Watching: Well, duh!
Saw it last night in 3-D; I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. It was such a thrill seeing the Toy Story characters in action again, and Pixar's streak of wonderfully engaging storylines didn't end here, as this was just as strong an outing as the last two films.
I'd been making predictions about the plot ever since the first trailer, and much to my surprise, many of the assumptions I'd had turned out to be completely wrong. Most notably, I thought Lotso would be the kind-hearted one while Ken would be the evil mastermind - but it turned out that Lotso was just about the biggest jerk to ever appear in a Pixar film. A lot of great misleads with him, especially in the junkyard when you think he's going to do the typical "bad guy has a change of heart and saves the heroes who saved his life" bit - and then runs off and leaves them all to fry. I was stunned. Once again, Pixar keeps you guessing!
Speaking of which, the incinerator sequence was possibly the most powerful scene in Pixar history. All the characters we've come to know and love over the last fifteen years, united and resolved in the realization that this is the end - I'm not really the type who cries at movies, but I came darn close there. I really had no idea how they would survive, and for a brief moment, I thought they might not...but when the claw came down, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Some of my friends had expressed concern over Buzz reverting to his Space Ranger persona in this movie, saying that it would have effectively undone all the character development of the first two movies. But I was right, it wasn't a permanent change, and it was played for humor. And what humor it was! Spanish Buzz's dancing is some of the funniest character animation Pixar has ever done. The gag didn't wear out its welcome, either - Buzz remained in Spanish mode just long enough for it to be funny, but it was also a relief to see his true personality restored after the TV hit him.
I liked all the new characters we got, even ones that didn't get a lot of screen time. Big Baby wasn't the tough-guy bouncer type we all thought he'd be, but was instead a real baby, which made him much more sympathetic. When Lotso crushes his "My Heart Belongs to Daisy" pendant, it's a very emotional moment. And I loved, loved, loved the toys at Bonnie's house ("There's no way out!...Just kiddin', door's over there"), and was so happy to see the main cast end up there at the end. That ending was picture-perfect, in my eyes - a farewell to the principal cast, and a definitive conclusion to the toys' time with Andy, yet still assuring us all that the toys are in good hands and will continue to be for a long, long time. And they're all together, too. I think if Woody had gone to college with Andy, the ending would have felt incomplete somehow. Good call.
Also, "Day and Night" was a great short. I found myself giggling out loud at all the various ways they made everyday (and everynight) occurrences reflect the characters actions and emotions. A great concept, and definitely worth seeing in 3-D.
I'm gonna end on a weird personal note. Every time I see a movie, I'm still thinking about it on the car ride home, so the first song I hear on the radio always ends up indelibly linked in my mind to the movie I just saw. My sister usually goes to see Pixar movies with me, and she's always got the run of the radio in her car. So as of last year, the song "That's Not My Name" by the Ting-Tings always makes me think of Up, and now "Alejandro" by Lady Gaga is always going to remind me of Toy Story 3. And with Buzz and Jessie's Latin dance at the end, that actually fits pretty well.