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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 15.28%
Average: 1.39%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 4.17%

6 reviews, 36 user ratings

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Toy Story 3
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by brianorndorf

"Pixar sports another Woody"
4 stars

Pixar cautiously entered the sequel game 11 years ago with “Toy Story 2,” a development that was somewhat forced upon the company, but proved to be an artistic and financial success. Now the beloved animation house is beginning to make sequels a full-time business, with follow-ups to “Cars” and “Monsters, Inc.” in the production pipeline. However, priming the franchise machine is “Toy Story 3,” a long-awaited second sequel that reunites beloved characters with a frazzled plot that exploits every ounce of plastic neuroses it possibly can. The third time isn’t exactly the charm for this friendly series of films, but this next step in the evolution of Buzz and Woody is dutifully manic and frequently engaging.

Once a boy, now a man, Andy is heading off to college, leaving his toys, led by Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen), in a panic. Worried about a myriad of possible fates, including the dreaded garbage option, the gang inadvertently ends up in a box set for donation to a local daycare center. Overwhelmed with joy to be relocated to a place where toys are played with every day, the pals soon learn the dark side of toddler attention, kept in their place by the seemingly mild Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear (Ned Beatty) and his army of experienced toys. With the situation growing grim, it’s up to Woody to plan a great escape, working with his friends to bust out of the daycare center and return to Andy. However, the plan is fraught with peril and setbacks, including a confused Buzz, who’s been returned to his initial factory settings by the wicked bear.

Little could possibly match the spark of life found in 1995’s “Toy Story.” The feature not only laid the foundation for CG-animation, but it found a special grace note of cartoon expression, spinning a tale that worked nostalgia and teamwork to wonderful emotional heights. As most sequels eventually learn, the thrill is gone for “Toy Story 3,” which takes its time to regroup and figure out a new plan that avoids strict rehashing. The theme here is friendship and the realization of one’s true home; with Andy leaving for college, the toys are left without purpose, without life, fearful of time spent in the attic or worse, left on a curb for the garbage man. It’s an inventive way to restart the film series after such an extended break from cinemas, leaning hard on the troublesome idea of change when the warmth of remembrance is far more comforting.

By playing up the sheer anxiety generated within Andy’s core group of toys (including John Ratzenberger as Hamm, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, and Joan Cusack as Jesse), “Toy Story 3” is gifted an actual direction for the new film, which works to create a sense of desperation as our little plastic heroes find themselves trapped in their daycare center prison, with warden Lost-O’-Huggin’ Bear (a.k.a “Lotso”) willing and able to keep his paradise on lockdown after his own experience with losing an owner twisted his plush heart. Director Lee Unkrich and screenwriter Michael Arndt have fun with the daycare setting, arranging tributes to “Bridge on the River Kwai” and investing time in Lotso’s underlings, including fashion-minded Ken (Michael Keaton), who comes alive at the sight of Barbie (the one toy that understands his metrosexual needs). The script seems more invested in whimsy than laughs, which allows the second act to sag ever so slightly, but the sense of confinement is a rich avenue for the film to explore, despite Lotso not being the most tantalizing villain presence, worked into a movie already pulled in multiple directions due to the sheer volume of characters.

The overpopulated toy nation does offer a few causalities, most notably when Woody splinters off on his own adventure encountering a small group of contented dolls enjoying their first years with their young owner. Voiced by Bonnie Hunt, Jeff Garlin, Kristen Schaal, and Timothy Dalton, the gang generates major laughs, while providing a potent reminder that the “Toy Story” concept works best when sorting our small groups of players. Woody’s scenes with these delighted helpers are some of the best in the movie, but they’re gone in a flash. A shame.

Forging a Randy Newman interlude and handing Buzz a thin subplot that finds the space ranger reverting back to his Spanish origin, “Toy Story 3” remains the longest of the series, and feels it at times, fixated on punishing the characters to make their redemption all the more emotionally sweeter. The climax is overkill, taking the gang to edge of destruction, but the dark psychological spaces of the finale (a veritable Christmas morning to anyone who’s ever wanted to see Woody and the gang prepare for death) help to butter up the conclusion, which does a fine job of sniffly closure without exactly sealing off the opportunity for another sequel.

