August 24, 2008
by Kevin Powers
In January we learned that the third installment of Toy Story (pretty much the property that started Pixar's reign) will be rendered in 3D. Since then, a hyping but fake poster has cropped up and today IESB brings us word that in addition to the voices already cast, a couple more characters have already been cast. The supporting toys, Barbie and Ken, will be voiced by Jodi Benson (Ariel from The Little Mermaid) and Hollywood veteran Michael Keaton, respectively. If you're a fan of the series, you probably recall that Barbie made an appearance in Toy Story 2, for which Benson served as the voice talent. Her return to the series parallels other cast members, such as Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. New to the third film, however, is a notable role for Ken. Keaton seems a fine choice on that front and actually voiced a small role in Pixar's Cars.
We're not exactly sure on the extent of Barbie and Ken's participation in the plot. For that matter, all we really know about the film's storyline presently is that it deals with "Woody and his toy-box friends are dumped in a day-care center after their owner, Andy, leaves for college." I have to admit, the original Toy Story remains a formative experience in my appreciation for animation and my enduring love of Pixar. But the second and the upcoming third film don't really do much for me. This might be an unrelated comment, but sequels to Pixar films strike me as a bit irrelevant. Part of the success of the company's films is its wonderfully unique characters and storytelling. I think you lose some of that magic in a sequel. But I digress. I'm also not a huge fan of 3D, but I suspect the technology will probably find a nice home in this series.