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Review: ''Toy Story 3''

Toy-Story-3-Movie-Poster

In Toy Story 3, the wizards at Pixar Animation Studios dust off their most iconic characters for a spirited, playful rumpus. The movie has a noticeably irreverent energy, as if the filmmakers had decided to indulge themselves after cranking out so many masterpieces (Ratatouille, Wall*E, Up) and make something purely for sheer fun.

And what great fun it is! Eleven years after Toy Story 2, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of Andy's beloved toys are fretting about the boy's having grown up. Andy, preparing to leave for college, is cleaning out his room. Will his childhood playthings get stored in the attic to collect dust? Will they be put out on the curb with the rest of the trash?

The story hook of Toy Story 3, co-written by Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), is that Woody, Buzz and the rest wind up being donated to a day-care center, where manic toddlers smash them against walls and find out how far they'll stretch and bend. The concept is ingenious - a playground as torture chamber - and the movie essentially becomes a prison-break picture complete with an evil warden, a pink teddy bear (Ned Beatty) who isn't as kind as he seems.

Toy Story 3, which was directed by Lee Unkrich (Finding Nemo), introduces several other new characters, including an amusingly vain Ken (Michael Keaton) who seduces Barbie (Jodi Benson) with his extensive wardrobe, and a beat-up baby doll with a droopy eye that the movie occasionally uses to strike a note of fun, cartoonish horror (new territory for Pixar). A surprising darkness lurks beneath the bright colors and vivid 3D animation - this is really a story about aging and death - although the subtexts are subtle, and young viewers won't be disturbed.

This is also the most hyperactive of all of Pixar's films: The entire second half is essentially one long action setpiece that keeps raising the cliffhanger stakes, like an Indiana Jones picture. And the movie also has a taste for absurdist humor, such as a long, funny scene in which Buzz's inner machinery is reset to Spanish. That sequence, like so much of Toy Story 3, is self-indulgent but irresistible - a loving tribute to characters who have become engrained in the popular culture as deeply as Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny once did.

And the movie saves its biggest wallop for the last scene, a surprisingly moving depiction of the transition from childhood to young adulthood that will put a lump in the throat of many grown-up viewers. Even at their most playful, the folks at Pixar know how to give any story emotional gravity and weight. Toy Story 3 is a worthy and delirious final chapter to this hallowed animation franchise.

Toy Story 3 (***1/2 out of ****) opens in South Florida on Friday June 18.

Comments

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Charlie

yes toy story 3 has been greatly anticipated but isn't this just another was that Hollywood can ensure for itself that it will make a large profit? what happened to original filmmaking?..this summer is packed with sequels and remakes and it's a little dissappointing to say the least. indie films are the only ones stepping up to the plate to deliver truly original films and thats only because they have nothing to lose but everything to gain. oneproduction company that i have found to be exteremly original is I Made A Movie, they're so original that they even allow users to participate and give input in the production process. i recommend checking out their site.

Dan

To the guy above who is "Oh so original"--BOOOOOOOOO! Toy Story was as original and mold-breaking as movies get when the first one came out. I will be there with my kids when this new one opens to enjoy one more romp with these terrific, memorable characters. Think outside the box mister smarty pants--just because it's a sequel doesn't mean it's bad. (And just because something's "indie" doesn't mean its good, either.)

Charlie

Yeah I agree with you, the first Toy Story was great..but are 3 legs of the same story really necessary? I don't mean to pick on Toy Story alone..there are many other example of how Hollywood is trying to stretch it's successes in order to make as much profit as possible with as least risk as possible. I also agree with you about indies- they aren't all good films and I would never say that. However, I do think that they are the most original films, maily due to the fact that they aren't afraid to take risks and "think outside of the box". Instead of playing it safe by re-making old successes or adding a sequel targeted towards a devout audience, indie filmmakers are striving to produce the best possible film they can.

Like you, I will also go see the 3rd installation of Toy Story and I'll probably enjoy it- Pixar always does a great job on their movies. My last post simply stated that instead of trying to suck a story line dry in order to turn a profit, a little originality would be a nice change in Hollywood.

robcat2075

So interesting to read the above comments by "Charlie" parroting the commonplace cynics' common wisdom about sequels.

It turns out TS3 was everything he said it wouldn't be.

buzz lightyear toy

Toy story was brilliant it dragged a tad in the middle but it was building up to that great ending

emj195

Toy Story 3 Jigsaw IN BIG SCREEN --> http://newgreenways.net/toy_stroy_3.htm

ff

my balls hurt

imortal

I had fun watching Toy Story 3, my toddler niece and nephews were so thrilled while we all watch it on DVD. Honestly, I wasn't able to watch part 1 and 2.

jen

Lottso was a nasty guy. I think the garbage shredding and fire scene would be really stressful for very young children.
This became too much like every hollywood movie.
And what was with the references to ken being gay all the time? can we stereotype a little more???!!! This is how we teach our kids sexism and stereotyping. Dumb blonds, gay clothes lovers, etc. Geez. Come on.

3D Animation Guy

I'll agree with Charlie on this topic. Very little new movies to make you go WOW. And everybody knows that after original movie its all downhill.

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