The third film in this trilogy takes place eight years after the events of the second film and the toys are dying for some attention. Andy is a teenager, about to head off to college, and the family of toys has gotten smaller and neglected from being played with for some time. The toys are able to deal with the lack of attention for the most part, they are more concerned with being thrown away or being split up more than anything and they are planning to make sure that doesn’t happen. But after a couple of close calls and detours the group ends up at Sunnyside Daycare where they will be seemingly be played with a revolving door of kids for years to come but Sunnyside might not be exactly as cozy as it seems.
The film starts off with getting us reacquainted with the group, who is left, how their lives are going, and their plans for a post Andy world. The second act sets up Sunnyside and the new characters we will get to know along the way while the third act turns into…, well I will keep that a secret as Pixar has whole heartedly tried to do the same.
So I am going to keep tight lipped about a third of the film, what is there to talk about you might ask? Well plenty I say. I did have two very minor gripes with the film though I think both will go away with repeat viewings. First, the film seems to be a tad too self referential at times early on, especially with a certain character, but it actually pays off for them I the end so I think those qualms will subside. The second bit was the film did slow down a bit for me as it transitioned from the second to third act but the near perfect final acts will quickly erase any meandering. Here again though I think that any restlessness might have just been do to feeling so out of place with the characters and sharing their sense of urgency to move on from the situation.
You will find that sensation a lot over the course of the film, feeling the same thing the characters are feeling as Pixar again does a fantastic job of pulling you into the story right along with these beloved characters. Speaking of those beloved characters a couple don’t make it to this point in the series so be warned, fans of Bo, RC, Wheezy, Mr. Spell, and many more will be disappointed as they have moved on to new owner through many a yard sale. And while it is a bit sad and I do miss them there is enough of the gang around for you to enjoy; and we are assured they moved on to nice new owners.
The films humor is right in line with the other films, the pacing is impeccable, and I can’t rave enough about the fantastic third act. From the action to the emotion on display you will be pulled in every which direction and you will need a tissue or two by the time it is all said and done. In fact, there is a moment late in the film where things look grim and the moment is absolutely amazing and perfect in every which way and perfectly sells us on the predominant theme of the film, sticking together. I can’t wait till more people see this cause I really need to talk to someone about this scene, one of Pixar’s best. So you know what I am talking about, it involves hand holding.
The voice cast is stellar as always with Michael Keaton being the best new entry to the cast as the voice of Ken. His banter with Barbie is great and while a few of their moments stray a little too close to DreamWorks’ pop song overkill, Pixar keeps things brief and the song usage is perfect and not at all forced. I wish we could have gotten to know the Sunnyside toys a bit better actually, as well as some new faces at a detour for Woody, but for the sake of pace and the fact that this is Andy’s toy’s story I understand how we didn’t get to deep with those guys. That said the Lotso flashback works great. Pixar actually dives into the psyche of the toy on a number of occasions and it really gets you thinking about how hard it would be to be a toy if put in some of the positions these guys go through. Who knew being a toy could be so deep and tough.
In the end, Toy Story 3 more than carries the torch of the franchise and is even on par with the previous entries. With time I am sure this will be regarded just as highly as the much heralded prequels and I for one will hold multiple moments in this film with any other that Pixar has thrown up on the silver screen. Easily a top 3 film released so far this I can’t find a reason why anyone won’t enjoy this fitting conclusion to the Toy Story trilogy.
Toy Story 3 is an A+