The best thrillers rest on the shoulders of their villains. The 1963 classic escape film " The Great Escape" has a whole host of evil nazi bastards that try to stop our heroes from escaping from the prison camp. In "Toy Story 3" the bad guy is the cuddly purple bear "Lotso," who runs the Day Care center where the Toys end up. Make no mistake, this cuddly bear is as close to a Nazi as you'll see in a "children's film" this year. He is pure evil and shows no remorse at committing atrocious acts. And like all villains he has to be thwarted.
The thwarting comes during the thrilling escape sequences. In "The Great Escape" and "Toy Story 3" our heroes ( a tough talking all American cowboy and his gang) must evade sentries, security posts, roving patrols, spotlights, and friends that might snitch on them. They use technology like rubber band guns, Mr. Potato head eye balls, and bold improvisational skills to get out. They get inside information from old timers who've tried to get out and failed. There are complications, the power might go out as it does in "Escape" or in the case of "Toy Story" a main character may be compromised. Each are obstacles that need to be overcome to escape the oppression of the camp.
And finally, just like in "The Great Escape" just because the heroes are outside the walls of the prison, doesn't mean they are safe. The third act in "Toy Story 3" doesn't take place in the Day Care center, but rather, like in "The Great Escape", a place much more dangerous: the outside world. Here the dangers are more prescient and the villains are around every corner, even people once considered to be friends.
"Toy Story 3" is a classic Pixar: fun for kids and loaded with meaning for adults. One blogger noticed parallels with the story and the formation of Israel. While that theory is interesting, I just think the PIXAR geniuses, watched a lot of break out films before making "Toy Story 3." And while everyone is pining for the genius of "Inception," Pixar is giving us the break out thrills and the emotional chills.