Toy Story 3 is a masterpiece, not to mention probably the greatest movie ever made with a title that ends in “3.” This series has always stood for never losing the kid within us all, but here the Pixar team has outdone themselves with adventure, comedy, and a sentimentality that will leave most adults soggy-eyed and wishing they could be seven again. Watching the film, it seems unfathomable that at one point, during the Disney/Pixar tiff, the film seemed desperate for a non-Pixar, direct-to-DVD death. Thank goodness that did not happen, because this is one of Pixar’s top-three finest works and, if the Academy does what is right, a surefire Best Picture candidate.
Since the events of Toy Story 2, our hero Andy has grown up. He’s now seventeen and headed to college, and his mom has asked him to clean out his room. When it comes to his old toys, he can take them to college, store them in the attic, donate them, or throw them out. After a mishap that leaves Andy’s mom to believe the toys are trash, the toys wind up at a local youth center. At first Woody (voiced by Hanks), Buzz (voiced by Allen), and the whole gang think the place is a toy’s paradise. That quickly changes, and it’s up to them to bust out of the joint (there is a major prison escape theme) and get back to Andy before he leaves for good.
It’s now been fifteen years since the original Toy Story came out, but all of the themes remain here. The technology has not taken over this franchise, as it does to so many others. The screenplay, by Pixar’s top four scribes, is masterful in providing comedy, adventure, and genuine emotion. The risks that were taken have paid off, as the idea of escaping the children’s center effortlessly plays on escape film clichés (complete with an informant phone) and none of the creativity that made the previous two films so great is lost.
The series has always had some dark undertones, and that continues here. The toys are frequently in peril, and a late scene in which it seems like everything may be lost is undeniably effective. Closure is brought to the series in one of the most genuinely touching final fifteen minutes of any film of the last ten years. It’s satisfying and left me content with the series ending on this note. Whether that will be the case, since there are a few crevices that could be utilized for another film, remains to be seen.
Toy Story 3 will leave all but the most hardened of viewers with feelings of exhilaration, laughter, and an urge to reminisce about the good old days when your favorite toy was your life. As an adventure film it succeeds. As a comedy it succeeds. As the capper to one of the greatest trilogies in all of film, it is an absolute masterstroke and one that should delight audiences of all ages worldwide.
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Length: 103 Minutes
Theatrical Release: June 18, 2010
Directed by: Lee Unkrich
Written by: Michael Arndt & John Lasseter & Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich.
Cast: Tom Hanks (voice), Tim Allen (voice), Joan Cusack (voice), Ned Beatty (voice), Don Rickles (voice)