Entertaining and, as always, magnificently performed by the cast, “Toy Story 3” is an easy lay-up for Pixar, but they’ve come to the challenge of a second sequel with some sense of duty, expanding the franchise to accommodate an epic take on the bond of companionship and the quest for the loving reassurance of home.

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originally posted: 06/20/10 00:55:45
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User Comments

2/15/15 guena i watch this movie like a shit 1 stars
1/05/15 dshjhgd very childish movie 1 stars
12/04/14 Ayana Pendergrass This movie made me like a kid again and gave me just what I wanted and expected! 5 stars
11/13/14 Mario is the Best WORST TOY STORY MOVIE EVER!!!!!!! But I liked the first two. 1 stars
11/07/12 Lia M I don't think think it was as good as the first two movies, but I still enjoyed it. 4 stars
10/23/12 Roshawn Rochester I can't tell a lie about this movie. I cried at the incinerator scene!!! 5 stars
8/29/12 Mireya love this movie 4 stars
5/28/12 Stefani K Love it, but get the kleenex ready. 5 stars
3/06/12 Marty Great kids movie with fun and meaning to older viewers as well. Like TS1 more 4 stars
1/13/12 Isaac A moving and thoroughly satisfying conclusion to the best film animated series of all time. 5 stars
10/19/11 Magic Starts slow, turns into an exciting prison movie. A perfect end to a stellar trilogy. 5 stars
10/18/11 C.M. Chan Great. Breaks the “third part of a trilogy” curse. 5 stars
10/02/11 Quigley A prime example of filmmakers achieving the impossible. Such a beautiful film 5 stars
8/08/11 WENDY Possibly the best in the series 5 stars
8/01/11 Piz Watched it with my 3-year olds and we all loved it. Truly Awesome family film 5 stars
6/18/11 Jennifer Barr truely amazing....we all loved it! 5 stars
4/18/11 millersxing Pixar directors have amazing artistic vision...I'm blown away by the consistent creativity. 5 stars
4/18/11 Dorothy Rozdilsky watched it once but not my cup of tea 3 stars
3/28/11 Ionicera It topped Wall-E. Wow! 5 stars
11/22/10 mr.mike A winner. As good as ! and 2? No. 4 stars
10/29/10 Rolly Hyatt This movie took my heart, crushed it, and then glued it back together. 5 stars
10/17/10 Julie Lutz I was amazed they are keeping the the story going so wonderfully 5 stars
8/22/10 Kim Dobbertin I loved it but it was sad when the toys were left behind. 5 stars
8/04/10 Lana Best movie of the summer, if not the year. Perfect blend of humor and heart, 5 stars
8/02/10 Dr.Lao Everything that made the first two Tay Story's great x10! 5 stars
7/31/10 Cheryl W. AWESOME! I can now die happy knowing I saw the best! 5 stars
7/31/10 MP Bartley It was just something in my eye at the end, honest... 5 stars
7/29/10 AliceLover Absolutely perfect! 5 stars
7/29/10 Angie Warbell No matter how cynical life has turned you, this one will touch your heart. 5 stars
7/28/10 ALICE SUPER very very good ! 5 stars
7/07/10 ES Enjoyed it but my 5 yr-old was eager to leave by the end. A nice finish to the series 4 stars
6/29/10 Flounder A beautiful send-off. Pixar's streak of excellence (astoundingly) continues. 5 stars
6/22/10 Mark Wonderful, A plus 5 stars
6/22/10 Pim So sweet, adorable & lovely! I understand how the toys feel. No one wants be to abandoned. 5 stars
6/20/10 Justin It was great. 5 stars
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  18-Jun-2010 (G)
  DVD: 02-Nov-2010


  DVD: 02-Nov-2010

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