Pixar is a baffling entity. For the last 15 years or so, they have released a non-stop string of quality movies. These movies aren’t just good, they’re usually phenemonal. Even the movie considered to be their one misstep (Cars) is still not a bad movie. Every time you see the previews for the next Pixar movie you often wonder “how the hell are they going to make a movie out of that?” and they always deliver time and time again. You think most studios could take the concepts behind Wall-E or Up and make a quality movie out of them? I think not.
Toy Story 3 seemed to have a lot of people worried. Pixar is not big on sequels and although Toy Story 2 was just as fantastic as the first, would they really be able to capture that same magic for a third time?
Long story short, oh my good god yes. I can’t quite commit to saying that this is better than the previous two Toy Story movies, but I can easily say that it is on par with them and does not in any way represent a dip in quality.
I won’t delve into the story because I went in knowing virtually nothing about the plot (having somehow avoided most of the trailers) and it was great to have everything be a complete surprise. I will say that rest assured, it is a story worth telling. It’s clearly not a cash grab sequel where the story wasn’t a huge concern. They took their time with this one (it’s been 11 years since the last Toy Story) and made sure they had a story that felt like the next natural step, and also brought closure to the series in a satisfying way. Toy Story remains the shiniest example of exactly how to do an animated sequel. So take note every single other animated sequel that has ever come out ever.
In addition to their usual top-notch story telling, Pixar carries on another tradition of releasing movies that can actually be enjoyed by both kids and adults. The majority of kids movies, both animated and live action, have not even come close to figuring out how to pull this off. They usually think if they throw in a pop culture reference only parents will get (“Marmaduke said don’t put baby in a corner! I kind of remember seeing the movie that’s from!”) than that somehow counts. Pixar knows full well that’s bullshit and that it’s possible to make a movie for both, it just takes some effort, which I guess most kid’s movies aren’t willing to do. Toy Story 3, as clichéd as it sounds, really does have something for everybody.
Of course all of the original voice actors return for this installment, and some ones are on board as well. Out of all of them I would say Ned Beatty stands out as the villain of the picture, Lotso. He seems to be having a lot of fun with the role and he has this weird charm to him even though he’s playing the biggest bastard of a teddy bear you will no doubt ever see. Seriously, don’t fucking trust teddy bears.
Do I even really need to mention that the animation is top notch? No? K good, moving on.
It’s also worth mentioning that we saw this movie in 3D and while impressive, I wouldn’t say you need to pay the extra bit of cash to see it in 3D. It’s a great movie no matter what dimension you watch it in and 2D would not take anything away from it at all.
If you have no plans to see Toy Story 3 you are seriously missing out. It helps to have seen the previous two (and really, why the hell wouldn’t you have seen those movies by now?!) but I would imagine this be enjoyed without any prior knowledge of the series. In fact, this is one of those movies where I honestly don’t know how someone couldn’t enjoy it. Unless that person is Armond White, but fuck that person.
In closing, if I ever hear that You’ve Got A Friend In Me again it will be way too fucking soon.