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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pixar Manages Not To Surprise Me By Delivering Another Amazing Film


Toy Story 3: 4 and ½ out of 5 stars
Buzz Lightyear: Hold on, this is no time to be hysterical!
Hamm the Piggy Bank: This is the perfect time to be hysterical.
Rex the Green Dinosaur: Should we be HYSTERICAL?
Slinky Dog: No!
Mr. Potato Head: Yes!
Buzz Lightyear: Maybe! But not right now!

The toys are back in town for another adventure, which should serve as a fitting end for the tales of Woody, Buzz, and the gang. Pixar once again knocks it out of the park by delivering a story that is exciting, funny, witty, good at delivering some strong dramatic punches, and just very enjoyable overall.

Hamm the Piggy Bank: C'mon. Let's go see how much we're going for on eBay.

After an exciting and very fun opening sequence, which should be awesome to everyone who has watched the previous films again and again, we learn that Andy is now soon to be headed off to college and the inevitable time has arrived for Woody and the rest of the toys; Andy has grown up. Andy's mom has of course given Andy a big decision of what to do with the remaining toys in his possession - Attic, Trash, or Donation. While saving Woody, Andy decides to put the rest away in the attic, but one thing leads to another, and all the toys end up at a daycare center.

Soldier: Let's face it. When the trash bags come out, we army guys are the first to go.
Buzz Lightyear: Trash bags?
Woody: Who said anything about trash bags?  
Sergeant: It has been an honor serving with you. Good luck, folks.

Once at the daycare, Andy's toys meet with the toys living at the daycare, which includes Lotso the bear, voiced by Ned Beatty, and a Ken doll, voiced by Michael Keaton. At first everything seems like it may be alright, as the toys will be played with constantly, but soon Andy's toys learn what its like to be in this daycare and discover that Andy may not be done with his old toys after all. Now, Woody, Buzz, and the gang need to find a way to make it back home.

While I was never skeptical of the idea for a third Toy Story movie made by Pixar, I was only expecting to have a lot of fun, without the film getting to me in the ways that Toy Story 2, let alone the two previous Pixar films - Up and Wall-E have. For the most part, I was right. The film essentially sets itself up as a fun comedy, using a prison-break scenario to provide for much of its plot, but dammit, once again Pixar manages to do something wonderful and get me completely caught up in some big dramatic moments that are either thrilling or emotional in some way. Of course you can expect the happy ending, but its a credit to how good Pixar is putting a strong enough focus on characters and story to keep you invested enough to care.

The original cast, consisting of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, Estelle Harris, and John Ratzenberger all return, along with some more familiar folk, making sure to treat this film with the same amount of respect as the previous two. As a result, everything sounds just as natural as it should. This is important because a strong theme in this film revolves around family and the lengths people...er toys can go to in order to remain together and focus on the importance of both staying together and fulfilling one's purpose. And having a talented group of people that instill enough into their characters, whether it be for comedy or establishing pathos, that we are certainly on board is a great way for maintaining this importance.

Buzz: What a nice bear.
Rex: And he smells like strawberries!

Once again, the animation is fantastic. It's been 15 years since the original film and the advancements in how great to make these films look is certainly apparent here. A great amount of detail and certainly the most settings yet for this series prove to once again show off how much great work Pixar is able to pull off. Equally wonderful is the Randy Newman score, which makes you feel instantly right at home as you watch this film (and a twist on one signature song is certainly welcome). And be sure to look out for the tons of Easter Eggs hidden throughout this film.

A really wonderful film that can be enjoyed by anyone, certainly solidifying Toy Story as one of the best film trilogies out there.

Two final notes: The 3D looks good, but really isn't necessary (what a shock) and the short, Day & Night, that comes before the film (as per usual with Pixar films) is extremely clever and one of my favorites.

Woody: [in Bonnie's room] Look, I just need to get out of here...
Buttercup: [dramatically] There is no way out!
[Woody stares at him in horror]
Buttercup: Just kidding. Door's right over there.

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