Movie Review: Toy Story 3- A Riveting and Emotional Ending to a Trilogy That Does More Than Not Dissapoint

When the animation studio Pixar announced they were making a third installment of the beloved Toy Story series there was certainly a feel of a pure business decision meant to put work into a film that they knew would make money. It seemed too safe and therefore the product, meaning the story, could suffer in the end making only an enjoyable film without the depth and message that the previous two films possessed. However, Toy Story 3 is everything but a cheap business move and embraces a truly remarkable and genuine examination into the darker themes of coming to terms with the ending of one’s purpose. Without the slightest bit of hesitation or reluctance, Pixar launches the remaining toys from Andy’s room into a world where they must come to terms with the finite of life and where friendship holds and is needed approaching the inevitable. There used to be a time when family films actually had realistic subject matter, such as Bambi’s mother dying or the evil that was Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. Now Pixar continues the tradition of forcing people to come to terms with the tough aspects of life and doing it in a relatable and potently emotional fashion. Toy Story has always made our toys to be more than just materialistic items but rather keys to our imaginations, and Pixar astoundingly finishes the series in such a way that it will pull at even the coldest of heartstrings.

In the sequel to Toy Story, Woody (Tom Hanks) had his challenge of pondering his own finite existence as to being a valid toy for his owner Andy. The decision was that being with his fellow toys, his friends, and seeing Andy grow up was well worth becoming obsolete in the end. In the beginning of Toy Story 3 the day has come where Andy is going off to college and hasn’t played with his toys in many years, not that there are many left to play with. Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang make a decision to be donated to a daycare after they are almost mistakenly thrown out by Andy’s mom. Knowing full well that it was a mistake, Woody goes along with the other toys to try and convince them that being Andy’s toys is all that matters. Jessie (Joan Cusack), due to her fears of being abandoned again, convinces the rest of the skeptical gang into staying at the daycare, where a seemingly nice hug bear named Lotso (Ned Beatty) manages the toys placement in the daycare. Andy’s toys are all placed in the younger children’s room where they are continuously abused, mangled, and torn apart (sometimes literally) realizing the only sound option is to escape once they know that Lotso runs a corrupt system of toy placement. Woody and the gang proceed to devise a plan of escape and most of the film is set around the execution of the plan. What is so intriguing and honest about Toy Story 3 is the dark tones and surprisingly shocking imagery that could be a little unsettling for kids, let alone sensible adults. But the true strength is putting these characters that we’ve already come to love and putting them into a desperate situation where coming to grips with their mortality is at the center of their development. This alone makes Toy Story 3 a gripping and truly emotional film that transcends simple enjoyment by allowing Pixar to do what they do best, and that is to contemplate something about the human condition.

The heavy subject matter of purpose and mortality are certainly explored here in Toy Story 3, and it isn’t for the light of heart. Sure there are those moments of humor and the quirkiness of the characters does shine, but there is a profound use of dark imagery centering on the antagonists in the film that could be unsettling. Also the situations that confront the familiar toys are darker and the motivations behind the villains are more psychologically driven based on what has affected them before. Pixar has done a great deal of preparation for this third installment of the series and an expectation where the characters couldn’t develop or be challenged anymore is proven exceptionally wrong here. The outstanding writing team at Pixar didn’t hold back and provided a resurgence of family films to confront realities that should be addressed to children and adults instead of what Dreamworks has to offer, which is just unreflective nonsense. The ending to Toy Story 3 is by far one of the most satisfying ends to a trilogy that could ever have been conceived, and the emotion that it conjures up is overwhelming. Make sure to bring tissues as the film makes you confront the characters fears, challenges, realizations, and bittersweet conclusions in a way that filmmaking was supposed to do.

Of course the success of the film’s message is always aided by character delivery, and while the familiar voices are here and don’t lag in any way like they do in the Shrek series, the new ones add to the atmosphere in much the same way it was done in Toy Story 2. Ned Beatty is excellent as Lotso, who possesses a damaged quality to his intentions and becomes the antagonist that you are so satisfied to see get what’s coming to him. A select few voices here and there spice up some of the scenes, such as “Curb Your Enthusiasm” regular Jeff Garner as a Unicorn and Richard Kind as the Bookworm. However, it’s Michael Keaton who steals the show as Ken, the doll who was destined for Barbie. The hilarious sequences of trying on clothes to the great voice delivery bring our expectations of a metro sexual Ken to life in a highly enjoyable fashion. Of course, the regulars such as Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger, and Wallace Shawn continue to provide a great use of their recognizable voices and personalities. And Adam Sandler film veteran Blake Clark does indeed fit well in replacing the late Jim Varney in the role as Slinky Dog, which there is practically no voice variation that can be noticed in the end. Allowing these talented and relatively unknown actors bring depth and personality to the characters that have been incredibly thought out in the writing process proves that Pixar not only knows how to deliver crystal clear animation but also knows what makes a great character that helps relate the intended message.

Toy Story 3 could have been a desperate attempt from Pixar to rush out a product that was intended to just make money rather than develop another original idea, but its evident here that money wasn’t at all behind the decision to make this emotional ending to the trilogy. The inevitable day of coming to terms with your finite role, whether it be with a job, purpose, or life, is something all people will eventually have to confront. Pixar has a no holds barred approach to subject matter that can be confronted in family films and in doing so they never disappoint due to this honesty to storytelling. It’s truly a wonder in modern Hollywood that Pixar has been so critically and populously celebrated, but they are here to show us that artistic entertainment isn’t at all an oxymoron. Toy Story 3 is everything you’re expecting it to be and much more, making the experience incredibly emotional and genuinely reflective.

Grade: A

One Response to “Movie Review: Toy Story 3- A Riveting and Emotional Ending to a Trilogy That Does More Than Not Dissapoint”
  1. Juan C says:

    It doesn’t surprise me. All Toy Story movies have been excellent in the past and this certainly doesn’t disappoint. I actually had my eyes filled with tears when they were on the way to the fire.

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