Their have been a lot of animated film series over the years; some good, some bad and today I want to talk about the latest addition to the greatest animated film series of all time. This is the Illusive Ones Review of Toy Story 3.
In 1995, the animation company, Pixar, released the first Toy Story film and it was undoubtedly one of the greatest animated films of all time. I remember seeing this movie in the theater as a kid and it always made my imagination run wild, thinking that if I ran into my room fast enough or crept in quietly enough I'd catch my toys talking and/or moving about, (and as you can imagine, that never happened much to my disappointment). At the time, it was the highest grossing animated film of all time and was nominated for 3 Oscars and was the film more or less responsible for the Academy’s adding of the Best Animated Picture Category.
Toy Story 2 came along four years later and proved to be one of the greatest sequels of all time, (and for a Disney sequel that's saying a lot). Whereas the first one seemed to have dealt with being replaced and ones place in the world, this one got in to Woody's past and dealt with the inevitability of growing up. And now, over ten years later, the series has come into full circle and this is my look at Toy Story 3.
Many years have passed sense the end of Toy Story 2. Andy has grown up and is on his way to college. Over the years, most of the toys have been sold, thrown out, or given away and only a handful remain. Thinking that being donated to a daycare is better than being thrown out or spending eternity in the attic, the toys steal away in a box being delivered to one. At first the daycare seems like a paradise but the toys quickly find that its leader, the teddy bear Lotso, is a tyrannical dictator who sets the daycare so new toys are doomed and it's up to Woody to free the other toys and break out of the daycare before Andy leaves for college.
On the positive side, everything that made the original two films great is in this film. The childish humor with a few subtle, adult jokes, the moral dilemmas, the terrifying moments and the great voice acting, (with the acceptation of Jim Varney who sadly died of lung cancer in 1999), were all in play and just as entertaining. As I said, it was full of a lot of great jokes and gags that even as an adult I found hilarious. There were several moments I thought the toys were actually doomed and gave me the chills, (and trust me when I say that doesn’t happen to me too often with films). This one also had its own powerful set of themes. Whereas 2 dealt with the inevitability of change, this one dealt with the change as it was upon the characters and how they choose to deal with it.
The characters are still as great as they were when they were first introduced and I found myself incredibly emotionally invested in these characters, more so then any other cast of characters that came out last year. The last positive to mention is the main antagonist, Lotso. While the previous Toy Story films had great villains, I felt Lotso was the best of the three. He was a good toy who had gone bad and, unlike the last two, was completely unpredictable and you never knew what he was going to do next.
On the negative side there were a lot of silly and annoying things about it, most dealing with Buzz, Barbie and Ken. Barbie and Ken I just found obnoxious and felt they were unnecessary additions to the cast. I also found Spanish Buzz to be incredibly annoying and out of place. His relationship with Jessie hadn't really developed and still seemed like they just met even though they've known each other for years. The last thing I have to complain about is Tim Allen’s voice acting which didn't seem right. I don't exactly know what it was about it, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.
All around, however, Toy Story 3 was just as good as its predecessors and one of the greatest sequels I've ever seen. It was like seeing a film with a great, personal nostalgia value and adding in a new story and, in truth, it was probably my favorite film of 2010. So if you've seen the first two and loved them as much as I do then I highly recommend seeing this one. The ending will bring a tear to your eyes, it will remind you of a more innocent time when toys were still cool and I guarantee it will entertain the heck out of you.