By Dave Campbell | June 18, 2010
Director: Lee Unkrich
Writer: Michael Arndt
Starring: (voice) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris
Our old pal Andy Davis has graduated from high school and is just a few days away from moving off to college. Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the remaining toys Jessie (Joan Cusack), Bullseye, Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Hamm (John Ratzenberger) and Slinky Dog (Blake Clark) are tucked away in his old chest. They anxiously await the outcome of their future since Bo Peep, Wheezy, and others have fallen victim to yard sales and donations of years past. Andy’s mom asks him to start dividing his things based on what he intends to take with him, storage for the attic, and what will be donated to the neighborhood daycare center.
Andy places Woody in his college box and the rest of the familiar toys into a trash bag he intends to take to the attic. Andy get’s distracted and heads downstairs just as his mom makes another round to gather trash around the house. She mistakenly takes Andy’s trash bag meant to be stored in the attic out to the curb for garbage collection not realizing what’s inside. Woody heads outside to assist his friends and they all end up in the garage as they hide from the humans.
Woody attempts to explain the mix-up to everyone, but Jessie convinces the rest of the toy crew that Andy intentionally threw therm away so they need take charge of their own future. Once on-board the toys stow away with the box of donated items along with Molly’s (Andy’s sister) Barbie (Jodi Benson) headed to Sunnyside Daycare in the Davis family car. Woody delivers a final plea, but Andy’s mom closes the rear hatch of the station-wagon and heads to Sunnyside.
Once at Sunnyside, the toy’s loves drastically change. Sunnyside’s vast population of toys come out with the warmest of welcomes led by Lotso aka Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear (Ned Beatty). We also meet Lotso’s side arms Ken (Michael Keaton) who instinctively falls for Barbie, and a lazy eyed classic baby doll named Big Baby. Everyone seems beside themselves about their new lives, but Woody’s suspicions of being there in the first place turn into an actual nightmare for Andy’s toys as they quickly learn that Sunnyside isn’t what it seems.
Along the journey Woody meets some new friends including Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), Trixie (Kristen Schaal), Buttercup (Jeff Garlin), Dolly (Bonnie Hunt), the Peas-in-a-Pod, Totoro and Chuckles the Clown (Bud Luckey) who fills him in on the truth about Lotso’s reign over Sunnyside. With the help of his inside informant Chatter Telephone, Woody must return to Sunnyside in order to rescue his friends and get back to Andy before he leaves for college. Andy also has to make tough choices when it comes to destiny of his beloved toys and the joy that they could possibly bring to someone else.
Pixar is simply the only studio that can guarantee excellence every single time they produce a film. It’s as if they sold their souls many years ago in order to only make great films. Sure I like certain Pixar movies more than others, but the fact remains that audiences and critics alike highly praise everything that they do; and for good reason.
I mentioned this before in my review for UP, but Team Pixar always manages to hit every single human emotion even when we’re talking about inanimate objects. Toy Story 3 doesn’t manage to go quite as deep as Wall-E or UP, but it still brings out the childhood sentiment and memories of the past in a very satisfying way. They also manage to make all the gushy emotional moments work without becoming sappy and overstated.
This is a thoroughly engaging conclusion to the story that kicked off Pixar’s successful presence in the world of features. I still don’t think that 3D is going to stick in all forms of film, but if there ever was a stage for the format…this is it. Toy Story 3 packs great story with solid laughs, touching characters, and amazing CG animation for a complete experience worthy of closing out the franchise.
To infinity and beyond old friends.