Saturday, June 19, 2010

Toy Story 3 (2010)

The third and final installment of the Toy Story series shows that Pixar has not dropped the ball yet. They give good meaning to the G rating- you will find film fans and regular moviegoers of all ages in a film like this. Pixar kickstarted its career with the first Toy Story in 1995 and took off on a variety of imaginative films. The third film focuses on Andy going to college and the how the toys are no longer being played with.

Toy Story 3 opens on the right foot, with a sequence that is a subtle reference to the first film and contains imaginative visuals. As with the first two films, the toys mission to do one thing gets them swept up into something new entirely. Here they find themselves being thrown in a box and headed to Sunnyside Daycare. The care may not be entirely there as they soon find out from a purple bear named Lotso and his gang of misfit toys.

The characters that people have come to love- Woody, Buzz, Jesse, Rex, Mr. Potato Head, Ham and those quirky aliens are all presented with solid charcters arcs. In addition to that, we are given new characters- the aforementioned Lotso, Big Baby & Chuckles, three characters who share a storyline about replacing the old with the new. Ken & Barbie are even introduced here.

Director Lee Unkrich takes a darker approach to the material as John Lasseter did with the previous films. The second half of it turns out to be a prison escape film with winks to other films of that genre. This time the action is more up front. That being said, the comedy in the film is incredibly sharp and the scenes with Buzz in Spanish mode are absolutely hilarious.

Rewards for fans of the first film are a plenty. From character cameos (keep your eye on the garbageman's shirt) to visual references right down to the final shot of the film before the credits roll. Doing these types of things as well as balancing out enough material for people interested who haven't seen the previous film is everything a sequel should do. But then again, I know next to no one who hasn'tt watched and adored the previous Toy Story films.

Toy Story 3 aims for many things- laughter, suspense, adventure, nostalgia and it manages to hit each one on the mark. The ending speaks to anyone who had to let go of apart of their past. What better way to use it at the end of one of the best animated series films of all time that thousands of people from my generation grew up on. Goodbye Woody. Your my favorite deputy.

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