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Toy Story 3

The 2010 third installment in Pixar's Toy Story series.

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A Worthy Conclusion to a Ground Breaking Franchise

  • Nov 8, 2010

Considering the Toy Story trilogy spans 15-years, viewing it back to back can almost be used as a visual guide to the advancements made in the computer-generated feature film industry these past decade and a half.  The fact that this is animation pioneers Pixar (coupled to the Disney promotion machine) means that while the pixel popping visuals have improved exponentially in that span, the charm, heart, and timeless story telling elements introduced the first time around never wane throughout.

Toy Story 3 follows the tradition of picking up on the continuing story arc (and concluding it in fact) without really requiring its viewers to be familiar with the earlier entries to follow along.

When last we left the toys we first met in little Andy's nursery way back in 1995, they had accepted that despite ever decreasing playtime, they would stick with their kid so long as he needed them (the conclusion of Toy Story 2).  As is so often the case with children the world over, TS3 finds a 17-year old college bound Andy, with very little need for the loyal toys that escorted him through his youth.

Crammed inside his toy box while Andy and his mother begin packing his possessions for college, the toys find themselves facing one of two terrible fates: the garbage bag or permanent storage in the dreaded attic.  Believing that they’re about to be thrown away, the toys choose a third option: Donation to Sunnyside Daycare Center along with several of little sister Molly’s old toys.

The catch is that the toys are initially convinced they’ve found paradise with Sunnyside and its happy inhabitants.  But they soon learn that they’ve been tricked into service as “toddler-fodder” for an unruly group of kids with rough play habits.  Only after the realities of the situation are revealed to them is the depth of the conspiracy (led by a pink, stuffed bear named Lotso Huggin’) made clear.  From there the plot shits gears into prison-break mode and, not unlike Toy Story 2, finds our characters uncomfortably separated from one another and far from home.

As has been tradition in this franchise, new toys are introduced to the fold with varying degrees of success perhaps the most successful of which being Ken, Barbie’s plastic love interest (voiced brilliantly by Michael Keaton).

While the first two films provided childhood nostalgia but focusing on the innocence of youth, Toy Story 3 achieves the similar results by demonstrating the inevitability of growing older and the fact that while one generation advances, there is always another discovering the wonder of life right behind.

Critics seem to generally praise this piece while simultaneously reminding that it isn’t quite as memorable as the first two films of the franchise, but I am in disagreement with the latter sentiment.  In my opinion Pixar has used Toy Story 3 as an opportunity to advance their target demographic while proving that cleverness in story telling can be achieved on levels deeper than just gorgeous visuals.

Pixar has made a bit of a reputation out of epitomizing the Disney-esque “rated-G” sentimentality and while TS3 maintains the age-friendly charms, it’s quite apparent that this time they’ve gone the extra mile to insure humor that will appeal to the adults as well as the kids.  Ken’s sexual orientation is in question throughout, the villain this time is actually quite vile and even concepts like gambling and slightly suggestive dialog make the cut in the usually extremely sterile mythos.

Some insist that the shift to a grittier, more action driven plot cost the series some of its heart, but I’m of the opinion that it advanced the series to new levels.  Keep in mind that children who delighted in the first entry in theaters all those years ago would now be adults themselves.  Evolution of the material is inevitable both figuratively and literally.

In all TS3 is a success on just about every conceivable level.  The visuals, which are (as expected from Pixar) spectacular will dazzle children while the deeper levels of humor and action will make the experience far more enjoyable for adults.  It’s not as cutesy as the other two but in a sort of "art imitating life" sort of way, that is the reality of things.  I began this review by stating that this trilogy could be used to successfully demonstrate innovations in the computer generated animated feature film industry but perhaps more importantly, it could just as easily be used as a visual representation of the cycle of life itself.  The part of the grander story taking place here follows the arc of their time spent with one individual but, much in the way the first film opened without explaining to the viewer where the toys had come from or what adventures they embarked upon before having come into Andy’s possession, we leave our plastic friends with the promise that their adventures are far from over.

