In 1995, my soon to be spouse and I saw Toy Story. It was a great movie in its own right but I recognised then that it was also a great reason to have children. We had one by the time Toy Story 2 rocked around but she was too young to come to the cinemas. She was not too young to have herself a Buzz Lightyear and being able to soon chant, "to infinity and beyond."
So it was a great pleasure to be finally able to take all three children to see Toy Story 3. Pixar have done it again. It is hard to put my finger on just what they have done. The characters are now fully realised and familiar but are still of great interest. The plot is a natural and touched on all of the themes from the previous movies including existential angst and divided loyalties. And then throughout there is a layer of comedy that, for the most part, only adults would appreciate. Suffice it to say, this movie is perhaps the first to 'get' Ken (of Barbie and Ken fame) and it is worth it just for that alone. Put that together with a tightness of composition that is error free (well, virtually error free as I am not sure "not suitable for children 3 or under" toys should be given to toddlers), and there is unlikely to be a better movie this year.
Pixar have never failed to have a hit. It is a creative legacy that now surely exceeds that of the early Disney. And the fact that they can carry it through to a third movie in a series -- which, let's face it, no one ever seems to manage (save for Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings) -- is a testament to a winning formula. These movies come around once a year at the moment and they will have our money each time.