Toy Story 3 Review

Before I begin, I would just like to make perfectly clear that I had an acute case of allergies when I watched the movie, which caused me to have wet, puffy eyes and a runny nose.

Oh, who am I kidding? Yes, I got misty-eyed from this movie.

I grew up with the toy story movies. I was about Andy’s age when I saw the original Toy Story, and about his age again when I saw Toy Story 2 (yes, I didn’t see them when they were originally released). Now I have seen Toy Story 3 and I am once again Andy’s age; and almost at the same point in my life. Because of this, the movies have taken on a new meaning for me, I can see myself in Andy like I have seen myself in few other characters in any other movie. Andy is the quintessential boy growing up today.  He loved his toys, but he has moved on to other things, leaving behind things that once brought him such great joy. He is all children, and since his growing up is told through some 6 hours of the best animated film (actually any film for that matter) we can truly experience it. It is not some montage that is raced through in one movie, we see it happening all through the eyes of the things that he is quickly leaving behind.

This forms the basis for the simple story in this final installment of this series. Andy has finally grown up, and is getting ready to head to college. Over the years between TS2 and TS3 he has gotten rid of most of his toys, with only the very core of the cast still there. Now, he must decide what to do with these final reminders of his lost childhood; he decides to pack them all away in the attic, but due to a mistake they are all instead donated to the local daycare center. What follows is what is basically a jailbreak movie, but a damn fine one at that.

Several new characters are introduced, all of them brilliantly done, from the very feminine Ken (which was, in my opinion, a great  personification of the doll) to the old teddy bear Lotso. The aliens from the original make another appearance, which was suitably awesome also.  All the original voice actors return to reprise their roles, except for the late Jim Varney, who was replaced by Blake Clark as the voice of Slinky Dog. The change was not that noticeable,  but it has been a while since I saw that others, so it might be more obvious if you have recently seen the other two movies.

The one thing that I really liked about Toy Story 3 was the way that it was not just a kid’s movie. It was a movie for everyone. It speaks to different people on different levels. For the younger kids, they see the colorful and funny characters in exciting situations, but for older audiences it is something completely different. Toy Story 3 isn’t just about toys trying to get back to their rightful owner from the clutches of a daycare, it is about a story of loss and letting go. It is a story about how all things must come to an end, and how you must accept them, and move on. Toy Story 1 was about the fear of replacement and jealousy- Woody felt like he was being replaced by Buzz. Toy Story 2 was about growing up, and choosing whether to make the best of a short time, or move on to other things- Woody again had to choose between spending a few more years with Andy, and then have to deal with not being played with ever again, or being preserved indefinitely so that all could see.

Because of these themes, people will notice that this installment is noticeably darker than the other two. There is no light at the end of the tunnel that the toys can see, Andy is gone, and they can only hope that one day, sometime far in the future, Andy will give his kids the toys. The main bad guy does not see the light and turn from his evil ways, he does not get away scot-free, but still isn’t “saved” so to speak. Near the 3/4 mark was the darkest part of the movie, and it was also one of the most heart-wrenching scenes, but the worst was yet to come.

I won’t spoil the ending, but the entire last 15 minutes was just one big tear jerker, that if it didn’t cause you to tear up at least a little, then you are a heartless jerk, and I don’t want to know you. Don’t worry, you can admit it guys, it was sad, and girls love guys that show their emotional sides. I am glad though that as the credits rolled, their was a short epilogue that was significantly lighter than the ending, allowing everyone some time in the theater to wipe their eyes and blow their noses before having to go out into the light of the hall.

Seriously, go see this movie as soon as you possibly can, it is worth every penny that you have to pay for a ticket. It is the best movie of the summer, and will probably be one of the best movies this year. Pixar has once again proven that they are masters at their craft, and somehow beaten the normal curse of sequelitis, to make one of their best movies ever. You can’t find a movie playing that can match Toy Story 3 in characters, writing, or laughs. Don’t get me wrong, this movie still has some utterly hilarious moments, from Ken to the “Mr. Tortilla Head”.

Now, go see this movie.



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