Pixar Animation Studios/Walt Disney Pictures
As Charles de Gaulle dryly observed, the graveyards are full of indispensable men. One might add, in a related vein, that the attics are full of indispensable toys--once central players in a childhood fantasy, now upstaged, outgrown, and consigned to the corrugated purgatory of a cardboard box.
Such is the cruel afterlife facing the eponymous heroes of Toy Story 3 as the film opens. In the 11 years since the last installment of the Pixar franchise, their half-pint custodian, Andy, has grown up, and as he prepares to debark for college, retirement looms for Buzz Lightyear, Jesse, Rex, Ham, the Potato Heads, and the rest of their narrow Toyverse. (Though not Woody, who initially appears fated to accompany Andy to school as a childhood memento--a touching plan, but one that, if my own collegiate memories are any guide, would likely entail Woody being refashioned into a bong by sophomore year.)
Andy, however, makes the mistake of putting his attic-bound ex-playmates into a plastic garbage bag, and his mother makes the mistake of assuming this was not a mistake. After a brief flirtation with the sanitation department (it will not be the last), the gang finds themselves delivered to a local daycare, presided over by a Strawberry-scented pink bear named Lotso (short for "Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear"), who promises them an endless stretch of play-filled days with a rotating cast of kids who will never grow old. This Paradise is no sooner found than it is lost, though, and the bulk of the film delightedly toys (so to speak) with the conceits and conventions of the prison-break genre.