Written by Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
Directed by Lee Unkrich
Running Time: 1:42
Toy Story 3 was a lot of fun, even after having the characters disappear on us for 10 years.
Young Andy isn't so young anymore and is off to college in a few days. But what happens to his toys? Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang aren't sure what their fate will be, with Woody believing that they will all end up happy and in the attic together. But accidentally, everyone except Woody get sent to a day care center, where they think they'll be happy. But the main toy in charge is a sadistic stuffed bear and he puts the new toys in with the kids who think nothing of destroying everything they see. Now it's up to Woody to go and save his friends and still get back to Andy before he leaves for college.
It was kind of weird watching Toy Story 3 . Over the last 10 years, Pixar has released big film after big film, but they've all been with new characters, so part of the enjoyment was getting to know everyone from Sully to Nemo to Wall-E. With this movie, we already know all the toys so the movie just jumps right in. The opening of the film is a madcap action sequence that would rival any live-action film this summer or any. But then the movie starts to slow down a bit. The toys argue about what the best solution is to the impending problem of Andy leaving. Frankly, Woody comes out sounding a little annoying, even if he ultimately is right. But the pace of the movie starts and stops, with some fun sequences and some slow ones. But once Woody tries to free his friends, the movie really takes off into a wild adventure that doesn't end until the film does.
Like I said before, one of the big enjoyments I get out of Pixar films is getting to meet the new characters. I didn't have that anticipation this time around and for some reason I think that took a little fun out of the movie for me. Like a lot of sequels, unless there's some big hook, it can feel like a letdown because here are these characters that you know so well, and like a lot, but they're not doing anything new. But there was new Joker here, because the new toys we meet don't have much of a lasting impact. First there's Lotso, the bear in charge of the day care. He seems all cuddly and soft, but he's got a dark side. And let's be real, I don't really want to see toys with dark sides. They're kind of creepy. Speaking of creepy, his big baby sidekick was bordering on terrifying. I know this is a G-rated film, but I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of kids get scared looking at big baby. Newcomers Ken and Barbie were interesting - more Ken since he had a larger role. He was pretty much what you'd expect Ken to be and he and Barbie has a lot of funny scenes. The rest of the new cast didn't leave much of an impression. The movie still centers around Woody and Buzz. Which is fine because while Woody still plays the straight man, Buzz had a big arc and some hysterical Spanish-language moments which you kind of just have to see to understand. Some of the secondary characters got a lot of laughs, but my favorite moment had to do with Mr. Potato Head taking off all his body parts and putting them onto something else... I won't give it away, but I seriously couldn't stop laughing when that happened. Easily the best part of the movie, and it was in the middle of the breaking out sequence.
The movie was, like seemingly everything these days, in 3D. I didn't find that the 3D really enhanced the movie much. They didn't use it to great effect. Yes, it's fun seeing a movie in 3D and at least in the theater I saw it in, the glasses were comfortable. But there wasn't much to it, so there isn't a lot of need to see this in 3D and pay the extra few bucks. Visually, the movie was fantastic, as you expect Pixar films to be. And the story was actually rather sweet and realistic. What does one do with their toys when they grow up? I was a big fan of stuffed animals when I was younger and most of my large collection is still in my parents house, albeit in the guest room. But, I still have my 3 favorites in my bedroom. I couldn't bear the idea of putting them in an attic, or giving them away to a day care. I guess some day I hope I can give them to my kids, or my sister's kids. Keep them in the family so to speak. But I think the story line is definitely something everyone can relate to. And that's another thing that sets Pixar apart. They make sure that no matter what, there's a solid story backing up the incredible visuals. Unlike just about every other big budget film these days, the story is the most important element. That's really what people come back for. Yeah, there are movies like Iron Man 2, or Transformers 2 that make a ton of money, but does anyone really care about them once they're done? Are they the kinds of movies that 10 years from now anyone will want to see again? All of Pixar's films hold up over time, without question, and that's because they're great stories. Lastly, as we've come to expect, there was a Pixar short before the feature, but this one was very different. Called Day & Night, it... well, it's hard to explain. It's unlike any other Pixar short I've seen, and it gets a little preachy at the end. But visually it was amazing and definitely worth seeing.
As you might imagine, the 4-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo has a ton of extras. Disc 4 carries the digital copy, and Disc 3 has the movie on DVD with a few extras. Disc 1 has the movie on Blu-ray with 2 extras - one short documentary on all the toys used in the film and one that takes Buzz Lightyear into outerspace. Disc 2 has the rest of the bonus features and boy, there are a lot. You could spend a lot of time rolling through all the various docs. The ones I enjoyed the most included one about all the voice talent - it's always fun seeing/hearing the voices of these great characters, withouth actually seeing them. Then there was a separate doc just about the character of Andy and how hard it is to do human faces and still have them look real. They mention this thing called the "uncanny valley" about how the more real a human animated face looks, the creepier it really is for the audience. Then there is a BD-Live trivia game which can be played using your phone or the Blu-ray player remote. It's a 2-player game where you go head-to-head in a trivia contest about either the 3rd movie by itself, or all 3 movies. And it isn't easy. I played (against myself) and could only manage to get about half the questions right. And let's face it, animated movies on Blu-ray look spectacular so if you're going to buy this film (and why wouldn't you) you definitely want the 4-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Toy Story 3. It didn't fill me with the awe of the first two, but it was still better than anything else so far this summer.