Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
|Featuring:||Cheech Marin (Lenny), Tom Hanks (Woody—voice), Michael Keaton (Ken—voice), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear—voice), Joan Cusack (Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl—voice), Whoopi Goldberg (Stretch the Octopus—voice), R. Lee Ermey (Sergeant—voice), John Ratzenberger (Hamm the Piggy Bank—voice), Wallace Shawn (Rex the Green Dinosaur—voice), Timothy Dalton (Mr. Pricklepants—voice), Bonnie Hunt (Dolly—voice), Kristen Schaal (Trixie—voice), Laurie Metcalf (Mrs. Davis—voice), Ned Beatty (Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear—voice), Jodi Benson (Barbie—voice), Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head—voice), Blake Clark (Slinky Dog—voice), See all »|
|Producer:||Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, Darla K. Anderson, John Lasseter|
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
“No toy gets left behind.”
Fifteen years ago I walked into a film called “Toy Story,” and I wasn’t happy about it for several reasons. First of all, I was of the age where kid’s movies no longer appealed to me, much less cartoons. Next, this particular kid’s movie wasn’t even a cartoon, but this new computer generated animation that I thought would never catch on. To top it all off, it was a movie about toys. That’s right: plastic, inanimate objects that come to life when no one’s watching. Needless to say, I didn’t leave the theater with the same cynical attitude with which I entered it. I was completely enthralled by a film that was both funny and engaging, and there was no hesitation from me when “Toy Story 2” came out five years later. I remember it being the first time I didn’t think of an animated film as just a cartoon, but an actual movie.
“Toy Story” was a revelation in filmmaking brought to you by Pixar animation. In the last fifteen years Pixar has continued to deliver incredible animated features for kids of all ages, even kids in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. From “Finding Nemo” to “The Incredibles” as well as last year’s “Up”, Pixar never ceases to produce winning films. While some of those movies may be more entertaining and complex, none of them are as endearing as “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2”. The folks at Pixar have brought us back to the world of Woody and Buzz Lightyear for one more adventurous romp that is a hilarious, touching, and altogether fitting conclusion to the “Toy Story” universe.
At the beginning of “Toy Story 3”, we pick up our friends years after their last adventure. Andy, their owner, is now grown up and is going to college. Buzz, Woody and the gang just don’t get played with anymore. They fear they will be deserted, put away in the attic, or even worse thrown away. Woody, the leader of the toys and Andy’s favorite, tries his best to keep everyone calm, but he too knows that Andy is growing up and their future is in doubt. Through a series of accidents, the gang winds up being donated to Sunnyside daycare where they meet a throng of new toys.
Sunnyside initially looks like Toy Utopia: a place where toys are loved and played with daily, never to be forgotten. Unfortunately, it turns out that it’s more like Toy Hell: a place run by a bitter toy bear named Lotso that makes all the new toys stay in the toddler room where they are mistreated day after day. Woody and the gang decide they must get back to Andy by any means necessary, even if it means escaping Sunnyside. This setup leads to quite an adventure for the gang, most of which takes place in the style of a classic “prison-break” film.
“Toy Story 3” is a superbly made film. The voiceover acting is outstanding, returning the likes of Tim Allen and Tom Hanks in the lead roles. Michael Keaton voices Barbie’s dream guy Ken in the film and is hilarious from start to finish. The messages in the film about loyalty, honesty, and friendship are timeless and presented in such a pristine manner.
It’s impressive that the viewer cares so much about these toys and their plight in life. It’s even more amazing that the filmmakers have made three films about them, and we still care as much as we do. Very few “part 3” films are worth seeing. “Shrek the Third”, “Jurassic Park III” and “Spider-Man 3” are just a few of many examples of poorer sequels to excellent films. “Toy Story 3” not only bucks that trend, but manages to be the most memorable of film of the franchise.
There’s not much negative I can say about “Toy Story 3”. Its content is on par with the first two films and falls securely into a G rating. My only complaint was the 3D. I paid the extra three bucks for the 3D showing for this film, and it was completely useless. Unlike “How to Train Your Dragon”, where the 3D greatly enhanced the picture, it did nothing for this film, and I would highly suggest you save your money and stick with the 2D version of “Toy Story 3”.
As “Toy Story 3” neared its end, I began to realize how attached I was to these characters. It was like they were my toys, and it was the last time I was going to get to see them. Even in an animated movie the filmmakers deftly remind us that we’re growing up, too. They do so with an ending that packs quite an emotional punch to anyone who has followed these films over the last 15 years. I see a lot of movies, none of which bring me to tears, but there’s just something about the end of this one that’s really nostalgic, and the handling of it cements the “Toy Story” franchise as one of the greatest trilogies of all time. On second thought, maybe viewing this in 3D isn’t such a bad way to go. That way if you happen to shed a tear, not that this reviewer did or anything, but if you happen to, it’ll be behind those glasses, and no one will know the difference.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.