REVIEW: ‘Toy Story 3’

Director:
Lee Unkrich
Cast:
Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Joan Cusack
Ned Beatty
Rated: PG

It’s not often the third film in a trilogy can be one of the best in the series. Pixar managed to pull it off.

The third and likely final installment in the “Toy Story” saga begins with the main toys slowly watching as Andy begins losing interest. The film’s main plot begins with Andy being 17 and getting ready to leave home for college. At the same time, it’s now been years since Andy has actually seen the toys, let alone played with them.

The situation gets worse when, through a series of unfortunate events, the toys end up getting shipped away from their home to a daycare. At first, their new home seems like a paradise, but the more the protagonists stay at the daycare, the more like a prison it seems.

The biggest credit to give to Pixar with their latest animated feature is the juggling act they pulled off. Within this story is an exploration into the fear of being forgotten and a study into moving on and letting go, while also featuring a fantastic escape premise and charming humor.

“Toy Story 3” is able to balance all of these elements out equally, resulting in a picture that can make audiences laugh, cry and get some solid suspense, too. The movie also works as a true sequel to the past movies. Any good sequel has to build on the characters and themes of the previous installments, and this third film does just that.

The returning characters are fun to revisit as their surroundings continue changing, resulting in new outlooks on what their future will be. While the characters have their classic, fun personalities, there’s also an uncertainty for their futures, making them just as empathetic as they have been in previous films.

The new characters were also very good. For example, the character Barbie (Jodi Benson), was a lot of fun, being a complete contrast to what a person would expect from her. Another example was the new villain, