As a kid, I grew up not only watching but also absolutely loving the Toy Story films. I have very fond memories of both watching the films and buying and playing with all the Toy Story merchandise and toys that were sold. At the time, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were easily the best animated movies around. Offering clever scripts, loveable characters, fantastic animation and fun for the whole family, both films garnered much critical acclaim. Now we come to Toy Story 3. Our favourite toys have returned after an eleven year hiatus and are ready to rekindle the love we once felt towards them. The question is, is the magic still there or is Toy Story 3 ready to be tossed in the attic?
Toy Story 3 picks up quite a few years later and Andy is now all grown up. Confined to a storage chest, our favourite toys don’t see the light of day all that much anymore. Andy is now ready to go to college and he has outgrown his toys. While he wants to take Woody (Tom Hanks) with him, he has decided the other toys should go into the attic. Andy’s mom takes the toys and instead of putting them into the attic, mistakenly puts them in a bag on the curb to be taken by the garbage men. Thinking that Andy no longer wants them, the toys sneak into a box that is being donated to Sunnyside Daycare. Woody realizes that Andy’s mom has made a mistake and tries to explain this to the toys. But, before they know it, they are whisked away and they all end up in Sunnyside Daycare. While all seems perfect at Sunnyside Daycare, not all is as it seems. Woody realizes that the toys are in danger and must save them before it is too late. It is here that our latest adventure begins.
Let me start off by saying that Pixar has done it again. They’ve created a film that is truly astonishing in almost every regard. From the phenomenal voice acting, to the brilliant script, to the stunning animations and everything else, Toy Story 3 proves that it is one of, if not the best, Pixar film around.
I’d also like to note that Toy Story 3 is being offered in 3D and while I usually don’t mind 3D, I think it wasn’t the best choice here. The 3D really adds nothing; it doesn’t enhance the film in anyway and is more just a ploy to grab more money at the box office.
That being said the visuals are still eons beyond Toy Story 2. The visual design offers a beautiful colour scheme that is bold and dazzling. The detail is meticulous and the animations near perfect. The film looks great, no matter which way you see it.
All your favourite toys are back for round three. We get to see Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), The Potatoheads (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), Rex (Wallace Shawn) etc. All the characters that made the first two films so memorable are back for this outing and are as lovable as ever.
In addition to our old favorites we also get some new toys in the form of Lotso (Ned Beatty), Ken (Michael Keaton), Trixie (Kristen Schaal) and more. All the new toys are just as fun and enjoyable to watch as the originals and it’s a shame this is the last Toy Story movie because I would have liked to have seen more of these toys. All the voice acting is incredible and it makes for one of the best ensemble casts in recent memory.
Part of the reason the film works so well is because we are so familiar with the characters and we are so attached to them. For those of us who grew up watching the films, we get a real sentimental and at times, nostalgic feel while watching Toy Story 3. This time around, we get to see it all as the characters experience true peril, exciting adventure, genuine emotion, and the importance of love in one’s life. There is so much heart and soul behind the film and it is truly a beautiful and heartfelt swan song to a classic franchise.
Despite the fact that these are just toys, the film plays on our attachment to them. The film is very emotional and is sure to make even the toughest of us cry or at least feel truly sad. Out of the three films, this is the most mature as it has some truly frightening scenes that would scare most children. Director Lee Unkrich explores some very deep and mature themes and some of the scenes are quite dark. I was actually a bit surprised during some of the scenes as some of the content here is clearly aimed at an older the audience, the audience that grew up watching these films most likely. For those of you, who remember watching the old Toy Story films, prepare to be moved and enchanted.
That being said, the film is still consistently funny, with almost every gag and joke hitting its mark, the film will evoke as much laughter from you as it does sadness. It’s wildly inventive and keeps its deep and sophisticated plot while still offering something for everyone. Toy Story 3 offers a genuine joyous occasion.
The escape scene itself is truly remarkable as it is filled with suspense and humour while managing to remain one of the most incredible scenes out of any animation movie. It is a great action set piece that offers a ton of energy and adventure. Everything is firing on all cylinders during the second half of the film as the toys realize the danger they’re in and decide they’ll do whatever it takes to get back to Andy. Odes to films like Cool Hand Luke and The Great Escape fill the movie as the toys attempt their daring plan.
A couple things hold Toy Story 3 back from being a perfect film. Character arcs feel a bit weaker than in the last outing and the film is a bit overly dark for children, who will undoubtedly make up most of the audience. At times some of the scenes also feel a bit slow and unnecessary and I think the editing could have been a bit tighter. None of this really makes that big an impact though and Toy Story 3 is still able to come out in the end as a brilliant film.
Unflinchingly honest, undeniably funny, genuinely moving and a beautiful farewell to a beloved series, Toy Story 3 is a movie you must see. There really isn’t much wrong with it. It’s easily the best Pixar film I’ve ever seen and probably the best animated movie also.
Genuinely moving and a beautiful farewell to a beloved series, Toy Story 3 is the must-see movie of the summer.