Directed by: Lee Unkrich
Release date: 2010
Length: 108 minutes
Well, the slowest 11 years of my life are over. The long-awaited and presumably final sequel in Disney/Pixar’s flagship franchise has arrived, and, oh boy, was it worth the wait.
As a kid, Toy Story 2 was one of my favorites, and I would often, literally, pop it back into the VCR as soon as it finished rewinding. It was and still is, to me, one of the best computer-animated movies ever made.
I’m here to tell you that the third entry in the beloved Toy Story series not only matches the incredibly lofty expectations set by the stellar second film, it surpasses them, at least in my opinion.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have at least some idea of the film’s basic premise. In the latest installment, Andy, the boy who owns the titular toys of the series, has reached his late teenage years and is preparing to head off to college, opting to put most of his neglected toys in the attic.
Through a series of odd circumstances, though, the toys end up in a box headed for Sunnyside Daycare, where they will be able to stay and be played with by little kids again every day, just like they’ve dreamed of for years. However, events are not as they seem, and soon the toys find that they must return to Andy’s house before he leaves.
This absolutely family-friendly film hits every pitch-perfect note and delivers some depth besides. There are well-placed laughs, a few genuine scares, some ingenious action, and even a few tear-jerking scenes that should affect everyone but the most stoic and heartless of viewers. However, this masterpiece is about so much more than that. Through some beautiful acts of subtlety, the film paints a picture not just of a lovable bunch of beat-up plastic friends but of a boy growing into an adult and passing into the next generation. It’s about heartbreak and loss as well, and it can strike viewers at a deep, emotional level if they are willing to allow it.
The characters more than pull their weight. Woody and Buzz (voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen) are back as the two unlikely heroes who lead the group in much of the adventure to escape the day-care center. There also are many new toys, such as those belonging to a little girl named Bonnie. The creators deserve much credit for their creative and often hilarious concepts for these new additions, such as the stuffed hedgehog who believes himself to be acting when played with. The villain of the film is a sweet-smelling and grandfatherly old teddy bear named Lotso (Ned Beatty), as dark and complicated an antagonist as I’ve ever viewed in any motion picture, hands down.
In closing, I implore anyone who has ever remotely enjoyed a Disney movie to see Toy Story 3 (and unless you’re Scrooge, that should be you). Every moment just feels right, and I couldn’t help but view the whole movie with a huge, childish grin on my face. I was 6 all over again. I’d give this a 10 out of 10.
Copyright 2011 Y-Press