Eleven years have passed since the characters of the Toy Story universe came out to play yet to fans of the franchise it seems like just yesterday. With the Disney/PIXAR magic and creativity in full effect it’s hard to dispute that this sequel is every bit as fantastic as the first film and is shaping up to be a serious contender for best movie of 2010. The 3D aspect seems a taste unnecessary for a movie like this but whether you see it with the added dimension or not, Toy Story 3 is a movie that MUST NOT be missed!
The toys of young Andy are in an uproar after their owner is all set to go to college. After a mix-up with some trash bags Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) and the gang think that Andy doesn’t care about them anymore and decide to be donated to a local daycare known as Sunnyside where they’re told they can be played with everyday. All seems to be okay but Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) desperately wants to convince the gang to return home knowing that Andy loves them and that he wants to take Woody to college with him. When it’s discovered that Sunnyside is not the happy place it seems to be, the kids are rough and the overbearing lord of the daycare Lot-o’-Huggin Bear (voiced by Ned Beatty) controls everyone, it’ll take everything they’ve got to reunite the family and find where they belong.
To get it out of the way: Toy Story 3 is one, if not the best, movie of 2010! That’s not surprising considering the PIXAR track record but for a trilogy of films this films sets the bar even higher. The story is filled with nostalgia for the first two films, starting with an opening train sequence that borrows dialogue from the opening of the first two movies, yet establishes a completely new environment with Andy’s departure and the inhabitants of Sunnyside. Fans young and old will be able to connect with this movie as the viewers who first saw this as children will understand Andy’s issues with his toys, and younger kids will connect with the character of Bonnie, a little girl who still sees a magical world every time she picks up a toy. The story and script is charming and sweet, filled with hilarious one-liners and will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering if the toys will make it back home, and just where home is for them. Approaching this from the angle of one owner growing up leaves the door open for more installments if the company decides to move on, yet it also tightly closes the door on the series as we know it. The group is terrified of being forgotten, yet as the ending implies, they will always be loved no matter where they call home because they have each other. One cannot mention PIXAR without discussing the animation and here it is breathtaking. Whether you see it in 3D or not the detail alone is worth salivating over. Toy Story 3 is one of those movies that benefits from seeing it more than once at the theater or on HD because the small details just pop like the opening scene with the wave of monkeys (from the Barrel of Monkeys) to the stitching on Woody’s vest. Sunnyside Daycare is simply beautiful on the big screen as the bright pastels and little toys that hide in the background all add to this mysterious world that the toys and the audience have never entered. The best way to describe this movie is magical because all the settings pull you in and make you want to learn more about everything that goes on. The PIXAR short before the film, Day and Night, is by far the most unique one they’ve done. It’s funny and actually inspiring making it one of the best shorts by far!
The different characters are just perfect and all the characters, even the supporting ones, have a moment to shine. Hanks, Allen, and Joan Cusack continue to provide the roles of Woody, Buzz and Jessie respectively, with the right amount of whimsy and sweetness. When Buzz goes into Spanish mode the relationship with Jessie is ramped up to provide a great love story that isn’t the main plot of the movie and never gets in the way of the story of Sunnyside. Jodi Benson and Michael Keaton steal the show as Barbie and Ken with Keaton providing the perfect voice for the metro sexual Ken doll who is seemingly trapped in the 1970s. Ned Beatty is a solid villain as Lotso who is essentially a different version of the Stinky Pete character from 2. The ones who don’t get the most time are the toys in the young Bonnie’s room, Mr. Prickle pants (voiced by Timothy Dalton), Buttercup (voiced by Jeff Garlin) and Trixie (voiced by Kristen Schaal). They are a hilarious trio and they definitely seem to be gearing up for another installment. Hopefully the thespian in lederhosen Mr. Pricklepants will become a more dominate character as he was hilarious.
By the end of Toy Story 3 you will shed a tear. There’s a moment towards the end where it genuinely seems the group won’t make it out, the way it’s filmed is more heart wrenching than in a live action movie and by the end you’ll be a blubbery mess. The toys of the franchise may not be dependent on Andy, but by the end you will find they are more than a family then ever before making this one to see with your family ASAP. The 3D aspect isn’t necessary but if you want to spend more time with the details it’s worth it. A beautiful film for the entire family, one that will make you feel like you’re just revisiting some old friends.