We’re switching it around for Toy Story 3. After all, a very special movie deserves a very special review.
I was fortunate enough to watch an unfinished cut of the continuing adventures of Buzz and Woody as well as the 3D theatrical version. Thomas saw Toy Story 3 in its final stages (sans music), and Phileas screened the completed film with a fresh mindset.
We all have a lot to say about part three, but one thing is clear between each of us: Pixar has a perfect trilogy on their hands! To avoid spoilers, skip to Final Verdict at the bottom.
Martin: Toy Story 3 takes the humor of the first two films, turns up the emotion and leaves you with an original, yet nostalgic take on a combination coming of age/prison break story. The film begins with an outlandish scenario which is soon revealed to be owner Andy’s wild imagination. From this moment on, you understand why the toys long to be played with after years in storage — tears were shed.
Almost a decade later, a twist in fate involving Andy’s mom lands the toys on the curb which sets Woody off to the rescue! As you know from the trailer, the gang ends up at Sunnyside Daycare. Although the facility has a healthy allure to it (not just because it’s inhabited by a bear that smells like strawberries) it is quickly revealed to be run like a prison by Lotso and his gang. This portion of the film gets quite a lot of laughs, mostly from Ken’s and the original gang’s antics.
We also get to meet an adorable, daycare-age character named Bonnie. She’s as imaginative as Andy with a room full of toys, including Mr. Pricklepants, Buttercup and Trixie, which are all great additions with hilarious chemistry. Also in the room is a sad clown by the name of Chuckles. He reveals the heartbreaking back story of Lotso’s original crew (of which he and Big Baby were a part of) and their owner Daisy. From this moment on you feel for Big Baby who is no longer a soulless piece of vinyl, but an innocent and ultimately loveable infant. Tissues are mandatory for this portion.
The third act of Toy Story 3 is the most emotional. As the toys escape, there are funny moments (like the Spanish Buzz segment and Mr. Tortilla Head), but the bottom line is that the toys are in real peril. Woody’s elaborate escape plot (involving taking out a crazy chimp) almost works out but goes wrong at the last minute and the toys end up in a landfill with Lotso.
The stuffed bear is poised for a redemption that never quite happens. At this point, it feels as though Woody and gang are goners. But the real tear jerker here involves letting go. This special moment alone brings the trilogy full circle, finishing Woody’s story arc.
Thomas: Returning to the world of Toy Story was so much fun. Woody and Buzz are back, still carrying their fatal character traits. It was nice to see consistency amongst the films. However, this time around, I felt more depth to each of the characters, adding to a fuller, more wholesome feel. Ken will probably go down in history as a lot of people’s favourite Toy Story character.
Phileas: What makes Toy Story 3 unique is the introduction of a plethora of new characters. Some stand outs: Lots-o- Hugginʼ Bear, Barbie, Ken, Trixie, Mr. Pricklepants, Stretch, Big Baby, Dolly, Chatter Telephone – voiced by movie greats such as Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton, Jodi Benson, Whoopi Goldberg, and more.
There is a comparable number of new characters to returning faces. Each one adds to the already-captivating story and I guarantee you that these new characters havenʼt just been chucked in – they work in tandem, which makes the movie that much more appealing.
M: The voice talent in Toy Story 3 is golden. In fact, all of the original cast is spot on, even after 15 years. The additions only plussed the work, in my opinion. Personally, Rex is my all time favorite Toy Story character and Wallace Shawn continues to deliver the Tyrannosaurus’ lines with amazing clumsiness. With that said, you’ve got to love Tom Hanks’ Woody and Tim Allen’s Buzz.
But the real show stealer here was Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Ken! Although some of his humor was misguided, he didn’t fail to get the entire theatre going, especially in scenes with Barbie. As far as emotion goes, Big Baby’s backstory cemented him as my favorite character from part three. Behind his creepy facade is a sweet, innocent character that even Lotso can’t break.
P: Director, Lee Unkrich, certainly hasn’t disappointed with the second sequel to “Pixarʼs baby”. It may seem like a recipe for disaster, but, as Pixar has always done, they’ve dished out a timeless favourite.
The animation is great, after all, this is a Pixar movie. Character designs are as ‘believable’ as any tangible toy can be. Whether we’re looking at vivid backgrounds during the daytime or mysteriously dark lighting at night, the film’s art direction is second to none.
M: Toy Story 3 has the aura of a modern Pixar film while retaining the feel of the original and its sequel. Nostalgia can’t be escaped — there’s no way! For example, Woody is still the same cowboy that you saw in 1995, he just went through a tiny bit of plastic surgery (pun intended), but thanks to the miracle of modern science, you can’t tell.
As far as music goes, Randy Newman continues to amaze me with his whimsical western tunes and booming action orchestrations. I was especially impressed by "We Belong Together" but hearing "You’ve Got a Friend in Me" towards the beginning caught me by surprise, although looking back, I don’t think it should have. I give the score an A+ and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
T: Not many film studios can say that they have a 3 for 3 trilogy. Lee Unkrich and his team have not only met the expectations that John Lasseter set in the first two, I believe he has exceeded them. It’s easy to see that Pixar genuinely had a continuation that they wanted to tell and as always with Pixar, story is king. I look forward to seeing the final 3D version of TS3 in theatres soon, and I hope you do too!
P: The Toy Story series has always been a part of my upbringing. So, when it was announced that there would be a “three-quel”, it can be said that there was a lot to live up to. The third movie had to end the narrative perfectly. It also had to match the wit and quality of the first two movies. Toy Story 3 lived up to my expectations and I’m confident it will touch moviegoers young and old!
M: If you have a heart, you will love Toy Story 3. It’s as simple as that. I honestly can’t imagine anyone who won’t be moved by this superb achievement in filmmaking. The reason behind this is also simple, we can all relate to the toy’s struggles. If you have to, take the naysayers with you. They will be proven wrong… way wrong.
Things to look out for: Sid is in the film along with the infamous skull shirt. References from around the world of Pixar abound in Sunnyside and in Andy’s room. Although most of you probably know where A113 is, look for the Pizza Planet truck in a flashback sequence. Also, stay for the credits, there’s a great epilogue that you won’t want to miss!
Toy Story 3 begins playing in theatres this Friday, June 18th, 2010! Pre-order your tickets now, and remember, select theatres have it available in Disney Digital 3D and/or IMAX 3D.
Now all that’s left is your opinion. Let us know what you think in the comments once you’ve seen Pixar’s latest masterpiece, Toy Story 3.