– for not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Michael Keaton
June 18, 2010
1 hour, 43 minutes
Toy Story 3 welcomes Woody (voice of Tom Hanks), Buzz (voice of Tim Allen) and the whole gang back to the big screen as Andy prepares to depart for college and his loyal toys find themselves in… day care! These untamed tots with their sticky little fingers do not play nice, so it’s all for one and one for all as plans for the great escape get underway. (from MovieWeb.com)
It’s kind of amazing to ponder the fact that the very first Pixar animated film, as well as the very first Toy Story film, landed fifteen years ago in 1995. The year debuted a new series and film studio that would capture the hearts of children and film fans for a decade and a half. The success of the endearing tale about toys that come to life when humans aren’t watching them spawned the arguably even better sequel in 1999, and the legacy of the Toy Story characters and franchise was made greater. Since then, a third chapter in the toys’ story was attempted at least once before by Disney – actually without Pixar’s team, even! – but thankfully, the original animation studio wouldn’t let the film be made by just anybody and eleven years after the last sequel, we finally are given the long awaited Toy Story 3.
It’s no secret that anticipation is high for a second sequel. Any child who loved either of the first two is eleven years older and the franchise will hold special nostalgia for them. In addition to those already in love with the characters, Toy Story 3 is armed and ready to win over an entirely new generation of Buzz and Woody fans – even to some children of the fans of the original film! But like any memorable trilogy in film history, Pixar takes Toy Story out with a rousing, climactic, and amazingly emotional finish. With each film, the set pieces and action, and even humor have been boosted, and Toy Story 3 wraps it all up in a nice little bow. Whether or not this really is the toys’ last ride remains to be seen, but Pixar doesn’t seem to be nearly as cash hungry as DreamWorks to just sloppily force out one Toy Story movie after another – as DW has done with Shrek – so they might actually do well to let this be it.
When Toy Story 3 begins, time has passed about as much for the characters as it has for the fans of the films. While the toys themselves don’t look as though they’ve shown a ton of aging or wear, we’ve found that Andy has graduated high school and is about to leave for college, his mom has aged accordingly, and even the family dog is old and having trouble getting around. Anyone who’s followed the Story may start to feel the growing pains of passing time as much as these characters do. The toys haven’t been played with in years and when they find themselves in a daycare surrounded by children, [most] of the toys have some renewed hope. But as can be expected, things are not all that they seem to be at Sunnyside Daycare, and Andy’s toys find themselves to be prisoners in their new home. Toy Story 3 is primarily about family, friendship, and growing older, and the plot ends up becoming much like an escape or prison break adventure. It’s also the most thematically heavy of the trilogy, which is not only its strength but possibly its only weakness. Some of the film’s events border on going too overboard with where the toys find themselves, which also leads to some moments that are so unbelievably emotional, you’re likely to be baffled as to how in the world we can care so stinkin’ much for fictional inanimate plastic figurines (and we DO!). But because Toy Story 3 possesses ample amounts of heart and sentiment, it won’t be a Story that fans of the franchise will soon forget.
It’s fun to follow Woody, Buzz and their friends on the adventures they experience throughout this trilogy, and it’s surreal to see them all together for a much different outing. Because the plot focuses a great deal on the prospect of them being discarded and trying to break out from the Daycare, there are quite a few dark, heavy, and even creepy scenes. The two creepiest characters include a worn out one-droopy-eyed baby doll that only coos like an infant (which is a little reminiscent of the doll head from the first film) and a cymbal monkey that screams and is only shown in dimly lit settings. While these moments aren’t quite as ominous or unsettling as some found in other animated films, they’re still likely to give some kids the willies, while other children still may even just have a hard time seeing their favorite toys go through some pretty intense stuff. The aforementioned overtly emotional, potentially over-the-top intense sequence is also so harrowing, it’s almost shocking that the studio let the story go there (i.e. taking our little toys to such dark and dangerous situations). There were a few moments I half-expected to have turned out to be imagined by a child or be a dream sequence because of how unexpected and fantastical they become. At the same time, it’s impressive to realize how Pixar can even make their audience care this much!
The potentially objectionable content of Toy Story 3 is limited to some brief, slightly borderline rude humor (mainly the flirtatious behavior between Ken and Barbie, or Ken’s awkward flamboyance), and a great deal of action, toy-related kinds of violence. But several scenes do threaten the very existence of Andy’s toys and include dark, menacingly lit villains which take the film to some pretty intense levels at times. It’s enough to want to consider when it comes to bringing the littler ones.
If you’re wondering whether to see this in 2D or 3D, we did see this in 3D and I found that, while it looks pretty and offered a neat effect at times, it was completely unneeded for the film and its plot. In fact, I got so used to the effect it brought to the look of the movie that it was very easy to even forget it was supposed to be 3D at all. Thankfully, Pixar did NOT gratuitously take advantage of the 3D technology to just feed the gimmick, so it probably won’t make a huge difference whether this is viewed in 2D or 3D.
When all is said and done, Pixar Animation Studios is still batting a thousand, delivering yet another solid feature film to the big screen. It may take another couple viewings to make the call whether it bests its predecessors, but for now, Toy Story 3 is a very funny, welcomed addition to a beloved franchise that will be as difficult to see conclude here as it is for Andy to choose the future of his famed childhood toys.
– John DiBiase, (reviewed: 6/18/10)
: None. There is some playful flirting between Ken and Barbie, but nothing explicitly offensive or crude. Bookworm thinks he’s talking to Ken dressed up completely as an astronaut. When who he thinks is Ken turns around and walks away, Bookworm spots that the person is wearing pink high heels (it’s Barbie in the suit), and just rolls his eyes (thinking Ken is just weird or even gay)
: Lots of G-rated action violence. Some toys knock down, restrain, tie up, and beat up other toys. Some toys threaten to dispose of other toys. One toy tries to let some toys in peril possibly go to their deaths instead of save them, and other assorted violence. Children violently play with their toys (SPOILERS: We see some toys narrowly escape a garbage truck garbage compactor. Later we see some toys narrowly escape being shredded. Then later again, we see them narrowly escape being incinerated)