The toy saga continues in the third attempt at showing why Pixar is the absolute best in all of animation land. “Toy Story 3” is driven with adventure and full of laughs and heart. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are back in action as everyone’s favorite cowboy Woody (Hanks) and galactic superhero Buzz Lightyear (Allen). Their loveable owner Andy is grown up and off to college. Pondering their future, Woody, Buzz, and the gang wonder where this places them. Will they ride with Andy to his next journey of late night studying and social extravaganza, or will they be placed away forever?
Andy decides to bring Woody along with him leaving Buzz, Jessie, BullsEye, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Slinky, Hamm and Rex behind in a garbage bag meant to be stored in the attic, yet his mom confused it for trash and placed it outside. Having thought that Andy no longer wanted them, all the toys escape and jump ship into a box labeled Sunnyside Daycare. Woody tries to stop them, informing them of the misunderstanding. Alas, it was too late; the toys made up their mind and did not believe Woody. Having arrived at Sunnyside, the gang is treated with respect and given the impression that his new place they reside, is a heavenly place. They are greeted by the daycare toys including the leader Lotso (Ned Beatty) a giant purple bear. He tells them that they will enjoy it here and be admired and loved by all the kids. Being tricked, placed, misused and abused in the toddler and young children’s department, the toys realize that maybe Sunnyside is not as sunny as they had imagined it to be. It is up to Woody to save his fellow friends from the daycare and backstabbing Lotso. There is also an entertaining subplot where Barbie meets the super flamboyant Ken, and immediately falls for him.
I love the general concept of the film. I think the screenplay is ingenious and targets all types of audiences all together. First and foremost, it is a family film and young kids will enjoy it. Teenagers who grew up with the series can reminisce on the old memories of sitting in front of their television on a weekend night watching the first two films. And adults can enjoy it because it pretty much has everything; action, comedy, romance and it is even scary at times. The character titled Big Baby who literally is a giant baby doll with a shattered face has a creepy scene where he turns his head all the way around reminiscent of “The Exorcist”. Then there is Chuckles the clown who is not any more appealing. The film has its share of likeable supporting roles as well. Spanish Buzz is a joy to watch as he charms the way into Jessie’s heart and The Potato Heads are just as endearing and entertaining as ever.
Director Lee Unkrich conveys a certain style that continues the tradition the first two “Toy Story” films had, including both story and animation. I am not too fond of the 3D concept and was hesitant to watch the film with those annoying glasses, yet I was so enthralled in what was happening on screen that I did not mind. Another issue I usually have with the 3D process is that I feel it drains out the beautiful imagery and colors of most films. It works here though. I felt it enhanced the film and director Unkrich and Michael Arndt who wrote the screenplay, do a wonderful job in telling a fantastic story along with the magical final product of great animation done right. The voice overwork is once again first rate. Hanks and Allen especially bring their vibrant energy to their roles of Woody and Buzz.
What makes “Toy Story 3” work the most though is the heart of the film. I grew up with these films and the toys as well. When I was young I had myself a Buzz and Woody toy. I was very fond of them. 15 years later, I’m still fond of them yet only on screen. “Toy Story 3” is a very heartfelt film and the last 15 minutes or so is very emotional. It may even make you shed a tear or two. All I know, is I will never forget “there’s a snake in my boot” or “too infinity and beyond!” anytime soon.
Written by Jason Gombert