What has always appealed to me about the "Toy Story" films, aside from the fantasy that toys are secretly able to speak, is that they add genuine emotion to scenarios real toys find themselves in. In the first movie, Woody the Cowboy was threatened by the arrival of Buzz Lightyear, a new, high tech toy that upstaged Woody's nostalgic charm. In the second movie, Woody faced the possibility of becoming a displayed collectable, to be gawked at instead of played with. Now we have "Toy Story 3," and it follows its predecessors by introducing another unfortunate reality: That of a child outgrowing his or her toys. What's to become of them then? Sometimes, they're stowed away in the attic for sentimental reasons. Sometimes, they're donated to charities or daycare centers. Sometimes, they're thrown away. In any case, it always seems to end badly for the toys.
This is the situation that Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz (voiced by Tim Allen), and their toy pals find themselves in when their long-time owner, Andy (voiced by John Morris), prepares to move away from home, ready to start college. After a series of missteps and daring rescues, the toys wind up at a local daycare facility, which by all accounts seems like an ideal place. Plenty of children. No emotional attachment. Lots of other toys to befriend. But appearances can be deceiving; Woody's friends end up in the hands of aggressive toddlers, who are clearly too young to appreciate the value and delicacy of the toys they're given. Worse still is a tyrannical prison system overseen by the cuddly but heartless Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear (voiced by Ned Beatty). It's up to Woody, who was supposed to move to college with Andy, to rescue his friends before it's too late.
While not quite at the level of their previous masterpieces "WALL-E" and "Up," "Toy Story 3" still proves that the folks at Pixar are the real deal, masters not only of computer animation but also of story, characterization, writing, and directing. It's not merely a bright and colorful series of images for kids to stare at in amazement; it's an emotional journey for people of all ages, correctly founded on the assumption that even adults remember what it was like to be young, carefree, and devoted to their toys. It's incredibly funny, but it's also incredibly exciting, and there are moments of such wonderful sweetness that they bypassed my brain and found their way directly to my heart. It doesn't play down to its audience - it's sincere in its efforts to be both entertaining and heartfelt. It's also in 3-D, although I must admit, I'm finding the process less and less necessary with every new release.
Along with Lots-O', a number of other memorable characters are introduced. One of the best is Ken (voiced by Michael Keaton), both a direct reference to and a parody of the famous Mattel Ken doll. His footsteps are wooden and jerky, his joints limited in their flexibility. He lives in a spacious Dream House, and he flaunts a wardrobe-stuffed closet that even Carrie Bradshaw would be jealous of. He, of course, immediately falls for the newly-arrived Barbie (voiced by Jodie Benson), who's cute femininity belies a toughness that Ken would be hard pressed to outdo.
And then there are the toys owned by the loveable Bonnie (voiced by Emily Hahn), who Woody meets entirely by accident. Mr. Pricklepants (voiced by Timothy Dalton) is a stuffed hedgehog who fancies himself a master thespian. Trixie (voiced by Kristen Schaal) is a blue triceratops who seems to be somewhat of a computer nerd. Buttercup (voiced by Jeff Garlin), a plush unicorn, finds Mr. Pricklepants annoying. Dolly (voiced by Bonnie Hunt), levelheaded and calm, is a ragdoll whose look must have been inspired by Raggedy Ann.
Most of the characters we've come to love are part of this new story, including Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head (voiced by Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), Jessie (voiced by Joan Cusack), Hamm (voiced by John Ratzenberger), Rex (voiced by Wallace Shawn), and Slinky Dog (voiced by Blake Clark, replacing the late Jim Varney). Even after fifteen years of friendship, it's interesting to see the ways in which their camaraderie is tested. Take Buzz; when a switch on his back is tampered with, he reverts to his old self, once again believing he's an actual space pilot defending the galaxy from the evil Emperor Zurg. Attempts to fix him result in a hilarious language-setting malfunction, changing his voice - and his dancing moves - from English to Spanish.
"Toy Story 3" could have easily gone wrong; sequels, especially those beyond the second chapter, are generally inferior, serving mostly as a way to continue marketing a franchise. Despite being the third in the series, this movie just as fun, just as charming, just as good-looking, and just as fresh as the original 1995 film. Should I have expected a different outcome? At this point, it's becoming less and less likely that Pixar will ever go wrong. The people there know how to make movies. More to the point, they know how to tell a story. They understand that even animated films deserve mature themes that adults can appreciate. They're technical wizards. Their creativity is second to none. What will they think of next? Something great, no doubt.
