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Movie Review: Toy Story 3

June 18, 2010

Toy Story 3 – A Walt Disney Pictures’ Release

http://disney.go.com/toystory/

Release Date: June 18th

Rated G for some scary scenes, and cartoon/animation action

Running time: 102 minutes

Lee Unkrich (dir.)

Michael Arndt (screenplay)

John Lasseter (screenplay)

Andrew Stanton (screenplay)

Lee Unkrich (screenplay)

Randy Newman (music)

Tom Hanks as Woody (voice)

Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear (voice)

Joan Cusack as Jessie (voice)

Ned Beatty as Lotso (voice)

Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head (voice)

Michael Keaton as Ken (voice)

Wallace Shawn as Rex (voice)

John Ratzenberger as Hamm (voice)

Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head (voice)

John Morris as Andy (voice)

©Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

(L-R) Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear, Rex, Mrs. Potato Head, Bullseye, Mr. Potato Head, Jessie, Woody, Hamm, Buzz Lightyear, Slinky Dog, Barbie, and Ken in Pixar’s Toy Story 3.

Our reviews below:

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Toy Story 3 Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

15 years ago, Pixar made history by being the first ones ever to create an entire film using only computers.  That film was Toy Story.  A film that not only revolutionized the face of Hollywood, but also paved the way for a small studio run out of an old factory in Emeryville, California.  Four years later they released a sequel to the classic that started it all, and today, the trilogy is complete.

Andy is now 17, and heading off to college.  After many great years of playing together, his beloved toys, headed by Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), are starting to feel rejected.  Through many twists of fate, they end up at Sunnyside Daycare – a place that is not as it seems.  When they realize that Andy may not be ready to say goodbye just yet, they set into motion an epic escape from the place where toys are only superficially appreciated.

I admit, I was skeptical at first about the prospect of a third Toy Story, even being mildly underwhelmed by the initial trailers, but it holds up beautifully to Pixar’s previous track record.  Some may find it to lack the sophistication seen in Pixar’s last three masterpieces, but its seeming simplicity is part of what makes it so powerful. Toy Story 3 is perhaps the best third installment ever made, rounding out a perfect trilogy.

Only Pixar could make a film that plays out as part laugh-out-loud comedy, and part prison-break thriller, while at the same time managing to be profoundly touching and deeply emotionally resonant.  Toy Story 3 does go to some very dark places, featuring climactic scenes of intensity that leave you breathless.  This may be too much for younger kids, so for the enjoyment of other audience members, perhaps the youngest Toy Story fans can wait for the DVD.  But for everyone else, this is must-see film.

But as expected, there are also moments of inspired Pixar hilarity, including Buzz Lightyear reset to Spanish mode, and everything involving Ken.  The choice of having a Ken doll obsessed with clothing, leading to the best trying on clothes montage I have ever seen, while constantly complaining that he’s not just a girl’s toy, is one of the funniest things in the movie.

For those who have grown up with Toy Story, TS3 is an almost unbearably moving experience.  Once again, Pixar managed to move me to tears.  Tears of sadness, tears of joy, and tears of memories.  Young kids may not have that experience with this film, but 15 years down the road, they will.  The climax plays out beautifully, managing to break your heart, and leave you on the edge of your seat, as it leads up to a heartbreaking, touching and beautiful final scene.

Toy Story 3 is not only the first truly great movie of this summer, but it’s also one of the best movies of the year.  Make sure you stay right through the end credits for a few extra scenes, as well as being treated to both a new Randy Newman song, and a Spanish remix of You’ve Got a Friend in Me.  Not only does Toy Story 3 manage to continue Pixar’s perfect winning streak of serving up emotionally satisfying entertainment, but it brings it to infinity and beyond.

Day & Night Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

The simple story of Day and Night always arguing over who is better, is told with simplicity and perfection in this 6-minute short that plays before the main event.  Day & Night is another work of pure genius from Pixar.  The 3D images inside 2D characters could only be described as breathtaking, especially in 3D.  Arrive early, and don’t miss it.

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Toy Story 3 Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

There is no doubt – Pixar has done it again.  The level of quality they manage to put into their films is something that any filmmaker or screenwriter could only hope to aspire to.

