The date was November 22, 1995; a date that changed cinema history forever. A small computer company named Pixar, released Toy Story around the globe. Since that day the movie has become one of the biggest landmarks in film history, and Pixar has become one of the most respected companies in the world. The thing that made Toy Story so special was the fact that Toy Story was the first full-length computer animated film, and fortunately, it is also the best one ever made.
It only took Pixar four years to work their magic again and release a full-length sequel, that not only lived up to expectations, but exceeded them as well. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 instantly became two of the most influential and most important films in cinema history... but there was more to these films than technological innovations that made them so important to the world. The Toy Story films reached an audience unlike any other film in cinema history. The two films touched the hearts of millions of children and adults. The two films firmly stood as testimony to the world that animated films are not just for kids. The themes and elements presented in the first two films were unlike anything ever seen in an animated feature before. The films not only contained drama, but they also had truly mature and emotional themes that could move a person to tears. Elements regarding abandonment, life and death, and maturity in life were all major themes that were expanded upon in the films.
Launched four years after the first film, Toy Story 2 was just as perfect as the first film. Some people argue that it's even better than the first film.
Children grew up watching their favorite drug, Toy Story. It's hard to find someone who didn't grow up watching Toy Story as a child, or watched it with their children. The films are simply classics. I remember as a wee little lad waiting for the third installment in the series... but it never came. The worldwide audience had given up on any possibility of a Toy Story 3.
Then one day in the year 2008, Pixar announced to the world that the long awaited Toy Story 3 would receive a world-wide release during the summer of 2010. I nearly jumped through the roof with joy. Finally, after a ten year long wait, Toy Story 3 is playing in theaters around the globe. With an incredible reputation that the series has built, and unbelievably high expectations to fulfill, does Toy Story 3 soar to infinity and beyond, or does it belong in the attic with all of our abandoned toys?
Taking place years after the second film, Toy Story 3 stars all of the toys that you have grown to know and love. There's still the overly-anxious dinosaur, Rex; the incredibly knowledgeable piggy-bank, Ham; the friendly yet courageous dog, Slinky; the stupid, but loveable horse, Bullseye; the beautiful cowgirl, Jesse; the loving spuds, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head; the space-ranger Buzz Lightyear; and the greatest Cowboy of all-time, Woody. Pixar has even thrown in some new toys into the mixing bowl in order to spice things up. As you've come to expect the cast to Toy Story 3 is just as strong as the past two films. The characters may look like plastic, but their dialogue and characterization are made out of solid steel.
I will avoid speaking a lot about the plot to the film simply because I believe that the less you know about the film, the more you will enjoy it. But for a basic outline, Toy Story 3 mainly deals with the same concepts regarding abandonment from the previous film, Toy Story 2. Andy is now seventeen, and he's going to college. Which can mean only one thing; does he keep his toys, or pack them up? Through the events of that take place during the film, the toys end up getting sent to a day care, and from there on the film turns into "The Great Escape." I will not say anymore about the plot from there, because it is something that no one wants to have spoiled for them. However, I will say that the plot is just as brilliant as the other two films. It is full of plot twists and rich and dynamic characters.
Speaking of characters, let's talk about the cast in more detail. As mentioned before, all of the major characters from previous films have returned in the film in full glory. Every character seems to get a special moment where they are fully explained to the audience, and we become closer to them unlike ever before. It is something truly sweet to behold, and only a person who has grown up watching the films will understand how satisfying this can be. Most of the new characters in the film are incredibly deep for entering into the trilogy for the first time. The new bear, Lotso (Ned Beatty), is one of the deepest and most well-crafted characters in the entire trilogy. The cast is definitely more mature than the previous films. All of the characters have bonded with each other, and are more developed. There's definitely a lot more to these characters then there was before.
The design to the film is top-notch. Everything looks impeccable. Humans finally have a look that sets them apart from the toys. The flawless writing has also improved, along with the already perfect pacing. In short, nearly everything in Toy Story 3 is perfect. However, the overall feel of the film is definitely different than the previous two films. Pixar was obviously taking the series in a new direction, and they made it work.
I must also mention the flawless voice performances. Tom Hanks (Woody) goes over the top again. He is simply perfect for every role that he is cast in, and I find it amazing that he could return to a role that he has not done in over ten years,and do it again flawlessly. Tim Allen (Buzz) also deserves just as much credit for doing the same thing with his character, Buzz Lightyear. All of the cast is incredible, Ken (Michael Keaton) and Barbie (Jodi Benson) almost steal the show.
John Morris (Andy) and Erik von Detten (Sid) return in the film as their original characters. (See if you can spot Sid in his entertaining role in the film.)
The music to the film is just what you would expect from a Toy Story film; it is epic. Randy Newman returns for the third time and sings appropriate songs for the film, and the actual score itself surprised me. I was not expecting the music to be so grand in the film. Half way through the film, I turned to my brother and said, "The music is really good to this one." I think he didn't hear me... maybe because he was listening to the music? The musical score in my opinion, is the best of the three movies, which is saying a lot.
As the Toy Story films get farther and farther into the series, they get darker and more mature as they go. Toy Story 3 is not only by far the darkest of the three films, but it is by far, the darkest and most dramatic film made by Pixar. Sure the film is full of a ton of jokes that made me laugh, but, the main basis of the film was its story, which was a dark drama. For the first time in a Pixar film I felt kind of freaked out and disturbed by a particular character. (Name rhymes with... Maybe.)
Toy Story 3 was simply a flawless film. Sure there were some things that really bothered me, such as montage of "Freak Out," some potty jokes that felt too Dreamworksish, (If that's even a word) and I really wasn't a fan of the Spanish speaking Buzz, but that part was a short part of the film, and it went better than I expected it too. I am willing to excuse all of the things that bothered me because it really didn't ruin the film experience for me.
But what really made the film for me, and I think everyone else, was the ending. The last fifteen minutes of the film soared to a new level of drama and emotion for me that I have never seen before. I was watching the film, and could not believe what I was seeing. The film did not end how I was expecting it too. It was actually the exact opposite of what I was expecting; I will not say what happened, but to put it simple, Toy Story 3 made me cry. It was a painful, and almost tragic ending. By the time the credits were rolling, I was wiping away tears so that I could look manly for my girlfriend.
Some people may find it funny or just plain embarrassing that a kids movie made me cry; but they probably didn't grow up playing with their own Woody or Buzz Lightyear toys, or watching the movies. They won't understand the emotional connection that I have with the film. Over the years Toy Story has grown to be a part of me. And it was hard to see it leave.
Whether or not Pixar intends to make a Toy Story 4 is unknown. But I think that they were trying to say, "This is the end." To put it simple, I will be mad if they make a Toy Story 4. The ending to Toy Story 3 was just too powerful. It is definitely the must see movie of the summer. Anyone who thought that Dreamwork's had beaten Pixar with "How To Train Your Dragon" needs to see Toy Story 3. It is an unbeatable film, and a perfect conclusion to one of the greatest trilogies of all time. In the end, Toy Story 3 succeeds in the mission of the franchise, and it soars into infinity and beyond.
VOICE PERFORMANCES: 10/10
MUSICAL SCORE: 10/10
REPLAY VALUE: 10/10
TOTAL SCORE: 10/10