Fifteen years between the first film of a trilogy and the culminating final installment is quite a long piece of time within the Hollywood machine. But somehow, Toy Story, not only manages to succeed in the face of a sure demise, they actually manage to craft a film that elevates the entire franchise from “Much Loved” to “Greatest of All-Time”.
Go ahead and try to come up with a true film franchise with at least two movies that matches the overall success and originality of Toy Story. Seriously, go ahead and try. I’ll wait.
Come up with anything?
Toy Story 3 finds us with our much loved gang of toys, and Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang are feeling a little down. Andy, their owner, has grown up and is getting ready to leave the house for college. His mother makes him decide what to keep in storage and what to get rid of, and this is the nexus of where this film takes us.
After deciding to take Woody with him on his journey and toss the rest up in the attic for safekeeping, the bag is mistakenly put out with the trash. After a noble escape by the toys, they end up donated to a daycare where they meet another group of toys.
It’s here where the movie takes one of its first poignant turns. This becomes an animated feature film that plays like a prison movie. Andy’s toys end up at the bottom of the food chain at the daycare and end up being demolished by the Terrible Two’s, and decide the want to leave. Their new friends, including Lots ‘o Huggin Bear who becomes like the warden, have to prevent Andy’s toys from leaving the daycare and disturbing the natural order.
There are a lot of themes at play here, and I’ve always relied on the Toy Story and Pixar to give both children, teenagers, and adults something in their movies. This is where Toy Story 3 really begins to elevate itself from the pack.
The first film was released in 1995. I was 10 years old, smack dab in the middle of their target demographic. Of course, I loved it. The second film was released in 1999 when I’m fourteen. The third is released in 2010 with me only weeks away from the 25th birthday. I am the Toy Story generation. I have experienced at roughly the same time frame and pace, the actual events of these films. And I’m 100% positive I’m not the only person.
Part of what makes these films, especially Toy Story 3, so successful is that you can watch them at any age, and you’ll still be filled by the same emotions as the first time, only now, you’ll have gained a new set of perspectives by which to view. This is what makes film actually MEAN something to its audience as a whole, and can evolve with the viewer upon subsequent viewings.
What sets this film to infinity and beyond are the characters. How, after 15 years, Pixar kept these characters so amazingly vibrant and full of life is a testament to the talent at that particular studio. These are, without question, their best, most far reaching characters, and a lot of that credit has to go to the impeccable voice acting that gave these toys a soul. The voice work here is as strong as ever, and Tom Hanks as Woody is one of the most endearing voice performances of all time. Woody has some cowboy in him, but he’s also as loyal a friend as you’re going to have. Tim Allen again shines as Buzz, and it’s proof that Allen does have a great deal of talent that should place him above the Wild Hogs type crap he commonly finds himself in. He has great comedic timing, and he and Hanks, and by virtue Woody and Buzz, have a really great relationship that has grown a great deal in the span of three movies.
The imaginative film provides quite a few laugh out loud moments, and it really does provide something for audience members of all ages. If you’re some kind of cynical bastard and don’t want to watch one of the best movies of the year, fine. But you aren’t going to find too many other movies that blends so many wonderful moments together for an entire film.
Toy Story 3 had some stiff competition to live up to, and somehow it might have exceeded the expectations. There isn’t really much to say about this film, because a few words in a review will never do it justice. You have to see the film. You have to. By the time December 31st rolls around, this will still be one of the top 2 or 3 best films of the year. Of that I have no doubt. The movie is as good as a movie can be, and Toy Story 3 was the perfect way to end the only perfect trilogy in movie history.
Score: 9.9/10 (Brilliant)