In this third finishing installment in the Toy Story trilogy, Andy is now 17 and off to college.  This leaves his toys wondering what will become of them.  When they find themselves accidentally dumped at a daycare centre, they have a choice: should they stay here where they will be played with – or return to Andy?  Things aren’t what they seem though at Sunnyside daycare, and even if the decision to leave is easy, doing it might be the hard part.  And in true Pixar fashion, don’t forget to stay through the credits for another hilarious Toy Story gag-reel.

This newest installment boasts updated graphics that still retain the same look of the first two films, and loads of new characters.  To name a few, there’s a big, pink, strawberry-scented bear named Lotso (Ned Beatty), and [finally] a Ken doll (Michael Keaton), who’s as hilarious as Barbie.  And, although they only make a brief appearance, I like the ‘three peas in a pod’ plush.  Buzz’s ‘Spanish Mode’ is quite funny too.

The music sounds very much like the original two Toy Story scores, with it’s distinct Randy Newman feel, but also captures the tone needed for this one.  There are also a couple of new songs in the film, including a Spanish rendition of ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me.’  Shame there’s no physical CD release – this is one I’d want add to my collection.

The climax of this film, going for ‘Great Escape’ style, is amazing.  I won’t spoil it for you, but when they are at the site of the final ‘showdown,’ if you will, that whole sequence blew me away.  I think that part had one of the strongest emotional points in the film.  While the whole film has a very ‘Toy Story movie’ storyline, it is done in a fresh way here, with the characters very believably, (through both voice acting, writing, and animation), at a different stage in their lives and therefor responding accordingly.

I personally would like to see this one a second time.  Maybe in 2-D, since the screening I saw was in 3-D.  I found it didn’t seem essential for this film to be seen this way, and there was a bit of ‘image ghosting’ at times.  Also, the first time seeing it, I didn’t quite connect with the final ending.  Knowing it now, I think seeing it again with the hindsight of it might be what I’d like to do.

Because of that one point there, and I’m probably the odd one out here on this, when I came out of Toy Story 3, I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to give it the full 4 stars.  It was a close decision, but after reading The Art of Toy Story 3, and thinking it over, I know it deserves it.  It is quite a feat to manage to sustain a standard throughout three (or even two for that matter) films in a series.  The fact that Pixar was able to do this is a testament to their filmmaking poweress as a studio.

Day & Night Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

The short film that precedes Toy Story 3, titled Day and Night, is one of my favourites from the studio.  Using 2-D mattes as the character shapes, framing the 3-D images inside of them, this is a beautiful piece both technically and film-wise.  What is amazing about this film, is the way that the use of images and sound within the mattes tells the emotion of the characters.  It is hard to explain, so you just have to see it.  Simple and sweet, the message by the end couldn’t be clearer, nor nicer – this really is a short for the ages.  While Pixar hasn’t won in the past few years, I think director Teddy Newton will take Best Animated Short Film for them at the Oscars for this one.

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Toy Story 3 Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

The toys are back in their newest adventure.  Andy Davis is nearly 18 now, and is heading off to college in a few days.  He must make a decision of what to do with his toys while gone.  He decides to take Woody along, but puts together the other toys in a garbage bag destined for storage.  The trouble begins when Mom thinks the bag is filled with garbage and places it at the curb!  The toys escape, and hide in a donation box headed for Sunnyside Daycare!  Woody runs away from Andy’s box in a rescue effort, and the friends end up at what they believe is a retirement home for toys.  They are greeted by a mauve coloured teddy named Lots-‘o’-Huggin’ Bear, who seems friendly enough.  But when the toys figure out that Lotso, along with his henchmen, are running Sunnyside as a prison, it is up to Andy’s gang to stage the ultimate jail break, and get home.

I truly enjoyed seeing the old toys aging as well as meeting some new ones, such as Ken, Peas in a Pod, Mr. Pricklepants, and many others.  The film is filled with great action, excellent animation, a fun score and songs by Randy Newman, plus many laugh out loud moments.  There are also some really exciting sequences, such as an escape from an incinerator, that might scare very young tots.  Some of the most touching moments come toward the end, in a really bitter-sweet scene that will make you both cry and smile.  Toy Story 3 is an all out perfect family film that you will want to see again and again.  Be sure to stay through the end credits!

Day & Night Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

In Pixar’s new short film, Day and Night never stop arguing about who is better.  But when the two figure out one thing they have in common, they realize they are part of a continuum, and can appreciate their differences.  What is so amazing about Day & Night is the really original way of telling this funny story.  Day and Night are 2D animated characters with 3D images inside them.  They don’t speak, instead being narrated by whatever is image is inside them.  Day & Night has a classic cartoon feel, and really shows off Pixar’s diversity.

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Toy Story 3 Review By Maureen

**** (out of 4)

Toy Story 3, you’ve got a friend in me.  This latest visit with Woody, Buzz and the gang is as much fun as the previous.  Andy’s toys are still together in TS3 and there are brand new toys to play with in this one.  Even though toys stay the same people don’t.  Andy is now 17 and is heading off to college.  He has a grown-up decision to make – what to do with his beloved toys when he moves away.  The decision gets made for Andy when the toys are mistakenly donated to Sunnyside, a local day care.

That’s where the toys misadventure begins, at Sunnyside.  With so many kids it seems life will be endless playtime for the toys.  The toys soon learn that Sunnyside has a dark side.  First there’s the caterpillar room where the youngest kids play roughly with the toys.  Then there’s Lotso, a strawberry scented teddy bear who makes rules and enforces them with the help of his tough toys gang.  With the help of a screwdriver Lotso manages to get Buzz working for the dark side.  Woody and the rest of Andy’s toys realize as in the past they have to work together to escape and save Buzz.

There’s a lot of exciting action scenes in Toy Story 3.  Woody’s plan for their daring escape takes them to some scary places for toys.  Some of the scenes will be too intense for the youngest viewers but provide a real sense of peril and adventure for older ones.

Along with the exciting adventure there is a wonderful amount of comedy in Toy Story 3.  Some of the new toys are really fun to watch.  One of the funniest is Barbie’s new love interest, Ken.  The Barbie and Ken scenes are hilarious.

Most of all, Toy Story 3 has the one ingredient that makes Disney/Pixar stories so succesful – a story with a heart.  The bond between the toys and the love Andy has for each of them feels so real.  The ending of Toy Story 3 is heartwarming and left me misty-eyed.  This is way more whan a kiddie movie.  It’s a good story.

With summer vacation time right around the corner a theatre visit with the family to see Toy Story 3 would make a great staycation.  Seeing it in 3D is a lot of fun but it will still be a good story in 2D.  Just make sure you stay for the entire end credits.

Day & Night Review By Maureen

**** (out of 4)

One of the special treats when watching a Pixar movie is always the animated short that precedes the feature-length presentation.  Pixar has done it again.  Their latest animated short, Day & Night is excellent.  It takes a simple concept and tells a simple yet profound story using little dialogue, focusing instead on simple but really funny visuals.  I loved Day & Night in 3D and now I’m really curious to see how it compares in 2D.  I wouldn’t be  surprised if Day & Night takes home animation awards.  It’s really good.

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Toy Story 3 Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

Toy Story 3 is one film for which critics can’t copy and paste the usual dismissive remarks about third franchise films.  It’s true that Andy is now going off to college, but since humans have always been incidental anyway, fears about “jumping the shark” are unnecessary. Due to a mixup, Andy’s surviving toys end up in a daycare, where the resident toys led by the big strawberry bear Lotso (Ned Beatty) assign them to the toddler room where the kids will wreck them.  Inspired by various prison breakout films, there is a lot of excitement, probably too much for little kids, especially when the toys end up in a recycling plant.  There is a lot of humour as well of course, especially in the “chemistry” between Barbie and Ken, including the funniest montage I’ve ever seen of modelling vintage duds (by Ken).  Just as in the first two films, there is real suspense toward the end, leading to a surprising and really touching conclusion.

Day & Night Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

Preceding Toy Story 3 is the short Day & Night.  As in most Pixar shorts, there is great inspiration and humour with universal appeal, using little or no spoken language. Any written description would be inadequate but to summarize briefly, it depicts the rivalry between the day and night represented by transparent characters behind which are scenes producing their characteristic sounds, with a wonderful twist at the end.

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Consensus: Toy Story 3 is another great film from Disney/Pixar.  Managing to be both laugh-out-loud hilarious, deeply heartfelt and touching, Toy Story 3 is perhaps the best third-installment ever made, rounding out a perfect trilogy.  Make sure you stay right through the end credits, and arrive early as to not miss Pixar’s latest brilliant short film, Day & Night. **** (Out of 4)

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