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Toon Talk: Toy Story 3
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by Kirby C. Holt
TOY STORY 3
Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation Studios
MPAA Rating: G
3’s a Charm
Coppola couldn’t do it. Lucas couldn’t do it … twice. Peter Jackson did it, but he had a little help from Tolkien. Now, Pixar has done it, “it” being creating a film trilogy that is completely satisfying from beginning to end.
Coming eleven years after its immediate successor, expectations for Toy Story 3 couldn’t have been higher. Impressively, the Pixar team avoids the dreaded “threequel” curse, giving us a film that is rich with humor, excitement and emotion. Building off of and expanding upon the Toy Story universe, director Lee Unkrich and his crew bring the story to a bittersweet end, earning each and every laugh and tear along the way.
Following a gleeful wild west prologue in the tradition of Toy Story 2’s “Adventures of Buzz Lightyear” opening, we learn that a now-17 year old Andy (voiced, as with all three movies, by John Morris) is on his way to college. This particular right of passage strikes fear in the plastic hearts of Andy’s remaining toys, their fates unknown. Woody (Tom Hanks) tries to reassure Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack) and the others that they will stay together, even if it is as just the proverbial toys in the attic. But when an unexpected chain of events finds them all dumped off at the local daycare center, their futures look bleak.
Or are they? At first glance, it looks like Sunnyside Daycare is a great place for a toy, with a never-ending stream of kids to play with, all under the seemingly benevolent leadership of a strawberry-scented stuffed animal named Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear (Ned Beatty). But all is not as it seems, and Andy’s toys must make a great escape to get back to the home they belong in, even if that may end up being someplace entirely new.
The previous Toy Stories have taken on the issue of mortality before, but here the theme takes center stage, handled directly and gracefully. Additionally, the idea that a family can be more than what you are born into is also addressed, powerfully so in an intense junk yard climax. It is in these moments that the characters become not just toys -- or animated images on the screen, for that matter -- but truly human.
Since their groundbreaking debut in 1995’s Toy Story, the trilogy’s leading men, Woody and Buzz, have grown and even matured ... not that there isn’t still room for comedy, such as when Buzz is reset in “Spanish mode”. Not to be forgotten is the rich supporting cast, including piggybank Hamm (Pixar regular John Ratzenberger), dinosaur Rex (Wallace Shawn), the loyal Slinky Dog (Blake Clark, seamlessly stepping for the late Jim Varney) and Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris). 1999’s Toy Story 2 added not only the spunky cowgirl Jessie and Woody’s faithful horse Bullseye, but the diva of the toy box herself, Barbie (Jodi Benson). Naturally, Barbie’s main man Ken makes his first appearance in Toy Story 3, hilariously brought to metrosexual life by Michael Keaton.
Through three cinematic outings, Andy’s toys have become beloved icons of childhood innocence and imagination. And, while watching their perfectly pitched happily ever after at the end of Toy Story 3, you’ll realize that you’ll always have a friend in them.
Toon Talk Rating: A
- Nicolas Cage stars in the fantasy adventure The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Disney, July 16).
- James and the Giant Peach lands as a special edition Disney DVD on August 3.
- The latest from Pixie Hollow, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, arrives on Disney DVD September 21.
-- Kirby C. Holt
-- Logos by William C. Searcy, Magic Bear Graphics
Kirby is a lifelong Disney fan and film buff. He is also an avid list maker and chronic ellipsis user ... In addition to his Toon Talk reviews, Kirby is the creator of Movie Dearest, a blog for movie fans.
Took Talk: Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt is posted whenever there's something new to review.
The opinions expressed by our Kirby C. Holt, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.
-- Posted June 23, 2010