|Toy Story 3 is a rare treat.||2 out of 2 users found this review helpful.|
Pixar is a studio that has yet to really strike out, despite one or two slight missteps that really shouldn’t count as such. However, it requires a special sort of magic to craft a trilogy that stays meaningful throughout all three entries. Toy Story 3 has managed to capture a bit of this magic, it’s just as funny and moving as Toy Story 1 and 2 while also moving the story forward in a meaningful way, leading up to a fantastic conclusion.
The film opens with Andy preparing to go to college. Before he leaves, his toys, including Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen), try one last time to get his attention, which they succeed at doing for only a brief moment, after which Andy decides to move them to the attic for storage. But then, in a mix up, the toys end up on their way to a day care center to be donated. Once there, the toys of their new home greet them graciously, but it turns out things aren’t as they seem. There is something sinister beneath the cheerful exterior of the head toy at the day care, an aging stuffed bear called Lotso (Ned Beatty). The truth behind his reign lies at the heart of the entire story. The rest of the film deals with the toys trying to find their place after being abandoned by their owner of so many years and how they overcome Lotso’s solution for the problem.
Pixar once again manages to make us empathize with these toys and their situation. We care about their fate, we feel for them when we realize what they have to go through just to get Andy to look at them. When we toss away our toys and enter the world of adulthood, we aren’t just throwing away pieces of plastic, we are discarding with them thousands of hours worth of memories, memories of events that once encompassed a great portion of our lives. The characters in Toy Story 3 are a personification of this nostalgia. It is their entire existence.
And that’s the true magic of the film, it’s why I found myself so connected to it. Though my old toys are not alive and never were, the spirit of Woody and Buzz and the rest of the gang being tossed aside by their owner does exist in my own life, in both a literal and metaphorical sense. When you grow up, you lose a lot of things, your friends, possibly your childhood home, and the comfort and safety of having parents who look after you. Separating from those things is not always a painless experience. Pixar infuses this harsh fact of life into the existence of their talking toys and it reaches out and touches each of us.
However, that magic wouldn’t exist if the characters themselves were not meaningful. Toy Story 3 benefits greatly from being the third film. We’ve watched these characters for well over ten years, we’ve seen what they have gone through in their devotion to Andy. We know what he means to them and what they once meant to him. So when we see him move on, or pull Woody away from a stack of toys doomed to the attic and actually consider taking him to college, it means something. It means something when Woody tries to escape the daycare and return to Andy. It also means something when the others, in an attempt to hide the pain of not being chosen, resent his wish to return to the owner that abandoned them. For a third time, Pixar didn’t just say,”Look, these toys are alive.”, they actually breathed life into them. They make us believe that both Woody and Buzz are alive and have feelings.
As if adding icing to the cake, the film is also incredibly funny, with many classic moments that are sure to make anyone, no matter how cynical, laugh on numerous occasions. The movie retains its playful style, with sly references to pop culture and witty lines that are bound to go over the head of younger members of the audience. That doesn’t mean the film doesn’t have moments built to entertain children, once again Pixar was able to craft a film that is funny to all. Which makes taking out the kids to see a movie an enjoyable affair for the entire family, not one that insults the intelligence of the takers.
This playful attitude is what infuses the more dramatic moments of the film which such touching power. The film doesn’t shy away from the prospect of a dark end for Woody and the gang and the ending is very bittersweet, tying the arc of the three films up beautifully. I dare anyone to not at least be on the verge of tears by the time the credits roll, as the final scene of the film is one of the most meaningful Pixar has ever crafted and it won’t leave long-term films feeling disappointed or shafted in the least.
Pixar is the greatest treasure in animation and once again they have given us a story that elevates the genre beyond something to give the kids to do on a Saturday afternoon. Toy Story 3 is a film full of wonder and tragedy, laughs and tears. It takes what the studio built in the first two movies and extends it to a lovely, touching conclusion. I’ve used the word magic in this review several times and I’m going to use it once more, magic such as the Toy Story trilogy doesn’t come along very often, but when it does, it’s one of the greatest joys in life.
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Toy Story 3 Trailer
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
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