Toy Story 3


Directed by

Lee Unkrich


Written by

John Lasseter (story)

Andrew Stanton (story)

Lee Unkrich (story)


Michael Arndt (screenplay)


Release Date

June 18, 2010 (USA)






Tom Hanks

Tim Allen

Joan Cusack

A critique by Daniel Taveras



1995's Toy Story was one of those landmark, groundbreaking, milestone, watershed, (insert similar descriptive word here), motion pictures. Animated cinema suddenly became a bit more alien. As the first fully computer generated feature it razed a path for new, creative, polygon-built ideas. What made the original Toy Story such a hit wasn't the newfangled visuals, but the classic and endearing (and enduring) troupe of characters. It's been such that in the past fifteen years few have stayed as ever present and iconic as Woody and Buzz Lightyear.


Toy Story 3 had reason to fail. Not fail in the traditional "good movie, bad movie" sense but fail in a more internal way. "Failing" in studio Pixar's sense of the word is Cars, and that film grossed nearly five-hundred million worldwide. Pixar films, though they draw ridiculous box office, have always been more about boring through to the innately human functions of our inner workings. Entrenching a deep sense and feel for character through computer created cold hard machinery. Pixar has single-handedly kept the Disney tradition afloat, so anything less (Box Office or not) than an affecting work would be, in essence, a failure.


Enlisting the help of Michael Arndt (better known as the man who penned indie to Hollywood hit Little Miss Sunshine) was a good way to start. It was a curious but bright and forward thinking move. What comes out of it, and what has come through in the majority of Pixar's recent work, is a story that feels more adult than perhaps it should. The guilty college-aged stand up and say, "this film was made for us".


But maybe it really was. Maybe it was built for those who grew up with the films; who played with their own Buzz Lightyear and ran around yelping, "To infinity…and beyond!" Andy, the now off to college owner of said Buzz Lightyear and the rest, is voiced by the same kid who did so all those years ago, John Morris. Yes, they could have casted anyone. No one would know the difference. John's casting was not just for nostalgia's sake, no way. He's lived through the character of Andy, and now as an adult he's able to look back at his experience in a way no one else really could.


Fairly young folks won't get the melancholy. They'll laugh at "Spanish Buzz" and cackle at his strange dexterity. And that's fine. In what must be the most difficult balance in cinema entertainment, Pixar does wonderfully. They take the same work and make it a pleasure for young and old. Other CG "kids" films harp on sight gags and baby humor. They hire A to B list celebs (not voice actors) to provide the dialogue for, fundamentally, polygonal sterility, and make it painfully difficult for an advanced audience to connect with it. Though it's a slight step-down from the brilliant and beautiful Up (mostly due to the constraints a sequel is inherently tied to), Toy Story 3 is a film of soul ripping cheer and heart. It's a sequel that achieves the improbable and near impossible and makes you ask yourself why cinema isn't this affecting more often.


Pixar has done it again. Their toys shine like new.



Bottom Line: 4.5/5.0