Old 06-19-2010, 07:15 PM
Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3

Here's the link to the published version of my review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:



Toy Story 3 (2010)

More than ten years after the last sequel to the original animated hit, Pixar finally brings us the latest chapter in the "Toy Story" series. The first two films are marveled at for their amazing animation, excellent storytelling, and their fascinating technique of delving into the emotional bonds between humans and their toys. "Toy Story 3" hopes to continue that tradition by bringing back all of the old favorites, and even a few new ones.

It's been quite a while since we've last seen Andy (Voice of John Morris). He's all grown up now and just about ready to head off to college. As the film opens, his mother (Voice of Laurie Metcalf), wants him to sort all of his things before leaving. She gives him the options of taking them with him to college, putting them into the attic, or throwing them out.

This obviously gives his toy collection a great deal to worry about. Woody (Voice of Tom Hanks) tries to reassure them that Andy would never get rid of his favorite toys, which is proven true as Andy prepares to store them in the attic, that is, all except Woody, which Andy tosses in a box that he's taking with him. However, he puts the other toys into a garbage bag which his mother accidentally mistakes for actual garbage. Therefore she puts them on the curb with the rest of the trash. Feeling like they've been shunned by Andy, the toys decide to toss themselves into a donation box that's going to a nearby daycare center.

Woody tries to convince Buzz (Voice of Tim Allen) and the others that it was a mistake, but they soon end up at the daycare center where they meet a whole new bunch of toys including Lotso (Voice of Ned Beatty) and Ken (Voice of Michael Keaton). Things seem great at first, but they soon realize that life at the daycare center isn't all it's cracked up to be, and when they decide to leave, they find that their new acquaintances won't let them.

As usual, Pixar has delivered yet another beautifully animated film that continues the trend towards more realistic animation. The voice-actors, many of whom are returning for the third time, once again do a top-notch job with the characters that we've come to know and love. Of the new additions, Ned Beatty makes the greatest impact as the seemingly-lovable, yet emotionally-scarred Lotso.

This third outing is the longest of the three films, and you can actually feel it being stretched out a bit as it follows a similar formula to the previous two films involving the possibility of the toys never seeing their owner again and concluding with a daring escape. Yet, with all the familiarity of the film, it still manages to be fun to watch these characters do their best to stick together and return to Andy.

While this is a good sequel, I wish it had had more of the emotion that had made the first two films so memorable. Those films had been able to take a few characters and develop them to the point where we really cared about them, all while exploring that relationship between toy and owner. "Toy Story 3" does get into some of that, but it mostly concentrates on the toys as they try to get out of the daycare center that has become a prison for them.

The filmmakers seemed like they were in kind of a rush to develop some of the new characters by throwing in a flashback that quickly explains where Lotso and a couple of the other toys came from. The most we ever get about Ken is that he is obsessed with clothes, and in a completely shocking turn of events, he is also attracted to Barbie (Voice of Jodi Benson).

I know it seems like I'm putting down the movie a lot, but I really did enjoy it, just not as much as the other two. "Toy Story 3" certainly has its share of adventure and is quite entertaining. I was just hoping for a little more depth on the emotional side, which Pixar has delved into quite a bit with their long line of great films including the first two "Toy Story" films, "Ratatouille," and "Up." Still, what we get with "Toy Story 3" is a solid sequel that will definitely please fans of the series. 3/4 stars.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:15 AM
Hoping for more depth on the emotional side? Did you fall asleep before the final act???

BTW, just as a point of interest, Lotso's backstory, like Woody's nightmare about Andy throwing him away in "Toy Story 2," was an abandoned sequence from the first "Toy Story"... though it deviates a bit from that original sequence.

Last edited by hoojib127; 06-23-2010 at 09:22 AM..
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:08 PM
3 of 4 stars??? WOW! I think this is the new standard in which all animated movies should be judged upon. Will get a nod for best film.
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