Like the first two films, Toy Story 3 simply captures you with emotional magic in film form. Entertaining, well-crafted, and emotional, this third film of the historical animated film franchise is powered by fun, fueled by intellect, and driven by heart. It is a fitting finale for a Pixar animated trilogy perfected in tone, delivery, timing, humor, and drama. Its charm goes to infinity and beyond.
Toy Story 3 Photo Slideshow courtesy of Walt Disney Studios
List of the New Toy Story Characters Featured in Toy Story 3
List of the Toy Story Classic Characters Appearing in Toy Story 3
This film can bring you back the old memories of your toys and literally wonder where they are now. Whether tears come out from your spectator eyes or not, its ending offers an undoubtedly heart-wrenching moment that grabs the child in you. And this can simply be described as “cinematic magic.” By taking a bunch of animated toys teaching people about the mystery of human lives and struggling through it, Toy Story 3 becomes a sentimental journey with a heartfelt mix of sugar and spice. Every scene is delightfully engaging and there is so much to be absorbed without straining its theme and story. The gags are all set in the right places until the film wraps up with an enchanting finale.
The well-embraced Pixar tradition of a short film preceding the main feature attraction is nothing but clever and enchanting. Day and Night directed by Teddy Newton, also the voice behind the toy character Chatter Telephone, is a masterpiece on its own and it perfectly complements Toy Story 3.
This third motion picture from the franchisecomes full circle. It’s a rare sequel that clearly endures the test of time. Like its theme and story, it mixes joy and sweet sadness for the complicated choices about staying in the comfort zone and embracing change. It emphasizes the relationship between toys and a child’s imagination. It’s about the inevitable moments of having to leave some things behind. It’s about the feeling of abandonment that comes with age and passage of time. And it’s about accepting how changes in life can sometimes be harsh and unfavorable.
Toy Story3 has a basic plot and a simple, straightforward story orientation. What makes it stand out from the rest? The filmmakers know what they want, they know what they’re doing, and they know how to do things with utmost sincerity. It has such a simple formula, yet the delicate combination of the various aspects of film production goes beyond being objective and quantitative. The challenge in reaching such level of cinematic marvel requires careful choices and bull’s-eye decisions for the script, choice of shots, animation requirements, audio requirements, and voice performances. It’s a candid story that delves about living life, feeling outdated, getting misunderstood, and facing things beyond your control. It answers the question about what happens when “playtime” is over in a figurative and emotional way that is surprising, self-realizing, and considerably hurting while still being gently comforting.
While it celebrates consumerism with its many brands and product placements, the genius in Pixar impressively manages to keep the film’s innocent pleasures of imagination. Toy Story 3 succeeds beyond its glossy and gleaming pixels both in 2D and 3D. It has a valuable script with animated characters as real as a child’s sense of wonder. It balances rollicking adventure, wrenching pathos, and brilliant humor in an exceptional package. Exuding with enough emotional resonance, it creatively ties up the first two films at a very suitable time: without having to rush things as how the mainstream filmmaking bible dictates it (think of how studios rush sequels for the sake of commercialism). It took years and years until the new technology now enables 3D films and how this era showcases a new age of toys to add up to the Toy Story collection. Even the actual voice behind the little Andy character of the past now renders his voice as a grown up young adult himself.
This third worthy installment kicks off with a brief playful sequence of breathtaking mastery, evocative detail, wonderful camera work, all aptly resolved in a true little boy’s eyes. It impressively opens up with a scene that reminds people of what Toy Story really offered more than a decade ago. And as the fun treats of the film progresses, it carefully blends the moments of sadness and ache that come along as life shifts towards another direction. On a lighter note, there is an appreciation for Pixar’s brilliance in making a nice, long gag reel side by side its closing credits. Aside from bringing a satisfyingly intelligent but fun resolution to the movie, it offers additional time to wipe away those tears before the screening finishes.
Pixar’s now trademark of “ingenuous storytelling” serves up yet another exceptional animated treat that doesn’t surpass its predecessors, but simply continues its virtuous tradition. The studio simply knows how to tell a brilliant story in an animated movie format without resorting to brainless gimmicks and cheap sentiments. It winds up its way gently towards its serious themes without grabbing desperately on them.
With inspired homage to jailbreak movies, director Lee Unkrich presents a thoughtful story about regret for the past and fear of the future. It’s nothing but worthy to mention much of the people behind this masterwork: writers Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich; producer Darla K. Anderson and executive producer John Lasseter; music composer Randy Newman; and the very long list of animators, production artists, and film crew who made the film what it is. As a clever piece of storytelling magic, this family-friendly movie illustrates a natural progression melding with ease in many levels of thematic resplendence.
On the technical side, Toy Story 3 lives up to the expectations. The characters design and animation are spectacularly detailed and well rendered. From Barbie and Ken’s robotic moves to the almost palpable strawberry smell of Lotso as how this gets established in the film, this emotional cinematic treat employs technical wizardry in par with its storytelling. The cinematography and production design are so vivid and fitting in every sequence and scene.
The vocal performances coming from a mix of the old cast and the newcomers create such powerfully emotional characters. Whether a major or minor role, each one really brings his/her character to life. Tom Hanks as Woody and Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear lead the pack of toy characters with such brilliance. Buzz’s Spanish mode is a hysterically fun treat. Aside from these two best buddies of the franchise, the audience shall remember such iconic performances from the many human and toy characters. To mention some: John Morris as Andy; Joan Cusack as Jessie; Ned Beatty as Lotso; Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head; Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head; Jodi Benson as Barbie; Michael Keaton as Ken; Wallace Shawn as Rex; John Ratzenberger as Hamm; Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants; Jeff Pidgeon as Aliens; Blake Clark as Slinky Dog; Emily Hahn as Bonnie; Jeff Garlin as Buttercup; Bonnie Hunt as Dolly; John Cygan as Twitch; Whoopi Goldberg as Stretch; Laurie Metcalf as Andy’s Mom; Bud Luckey as Chuckles; Beatrice Miller as Molly; Javier Fernandez Pena as the Spanish Buzz; and Lori Alan as Bonnie’s Mom.
There is so much to absorb in this animated opus for a viewer of any age. Watching it over and over again further makes a strong bond between the film and its viewer. Best advice: Buy the Toy Story Blu-ray collection once it hits the market. Such a release is truly worthy of anyone’s collection. It doesn’t sell just with merely crappy marketing materials and bonus features. It’s the actual film that hits every button from laughter to tears, from adventure to realizations, from audio-visual flair to earnestness. It’s “magically deep, sweet, painful, and real.”
Like its characters, the Toy Story films are to be treasured forever.