Director: Lee Unkrich
Voice cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, Blake Clark, Michael Keaton
How many threequels can you think of that is just as good as the first two or better? Some might say Return Of The King, but I can only think of Die Hard With A Vengeance surpassing its predecessors. Other than that, most threequels perform below par and are remembered as nothing more than an opportunity to cash in on the original's popularity.
So you gotta ask yourself: after 11 years, is a third Toy Story a good idea? I am glad to answer yes to this question. It's so relieving to note that after all these years, Woody, Buzz and gang are still as entertaining as ever.
As most of you know, Toy Story revolves around a bunch of toys owned by a young boy named Andy. Through thick and thin, these toys look out for one another as they face the many obstacles thrown in their path, like bad neighbors, other selfish toys and the threat of either being discarded or destroyed.
In this instalment, Andy is now 17 years old and way past the age where he would usually play with his favourite toys. In fact, it's been years since he's picked up Woody, Buzz and the others for a round of fun. Now that he's going off to college, Andy's mother persuades him to decide what to do with them.
Andy ultimately decides to take Woody with him to college and put the rest of them in the attic. But then his mum accidentally disposes of them in a trash bag. Woody manages to reunite with them as the gang gets themselves transported to Sunnyside Daycare, a place where many little children spend time playing with toys. It is here that the gang meet Lotso the Lots-O' Huggin' Bear, leader of the other toys at Sunnyside. He shows the gang the supposedly great place Sunnyside is, where they will be played with five days a week, and the gang, preferring this over spending their lifetime in Andy's attic as forgotten playthings, decide to stay.
Woody however, still loyal to Andy, refuses to join them and chooses to go back to Andy. He gets out but doesn't quite make it home. Elsewhere, Buzz and company realize that Sunnyside isn't such a great place as the children assigned to play with them are toddlers who abuse and manhandle toys. Even worse, they discover that Lotso isn't the kind and generous toy he initially makes himself out to be.
So again, after 11 years, is Toy Story 3 a good idea? Now that I have seen this, I understand. It has taken Pixar this long to come up with a story that will be good enough to make into a film. If this had been rushed, like most threequels are, it would have been below expectations. This instalment is not only top notch entertainment, but it also ends the trilogy perfectly. And I do mean perfectly.
I have to admit, this film is a lot darker than the original two, and the jokes are slightly less memorable than say, Woody and Buzz's hilarious banter in the first film or the movie references in the second one. But it still works because it gives a lot of room for the toys to execute some well made drama that will endear you to them as you get to the end. And what an ending it is. I really felt like shedding a tear or two in the final minutes, and I hadn't felt that way since seeing Jessie the cowgirl's backstory on being abandoned in Toy Story 2. It's just brilliant.
I need to make a special mention of Ken and Barbie, who make their appearance here very worthwhile indeed. Ken in particular, voiced by Michael Keaton, stands out as the fashion obsessed toy who has to choose between Barbie and his less honorable friends working for Lotso.
My advice to you is: if you've seen and enjoyed the first two Toy Story films, you HAVE to see this. You have to bring yourself to a theater now and see it.
This may be the last time I'll say this, so here goes: To infinity, and beyond! (4.5/5)