I don't often make my way to the movie theater, but as a lifelong Pixar fan and in particular, of the Toy Story series, I just had to make my way out to watch the third installment on the big screen. And needless to say, I loved it. Absolutely loved it, just like I knew I would, and was told I would, even before watching it. The short preceding the film was fantastic as well. Though this is a seemingly far fetched film about a bunch of attention-starved, … more
The original “Toy Story” revolutionized the way CGI-animation was seen in the U.S. in 1995. The film defined the words “computer generated graphics” with its stellar animation and the fact that the film itself appeared to specially highlight this technological advancement in animation. It sure helped that it also had a stellar voice cast and an endearing story. The first movie made “Pixar” what it is today. Given its widespread success, it spawned a sequel in … more
Toy Story 3 came alive for me, in more ways than one. It is in ways like many animated movies, it takes human’s characters, personalities, fears and hopes, packaged them into a life-like situation, portrayed it in live on the screens and takes the viewers beyond what is real and surreal. Whether the stars are real or not, as in human beings and living things, is not of utmost importance. What is important is that it embodies human universal values. Afterall, this is a production by humans … more
After watching this film I have to admit that the Toys are my favorite Disney characters ever! In this one, Andy has grown up and is preparing for college. The toys are worried that they will be thrown away as Andy is no longer interested in them. Only Woody is sure that Andy would never do that. In fact Andy packs Woody to take to college with him and sets the other toys aside to put in the attic. Andy's mother accidentally thinks the toys are meant for the garbage and puts … more
In 1995, Pixar Animation Studios launched their first film. A movie called "Toy Story," that centered on the toys that belonged to a boy named Andy. When the franchise first began in 1995... Andy was just a boy. As was I, for a matter of fact. I was nine years old. I saw Toy Story, loved it and when Toy Story 2 dropped in 1999 I felt that I was not too old for it just yet despite blossoming into a teenager. Luckily, we never had to see Andy in his clunky … more
I went to the San Francisco Film Festival screening at Pixar Studios last night not really knowing what to expect. Toy Story has been with us for 15 years now (20, in terms of actual development) and I had a sinking feeling that maybe all the character potential had been used in the first two and this was some shameless plot by Disney to exploit the franchise ("Little Mermaid 2", anyone?). Well, shame on me for underestimating the capabilities of Pixar, who once again have shown how a … more
I tried to convince my wife to be the one to take my kids to Toy Story 3. My youngest son, especially, was begging to go, but while I was impressed by the first two, a long ways back, and saw them as showcases for the increasingly sophisticated animation techniques at Pixar, I didn't really love either one of them as much as A Bug's Life or The Incredibles or Wall-E or Ratatouille. Perhaps it's just the devoted toy concept that didn't quite move me. I'm not quite sure why, but … more
In a single word - perfect. While Toy Story 3 was in production, a friend of mine at Pixar (who was sworn to secrecy) would only describe it as "like visiting old friends". I have to agree with that sentiment. I was worried that Pixar had an uphill battle. After all, they were tasked with producing a worthy sequel to two of the most treasured animated films of all time, and the commercials that appeared on TV didn't do much to alleviate those concerns. However, … more
TOY STORY 3 Written by Michael Arndt Directed by Lee Unkrick Voices by Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty and Michael Keaton Hamm: C’mon, let’s go see how much we’re going for on EBay. There comes a point in every boy’s life when he has to grow up. Ok, fine. There are many points in a boy’s life when he must do this but going off to college is certainly an undeniable turning point. You … more
This 3rd installment of the 20-year-old Toy Story franchise is simply the most touching Pixar film to date. It combines the sense of wonder and nostalgia of the previous installments with a fresh plot—a perfect evolution to the story and characters that we already know—and top-notch animation that is equally enjoyable in its 2D or 3D presentation. In this new adventure, the story is as much about Andy, the toys’ owner, and the inevitability of change, as it is about the … more
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Toy Story 3 is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated film. It is the third installment in the Toy Story series. The film was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Lee Unkrich, who edited the previous films, and co-directed the second, takes over as director. In his place, Ken Schretzmann is the editor.
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn, Jeff Pidgeon, Jodi Benson, R. Lee Ermey, John Morris, and Laurie Metcalf all reprised their voice-over roles from the previous films. Jim Varney, who played Slinky Dog in the first two movies, and Joe Ranft, who played Lenny and Wheezy, have both died since the second film was released. The role of Slinky was taken over by Blake Clark, while Ranft's characters and various others were written out of the story.
Toy Story 3 was released in theaters on June 17, 2010 in Singapore; June 18, 2010 in the United States and Canada and June 24, 2010 in Australia. It will be released on July 19, 2010 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Originally the UK release was set as July 23 but has since been pushed forward due to its anticipated high demand in the country. Toy Story 3 broke the record of Shrek the Third as the biggest single day gross for an animated film, but it was unable to top Shrek the Third's opening weekend and, with a $110,307,189 gross, it received the second highest opening weekend for an animated movie. It is also the highest ...