Pixar is on top of the world. They’ve made some of the best films of the past decade: Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wall-E and most recently, Up. So what can they do after going on a running streak of masterpieces. Return to what they started by completing their beloved series: Toy Story.
The third installment has literally been teased for years through blooper reels, rough promotional posters (most revealing a different plot where all the Buzz Lightyears are recalled) but it finally hit theaters and audiences had a hunch, after Up and Wall-E, that it was probably going to trek through darker territory.
In Toy Story 3, Andy is leaving for college in a few days. Worried about being stuck in the attic, or worse thrown out, the toys make the decision to escape to a day care center. Still under the impression that he’s Andy’s toy and that he should always be there for him, Woody leaves day care to return to Andy. The other toys are greeted by Lotso, the head toy at Sunnyside Daycare. However, the toys realize that under Lotso’s cuddly exterior is a narcissistic tyrant who has created a strict caste system at Sunnyside. The film quickly turns into an energetic prison escape film homaging to classics like The Great Escape and Escape from Alcatraz.
Throughout the prison escape story arc great new characters are introduced including the ridiculously flamboyant, fashioned-obsessed Ken, the overly theatrical Shakespearean Mr. Pricklepants and of course Lotso who develops into one of the most surprisingly devious (and ultimately tortured) villains of the past few years. He truly is a manipulative force to be reckoned but the big reason he’s such an amazing villain is that all this trickery and evil is coming from this:
a character that’s ultimately a combination of Winnie the Pooh and Barney.
The writing is smart, proving once again that Pixar are truly master storytellers and frankly, remind us why we love all these characters in the first place. The visuals are very impressive although A. not as gorgeous as recent Pixar films and B. doesn’t really show itself off in 3D. The only serious problem about Toy Story 3 is that the ending gets a bit on the awkward side and (let’s hope to G-d not) can possibly give room for another sequel.
But frankly, that’s just me being as nit-picky as possible. This movie is fantastic, not just because it’s a fun, hilarious and deeply emotionally moving summer movie but it brings the series full circle in ways many didn’t think were possible. Toy Story is more than just about your toys coming to life and having adventures. It’s about overcoming the fear of loss and moving on to different, bigger and possibly scarier things. Similar to Where the Wild Things Are, it’s not exactly a kids movie but more of a nostalgic trip for those young adults and 20-somethings who grew up with the series. That being said, unlike Wild Things there’s no severe emotional breakdowns or tearing off limbs, so it won’t scare the crap out of kids: it’s still a family film to an extent. Pixar have truly made their mark on not just the animation world but the entire film industry and ending their first major series (especially on such an emotionally powerful note) is a truly remarkable achievement. Years from now, I think it’s safe to say that Toy Story 3 will be considered one of the best trilogies of our generation. After Wall-E, I said Pixar can’t top this. After Up, I said Pixar definitely can’t top this. Now after Toy Story 3, I can honestly say that this has to be the prime of their work. Not just because it’s a near perfect film…
…but because their next movie is Cars 2…