Theatrical Review: TOY STORY 3

James Wallace

by: James Wallace
June 17th, 2010

Rating: 5/5

Writers: Michael Arndt (screenplay), John Lasseter (screenplay), Andrew Stanton (screenplay), Lee Unkrich (screenplay)
Director: Lee Unkrich
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Timothy Dalton, Bonnie Hunt, Whoopi Goldberg, R. Lee Ermey
Studio: Disney Pixar

Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and the whole gang are back in Disney Pixar's latest adventure in the beloved series. But times, they are a changin', as Andy is all grown up and has since grown out of playing with his plastic pals, leaving them to a life of solitude in their toy box tomb. With Andy leaving for college at the end of the week, he is faced with a decision...a crossroads of life between boyhood and manhood if you will. To leave behind his childish ways and donate his toys or to hold on to the memories by holding on to them and storing them away?

Andy chooses to stay on as Woody's favorite deputy, deciding to take the cowboy off to university with him while Buzz & Co. are left to take up residence in the antique retreat known as the attic. But, through a series of unfortunate, Mousetrap-like events, Andy's mom mistakes the toys for trash and ships all of them off, Woody included, to Shadyside Daycare. Though it might sound like a retirement resort for second-hand trinkets, it's more like a prison for playthings run by a diabolical, deceitful warden in the form of a not-so-cuddly stuffed pink bear named Lots-o-Huggin' (voiced by veteran character actor Ned Beatty) with a metrosexual Ken doll (Michael Keaton) as his right hand man. Thus, the toys must pull off a daring escape from this adolescent Alcatraz or be doomed to a life of being slobbered on, torn up, and having limbs pulled off by a steady stream of terrifying tikes.

Boy, oh, boy has Pixar out done themselves with the latest TOY STORY, easily the most action-adventure driven, fun-filled, laughter-enducing, and genuinely heartwarming film of the series. If sequel slumps are hard to overcome - TOY STORY 2 being a great example of a film that proves that idea wrong - then the third in a trilogy is harder even still. Following suit, TOY STORY 3 is that rare find, feeling as if it's still in mint condition and presented in its original package.

And yet, the film does feel like a new model in some ways, new and improved with Kung Fu grip. The most prominent being its use of gorgeous photorealistic animation and 3D, including a few scenes in which I had to remove my 3D spectacles (which I often forgot I had on due to complete emersion) to rub my eyes out of disbelief for what I knew was artificial but thought was completely and 100% tangible.

Speaking of 3D glasses and rubbing my eyes, leave it to Pixar to push the boundaries with their every picture not only in the area of animation but in the area of how said animation can emotionally effect the viewer. I think friend and film critic Katey Rich of Cinemablend said it best when she said "Upside of Pixar movies being in 3D: no one sees you cry behind the glasses." I'll say! And I'll say this...if the beginning of UP brought a tear to your eye, then you may want to buy an extra-large box of Kleenex to go with your extra-large tub-o-popcorn for the end of TOY STORY 3.

The film takes a hold of you like the claw machine at Pizza Planet, reminding you of what it was to be a kid and that moment where you suddenly realize you are not one anymore. Furthermore, reminding you that, even though you may not be young in age, you can always be young at heart. Hold onto that ideal, and 50 can feel like 5 if you also hold onto imagination. Luckily for us theater goers, Pixar's TOY STORY 3 is plentiful in that department, providing us with a wonderful film that is able to take viewers to infinity and beyond.

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