Hard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since Pixar began their Toy Story saga, but here we are: this weekend’s Toy Story 3 arrives with the added benefit (depending on who you ask) of 3D, with almost all the original cast members firmly in place and the script as sharp as ever. The film provides a fitting, emotional end to a series that kinda took everyone by surprise in the beginning, but you might find yourself further surprised by how dark things get in this new installment. Keep on reading for the Comedy Examiner’s full review of Toy Story 3 below, my gentle Examiner readers…
Well, I’ve just returned from a noon showing of Pixar’s brand-new entry in the Toy Story saga– cleverly titled Toy Story 3— and I have almost nothing but good things to report. Pixar’s done it again, proving that there simply aren’t any other animation shingles producing the kind of quality, emotional, hilarious animated features that they seem able to rattle off with ease. Toy Story 3 isn’t the best of the series (which many seem to be claiming: the film’s sitting at 100% on RottenTomatoes.com), but it’s a damn sight better than just about any other film I’ve seen in theaters this year– animated or otherwise.
But then, Pixar simply doesn’t make crappy movies. I say that having never witnessed Cars, but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt (though not the 90 minutes it would take for me to watch it; I just couldn’t live with myself supporting anything that Larry the Cable Guy is even remotely involved with). Toy Story 3 caps off the Toy Story trilogy with a lot of heart, a lot of humor, and with some pretty impressive 3D work. Furthermore, the showing I attended appeared to be sold out, so it’s also likely to be film to beat for the next few weeks at the box office: if you’re a movie fan, there’s no way to avoid this one, and you shouldn’t.
In Toy Story 3, Andy (the toys’ owner) is going off to college, and after a series of mistakes and “wrong place at the wrong time” moments, the toys end up in a daycare center that initially seems to be the perfect place for the second chapter in their lives as toys. In short order, however, things take a turn for the ugly, and before you know it the majority of the toys are being held hostage and Woody’s on a quest to get back to them. That quest takes up the better part of the film’s 109 minute run-time (which, by the way, is my only complaint here: the film seemed about ten minutes too long).
I’d like to remain vague about the plot, because discovering who the new toys are, what their place in this world is, and how they’ll all end up existing (or not) makes for most of the fun here– of which there is plenty. Kids are going to eat this thing up with a shovel, and in typical Pixar tradition, there’s enough underlying subtext and humor that’ll sail right over kids’ heads to keep their parents interested. Don’t go digging for plot points before seeing the flick, just go in knowing that you’re going to have one helluva time.
I should point out that the film’s much darker than the two Toy Stories that preceded it. The film’s definitely got something to say (as the other two Toy Story films had something to say) about life, but this one’s different in that it has a lot to say about death. Early on in the film, one character describes a daycare center as a place that toys are dropped off when their owners no longer have any interest in caring for them, and we’re made to understand that this is a thinly-veiled reference to every elderly person currently riding out the rest of their days in an old folks’ home. Then, towards the end, there’s a harrowing scene in an incinerator that might pull a tear or two out of your eye (it’s a scene with no dialogue, and you’ll know it when you see it). Toy Story 3 has a lot on its mind, but thank God we haven’t been given another mindless 90 minutes of animated fart jokes, right?
If you loved every other film that Pixar’s ever made, you’re not going to find anything different in Toy Story 3. The film’s smart, touching, and has just the right amount of humor (though it is less funny than the other two Toy Story films). The 3D’s well done, and if you can swallow that $4 add-on for the glasses with which to watch it, you won’t feel like you got scammed. Toy Story 3 is an awesome end to one of the best film trilogies ever conceived, and Pixar shouldn’t be surprised if they end up with another Oscar after next year’s Academy Awards ceremony. My grade? A- (not an A+ for that extra ten minutes they could’ve shaved off the run-time).
That’s all we’ve got for you for now on this one, folks, but stay tuned for more on this bizarre story as it becomes available. In the meantime, we’ve got all manner of funny videos, news, reviews, interviews, recaps, funny pictures, and more to keep you entertained all summer long, so hit the “Subscribe” button up top to get all of it delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge, the moment it’s published. Why, if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also got some other recent Comedy Examiner articles for you to look over while you’re here:
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(photos: top–pixar.com, middle–killerfilm.com, next–screencap, bottom–reelmovienews.com)