A Worthy Conclusion to a Ground Breaking Franchise A Worthy Conclusion to a Ground Breaking Franchise A Worthy Conclusion to a Ground Breaking Franchise A Worthy Conclusion to a Ground Breaking Franchise

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November 14, 2010
Great review, J, though I hope this isn't the conclusion of Toy Story! I'm holding out for a reunion :)
November 15, 2010
Devore, I'm with you on that! One can't help but note that Disney rarely pulls the plug on franchises that are so lucrative. This one alone broke the billion $ mark. I have a suspicion this isn't the last we'll hear from our plastic buddies. Thanks for the read/ feedback!
November 09, 2010
Great review, Rider. I still need to see this one. I keep wanting to go back to the older films first and re-watch each one.
November 10, 2010
Hey thanks Adrianna. I've always appreciated the Toy Story series but felt it was a bit on the cute/ kiddie side but 3 actually manages to do what I didn't think possible by maintaining the cute charm and blending it with a more adult-enjoyable plot structure. I do recommend it! Yea watching all three back to back would probably be quite enjoyable. Let me know if you pull it off and thanks again for the feedback.
November 15, 2010
I agree with you about the kiddieness of the Toy Story franchise. I'm curious as to how the blending of adult enjoyable plot structure worked with this one. I'll keep you informed if/when I pull it off. It won't be any time soon, though, because I'm crazy busy with graduate school applications.
November 09, 2010
I gave this a 4.5, but for some reason, after re-watching it I feel like I should have rounded down my rating. I also re-watched "UP" and now, I feel like I should've rounded down the 3.5 also. Nice review!!
November 09, 2010
BTW, you should check out what Alex has been up to! ;)
November 09, 2010
Interesting- a round down huh? What makes you think you over-rated initially? I actually was in debate as to whether I should give it 4 or 5 myself. I need to revisit Up myself come to think of it!
November 09, 2010
Aside from the formulaic devices, "UP" has a HUGE gaping plot misstep. The age of his hero--the old man was like what--around 70 or 75? His childhood hero should've been dead.
November 09, 2010
But you forget the beauty of cartoons, William. They don't have to follow reality. Walt Disney made this perfectly clear with some of his earliest pieces. Since then, all cartoons have this same standard and premise...the possible becomes impossible. Hence, why characters like Lisa, Bart, and Maggie never grow up...and Homer miraculously continues to live. ;)
November 09, 2010
that is true, great point you made, Adri. But sometimes, when something makes such an emotional impact, and then falls on unbelievable fantasy, it loses that wmotional attachment I would think...at least for me; such was the case of "UP".
November 10, 2010
I must say all this deliberation has forced me to order "Up"! lol no joking. I saw it once when it first came to DVD and now I'm itching to revisit it in HiDef. Review coming soon! I also picked up Pixar's "Cars Toons" collection. I've said it before, I'll say it again. Goodbye light of day!
November 14, 2010
William: My review for Up is, well up. I do agree with your criticisms though. Believe it or not some research reveals that the math works for the villain as he was supposedly 15-years Carl's senior (23 in the beginning when Carl was 8) hence 93 at the end as Carl is said to be 78. My conclusion was basically that the beginning of the film is fantastic, the second half not nearly as impactual (but some nice action and visuals). I revisited your review and now I must do Ratatouille! It sounds fantastic.
November 14, 2010
on my way...
February 07, 2011
Hey, Jason, congrats on the nomination! Did you expect this one to be nominated for 'best movie review'?
February 08, 2011
No, not at all mr. William! I'm super stoked though, man it almost makes this never-ending computer animated film run I'm working on all worth it lol. Thanks again for the heads up. I'm really quite honored just to be nominated.
November 08, 2010
EXCELLENT review, I still need to buy the DVD/Blu-Ray.
November 09, 2010
Thanks FM_A- believe the hype on this one!
November 08, 2010
Excellent write up! Informative, personable, interesting without revealing too much... well done! :o) wishing you laughter
November 09, 2010
Thanks so much Entwife!! The laughter was definitely there in this one. Now I'm counting down the days till Despicable Me! Stay tuned.
More Toy Story 3 reviews
review by . June 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Bittersweet Look into the Secret Life of Toys
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, …
review by . June 25, 2010
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4 ½ Stars: No Toy Gets Left Behind In The
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 …
review by . August 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I want my toys, NOW!!!
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 …
review by . February 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
review by . March 16, 2011
Toy Story 3 is another great film that definitely would have been on my Best of 2010 list had I seen it in 2010. I missed this in theatres and it killed me. But I finally caught it on DVD and concluded a great series. I love all things Pixar and I think Toy Story is easily their only movie that made a viable series. I still want to see Cars 2 and Monsters Inc 2 because even a bad pixar film would be fantastic, seeing as it has been established that Pixar can do no wrong. Anyway, Toy Story 3 is …
review by . June 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
review by . June 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A worthy completion of a classic trilogy
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 …
review by . July 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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, …
review by . June 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Some toys never get old.
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 …
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Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on Amazon.com) is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … 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 ...
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Director: Lee Unkrich
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
Release Date: June 18, 2010
MPAA Rating: G
Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Animation, Pixar Animation Studios
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