This was a great family movie. It's got something for everyone - the parents, the children, and even the teens who were reluctantly dragged into the theater! This film explores the themes of growing up and letting go while still being paced to keep the kiddies entertained.
The story follows our original hero Andy who's now all grown up and leaving for college. His room, once brimming with toys as we remember from the original Toy Story, is now populated only by a handful of survivors who sit in his toy box collecting dust. When Andy's mother accidentally throws them away, the toys donate themselves to Sunnyside Daycare, which they soon find out is an awful place to be...
Most of the remaining characters are voiced by the original actors (with the unnoticeable exception of Slinky, voiced by Blake Clarke since the passing of Jim Varney) which already gives it points in my book. Not only that, but the animation style and quality are actually superior to the first two films. This is important since most sequels released by Disney tend to be made much more cheaply than the originals, or are made so long after the originals that they don't seem to really follow the original. The Toy Story franchise has retained its tone, the charm and personalities of its characters, and the general good vibes since the first film in 1995. Toy Story is also the film that sparked a long and highly successful string of films, including Finding Nemo and Up, which is the first CGI film to be nominated in that category. It really excites me to think of what Pixar will come up with next!
The humor in this film - though sparser than I had expected - hit a home run. I especially enjoyed the interactions between Barbie and Ken, as well as the sequences with Bonnie's toys (how can you not love a thespian porcupine in lederhosen?). Here is where the movie fits for everyone. There's a lot of slapstick and physical humor for the little ones as well as some more clever jokes and even risque jokes that go over their heads and are aimed more at adults.
In keeping with Pixar tradition, this movie made me cry my eyes out during several scenes. Of course the idea of Andy going off to college hit home with my mother and me, but it was also the idea (emphasized toward the end) that you're never too old to play and use your imagination. This is why I love Pixar films, they really do drive home important lessons for children, like perseverance or friendship, in a realistic way.
As to the appropriateness of the film, I say everything is fine but for one element: the monkey. Younger or more easily frightened children might not like this character. Even I found him a bit creepy. Other than that, parents should find no objections to the film.
If you're like me, you enjoyed not the first two Toy Story films, but also most of Pixar's body of work. If you are indeed like me, go see this film!