toys are back but have lost a few friends along the way. Andy (still voiced by the same child actor John Morris) has grown apart from his childhood best buds, Woody (voice by Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen), and is preparing to move away to college. Andy’s Mom (voiced by Laurie Metcalf) insists that Andy either pack away what he wishes to take to college, pack away items for the attic, or throw the rest away. Andy picks Woody to tag along to college and packs his remaining toys into a garbage bag to stash in the attic.
Through circumstance, the toys accidentally wind up getting thrown away but not before Woody stages another rescue mission and they all wind up in a box marked “Sunnyside” where Andy’s Mom is donating Molly’s (Beatrice Miller) Barbie (the Little Mermaid herself, Jodi Benson) and Magic 8 ball. While at first the rest of the gang thinks they’re better off at daycare, Woody knows that Andy wasn’t really throwing them away and wants them all to go back home.
Everyone else feels they should stay after they’re taken in by Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear (voiced by Ned Beatty), or Lotso for short and given a guided tour along with Barbie’s possible soul mate Ken (voiced by Michael Keaton). Soon enough, the toys learn the harsh difference between the Butterfly Room versus the Caterpillar Room.
*Note: To anyone who’s ever thought children were frightening before, just wait till you see what it’s like to be a toy at a daycare center. Sure enough Woody, with some assistance from the toys at new youngster Bonnie’s (voiced by Emily Hahn) house, and Buzz (with the help of Lotso switching him back to “Demo” mode) learn the truth behind the Sunnyside hierarchy led by Lotso, and they all stage a prison break of sorts to return to Andy before he finishes packing up and heads off without them.