The insidious influence of Rupert Murdoch has at last infected the once unimpeachable editorial standards of The Wall Street Journal (wait’ll they get to covering those Baltimore homeless slayings).  In the opening paragraph of a story ostensibly concerned with major media conglomerates producing in-house video game spin-offs of their films and TV shows, the “journalist” team of Merissa Marr and Nick Wingfield drop this bombshell:

“In Pixar’s coming movie Toy Story 3, Woody the cowboy and his toy-box friends are dumped in a day-care center after their owner, Andy, leaves for college.”

If this was public knowledge beforehand, it’s news to me (and AICN‘s Quint).  What to make of this first post-Andy’s bedroom installment?  I suppose it’s the natural progression of things:  the toys are in their autumn (or winter) years, being used and abused by kids who aren’t accustomed to having top-of-the-line playthings.  Should be heartwarming stuff.  But how do you keep this scenario from acknowledging the big “D”?  How much longer do the toys have before they’re busted beyond repair or torn to shreds?  I hate to burden a kids’ film with such ponderous notions, but the beautifully rendered existential quandary of Toy Story 2 – in which Woody refused display case immortality for the fleeting joy of being loved by a child – leaves me no choice.  There are high standards to be upheld here (I still think Toy Story 2 is the best film of 1999). 

Lucky for me that I’m heading up to Pixar this Friday for a tour of the facilities and a preview of Wall-E.  I don’t think Andrew Stanton had (or has) much input on Michael Arndt’s screenplay for Toy Story 3, but I’m gonna grill the poor bastard anyway. 

Lee Unkrich is directing Toy Story 3 (which is currently scheduled for release in 2010).  He previously co-directed Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story 2.