PIXAR MASTERPIECE REVIEW: “Toy Story 3” is voiced by Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Captain Phillips), Tim Allen (Home Improvement [TV series], The Santa Clause), Joan Cusack (Working Girl, School of Rock), Ned Beatty (Rango, Superman ), Don Rickles (Casino, Dirty Work), Wallace Shawn (Don Peyote, Robo-Dog), John Ratzenberger (Cheers [TV series], What If…), Estelle Harris (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody [TV series], Stand and Deliver), Blake Clark (50 First Dates, The Waterboy), Michael Keaton (Birdman: Or [The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance], Batman ), Jodi Benson (The Little Mermaid, Enchanted), John Morris (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Medusa), Emily Hahn (Wreck-It Ralph, ParaNorman), Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne [TV series], Stop-Loss), Bea Miller (Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Tell Tale), Teddy Newton (Ratatouille, Wall-E), Bud Luckey (The Incredibles, Winnie the Pooh ), Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights, License to Kill), Kristen Schaal (The Last Man on Earth [TV series], Bobs Burgers [TV series]), Jeff Garlin (Daddy Day Care, The Goldbergs [TV series]), Bonnie Hunt (Cars, Jerry Maguire), Jeff Pidgeon (Tracy, A Bug’s Life), and R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket, Se7en). It is directed by Lee Unkrich (Coco, Finding Nemo), who also wrote it with John Lasseter (Toy Story, Cars), Andrew Stanton (Finding Dory, Wall-E), and Michael Arndt (Oblivion, Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens). Taking place several years after the previous installment, we find Woody (Hanks), Buzz (Allen), and the rest of the gang coming to grips that Andy (Morris) is finished with them, as he will be heading off to college soon. Seizing the opportunity to jump ship, the gang heads to daycare in search for new kids to play with them. But Woody is not willing to stay, and tries to coerce his friends that Andy still wants them.
It is so rare to find a film franchise that is consistently great. Usually after the first movie, a production company essentially gives up, choosing profit over value. That’s not the case with “Toy Story,” one of my all-time favorite franchises. Yes folks, it’s animated, but that should never mean it isn’t qualified. Anything is worth loving if it’s good enough. In approaching “Toy Story 3” in 2010, there were a lot of cards on the table. It’s hard to repeat success, so speculation was in order in wondering if this movie could hold up to the beloved films I grew up on. At the time, I could care less. I was around twelve years old when this came out, so expectations were non-existent. As long as it had Woody, Buzz, and the gang, I was set. The fact that this feature took as long as it did (eleven years) was enough to make me beg to see it in theaters. And I did…and I had a blast. Revisiting this group after such a long time in a new presentation was exhilarating. I remember sitting in the theater and watching in awe at the opening scenes, with Woody, Buzz, and Jesse (Cusack) recreating the playtime stories Andy would tell when he played with them in the first two movies. It was such a terrific throwback, launching me into a “final” journey that would be full of joy and tears. Like I stated in my “Toy Story” review, I grew up on these films, so watching this for the first time was both a welcoming and a goodbye to a piece of my childhood; something that should definitely persuade my scoring a bit more than the average moviegoer. While most may think that originality will fall flat around the third entry to a franchise, “Toy Story 3” proves them wrong, having a great and refreshing story that is engaging. Of course, seeing these guys again takes up most skepticism in a plot as I just want to see some more toy antics, but the writers go above and beyond to provide something genuine and heartfelt. Skipping many years was a great decision in making a story that wouldn’t follow too closely to the films prior, and it may just be the most gut-wrenching out of the three. Having the toys try to get Andy’s attention before he leaves for college was sad to watch, especially after seeing how much fun they had with their child owner. Things are changing, and moving on is the main theme; one that I found hard to stomach for the longest time. While that is going on, you have a parallel story arc where the toys end up in a daycare and need to escape. Although it may not seem relevant to the Andy-going-to-college arc, there are certain instances, especially with Lotso (Beatty), that do. I feel like this approach is the right way to go with a plot like this, as there is never a dull moment and everything escalates to a wonderful and tear-jerking conclusion. Our characters tackle a new obstacle and learn things from it, and character development is always appreciated. It was fantastic to see these toys again, and I also liked the new ones. Lotso and Ken (Keaton) were awesome. The voice acting, as usual, was great. Everyone did as you would expect them to, nailing every scene with their astounding voice work. The animation has improved immensely since “Toy Story 2,” with their character models looking more human and the toys more loose. They are inanimate objects, after all. As with most films, I look at color tones, and this one does a great job. The lighting in the daycare rooms was calm and bright, and when it needed to get serious, things got dark. I commend the animators for such a brilliant job. Finally, we reach the music. My boy Randy Newman is at it again, giving fresh tracks and referring back to past ones to give a nostalgic feel. His song “We Belong Together” is one to dance to. You can’t go wrong with Newman! If there was anything that I could say wrong about “Toy Story 3” it would be in (you guessed it) nitpicks. There really isn’t a problem with this release. For the longest time, however, I didn’t like the ending. I was basically the Woody in the scenario, where I wanted things to end the way it “should’ve,” sticking with what’s traditional. But, as years have passed, I have grown for the finale. It’s always been tough for me to move on from these toys, as well as their friendship with Andy. Watching this again was heartbreaking and sad, making me realize that I am in Andy’s shoes since I am going to college. I must leave my childhood behind someday, as everyone grows up. It may be hard, even more so for me, but it must be done. I’ll always hold onto “Toy Story,” and watching this only proved to me more how much it affects my life. I don’t know what the future holds in store for its next sequel, however. I feel like this is the one to end it all, but if there’s a great idea behind “Toy Story 4,” then make it. Just don’t blow the franchise. As for this movie though, watch it. Please. It’s such a great film and a fantastic send-off to beloved characters (at least for now). FINAL SCORE: 99%= Juicy Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Juicy Hall of Fame.
Here is the trailer:
Without further ado, here is my review for the short “Day & Night”:
MOVIE SHORT REVIEW: “Day & Night” is a 2010 Pixar short film that is directed by Teddy Newton. It follows two cartoon figures, one representing day and the other night, fighting and boasting over what they have to show in their time periods.
I was waiting to get to this short! No, I’m not an avid watcher of it, as I could barely remember what happens. What I do know is the idea, and that was enough to keep me anticipating. This short film presents the best idea so far out of any Pixar short. Visually, two cartoon figures representing day and night was so cool to see. I loved seeing this story unfold, as it was crazy to see them run on a plane that showcased certain locations in both day and night. The conflict was funny amongst the characters. Having them wish for things the other had offered great pacing as they both began showing each other what they were missing out on, keeping the plot constantly moving. I enjoyed viewing this. It is highly entertaining and brings such a brilliant idea to the table. The animation style and mind-trickery alone is enough to see it. So go ahead, watch it, and make my day (or night)! FINAL SCORE: 95%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the short: