I would not love this movie nearly as much as I do if it weren't for the original Toy Story. I grew up with these toys. I didn't care as much for 2, but that doesn't make me love these child's playthings any less. Woody. Buzz. Hamm. Mr Potato Head. Rex. Slinky. They might as well have been my toys instead of Andy's. I won't even go into what this film did for computer animation. That's a whole 'nother entry on its own.
I didn't say too much when I wrote up Toy Story 3 on a first view, but I did touch on my history with Toy Story. Watching this movie makes me feel like a little kid again. I know, it doesn't take much, but it's usually not as deep as this movie does. The humor is so silly and clever, and the toys are just adorable. Mr Potato head tortilla, paso doble Buzz (or really all of Spanish Buzz), the improv acting with Bonnie, the play sequence at the beginning, the aged Buster, the new voice talent, the old voice talent, metro Ken, Mrs Potato Head ploting, the Cool Hand Luke reference, the dialog, the animation.
I'm gonna break my no spoiler rule and talk about the ending. I feel this is a pretty innocuous spoiler to give, not a big offense. But this would be a good paragraph to skip if you wanna remain unspoilt. Although, if you care enough about this movie to care about spoilers, you really shoulda seen this two years ago. There's actually two points in the end that get to me. The first is when they're in the garbage dump, headed to the incinerator. After years of hijinks and getting out of sticky (sometimes literally sticky) situations, they finally reach one they can't get out of. They look around and realize they've reached the end. Resigned to their fate, they just calmly grab each other's hands and brace themselves for what's to come. That image just sticks with me. Its so simple and beautiful and sad. It's on the screen just now and I feel the tears welling up. But thankfully they get out of it just in time (thank you aliens), allowing us to get to the next moment that chokes me up: Andy passing on his toys to Bonnie. I too have such a hard time getting rid of things with sentimental value. When my parents had garage sales, I used to sneak out and rescue things. Just seeing the two of them play with the toys is even more beautiful. It's a perfect ending. Andy is allowed to grow up, just like those of us who saw the first Toy Story in theaters, and the toys are given a chance to live on so a new generation can enjoy them onscreen and off. Cue tears.