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 1999 called “Toy Story 2” which was almost every bit as successful as the original all the while expanding on the story of Woody and Buzz, and all the toys owned by a boy named Andy.
The first sequel left a resolution rather open to another sequel and now more than 10 years later, the “story of the toys” births a second sequel that more than expands on the characters brought forth by the first two films but brings the story into full circle with “Toy Story 3”.
Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and Buzz (voiced by Tim Allen) lead the rest of the toys to determine their final fate now that Andy is about to enter college. Worried and troubled, the toys fear the dreaded garbage truck as their final stop. Without intending on it, and because of some weird stroke of bad luck and a series of misconceptions, Andy’s toys do end up being donated at a local day care center. Overjoyed that they will be played with again, Andy’s former toys (made up of Jesse, Bullseye, Rex, Mr. and Mrs. Potato head, Slinky Dog and Hamm) welcome their new home as they hope to give new children some fun and games as the place is nicely promoted as a “dream” by a “Huggin” Bear (Ned Beatty). This so-called “dream” later becomes a nightmare for Woody and his group as they find themselves held as prisoners by the Bear and his army of other toys so that they can be the ones played with by crazy toddlers. Now, Woody must help his friends escape with or without the aid of an “amnesiac” Buzz Light-year…
Being a sequel, the film follows through with the established elements of the toy’s emotions and themes of the fear of being ‘forgotten’. The first movie had the slight theme of jealousy as Woody was almost put aside in place of a newer, “spiffier” toy. The second film went further into the relationships between an owner and his toy as the idea of being “outgrown and disposed with” becomes a dreaded possibility. “Toy Story 3” expands on this concept as the inevitable as Andy has grown up to a young man who is about to leave for college. So what happens to the toys when a boy becomes a man? Well, for Woody and Buzz and their friends, the answer is a little darker than the previous films; but it all makes them come together as a family. The “Toy Story” franchise has always been a one that relies on a simple formula and yet so effective. It always seem to close with a narrow escape and that their fear of being “forgotten” all resides within their plastic hearts surpassed only by their loyalty to a boy named Andy.
Much like the first sequel that brought us new characters in the form of Jesse and Bullseye, this second sequel brings us new characters in the form of a “hugging Bear” and Ken (Michael Keaton); it also introduces us to a “girl-toy” named Barbie. The film’s strongest points come from the wild blend of drama, comedy and action brought together by director Lee Unkrich and screenwriter Michael Arndt as they have fun with the settings of the daycare center. Homages to “Bridge to the River Kwai” and “The Great Escape” are all over the place as we also get to the see the “Metro-sexual side” of a toy named Ken. The film makes its aim to be more whimsical than actual solid laughs (but it is pretty funny), that may have caused some parts of the film to feel a tad uneven as the pacing drags a little in the middle part of the film.
Aside from the toys in the daycare center, the viewer is also introduced to the toys owned by a small girl (voiced over by Bonnie Hunt, Timothy Dalton, Jeff Garlin and Kristen Schaal). The scenes provide a lot of room for potential and opens up a new world of ideas. I know the scenes are real necessary to get to a credible resolution to the film, but there were times that I felt like the film was becoming perilously close to being crowded with scene after scene of different groups of toys but I was happy to see that the direction had the discipline to actually see things through.
I’ve mentioned that the film was a little darker when compared to the previous two films, and the scenes in the daycare may be plain funny to the untrained eye, but it was a little unsettling to see the torture that these toys went through under their captors. The Baby toy sure was a little creepy as with the manner the other toys reacted with anger brought on by blind loyalty and fear. Sure, they were funny in a way, but the cruelty shown by the Bear and his gang is just really cruel if you look at it from a toy’s viewpoint. But the direction barely misses as a step as it serves up the scenes with Woody and Buzz as the film’s most memorable scenes, as we see their special bond becomes the central focus. I also commend the efforts of the filmmakers in developing the group either by their expressions or mannerisms or even by the mere comedic antics of the Potato head couple. There is also a clever scene with a “suave, dancing Buzz Light-year”.
I suppose that if the film had a flaw, is that some details were left unresolved and the direction came close to making some scenes a little too heavy-handed. There is also a question as to what happened to the toy Woody was (ahem) dating? The “Prairie Lady” (Bo Peep) toy seemed to have disappeared without any explanation (I re-watched the first two films before I saw this). Also, the film did have a plot hole that I thought shouldn’t have been ignored but I suppose the film was energetic and endearing enough for me to forgive some of its flaws. The film does effectively close out the story of the toys of a boy named Andy and is sincere with its themes of friendship and misplaced anxiety. The only issue I fear now is, with such a great closure, Pixar may decide to begin the saga all over again and I do hope not. This was the best exit the franchise can ever hope for and following it up with another sequel would be too cheap.
The animation is as excellent as ever. The movements are smooth, fluid with the motion-capture done near perfectly. The atmosphere was colorful as ever and yet it had that perfect dark tone to it when necessary. You might say that I have a "but" coming, it is just that if you look real closely, the texture of the supposed human skin and the tone of the plastic toys looked very simialr and it is hard to distinguish aside from the occasional freckle. Human skin should be more--shall we say imperfect and not 'fake' smooth? It is hard to explain, but it is noticeable.
I guess “Toy Story 3” is indeed one of the best films to ever come out of Pixar’s creative offices. It stands hand in hand with the first two “Toy Story’s” along with “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles” which are also two of my favorite Pixar movies to date. I have often declared myself as a someone who isn‘t a fan of Pixar, and I not a fan still. “Toy Story 3” may well be one of Pixar’s best and the film is real good; boasting of stellar animation and excellent voice acting. I have seen two awesome animated features this year with “How To Train Your Dragon” and “Toy Story 3”. The race for Best Animated Film is on for 2010…
Highly Recommended! [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
HYPE LEVEL: Extremely and Positively HIGH! But it meets Expectations. 3D is not necessary...
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
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
This is the list of feature films that Pixar had released before this year: Toy Story (1995) A Bug's Life (1998) Toy Story 2 (1999) Monsters, Inc. (2001) Finding Nemo (2003) The Incredibles (2004) Cars (2006) Ratatouille (2007) WALL-E (2008) Up (2009) I've seen all but A Bug's Life. All of them range from good (Toy Story 2, Cars) to all-time great (WALL-E). The first 15 minutes of Up are simply tremendous, but the movie gets a little more childish after that. … more
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 ...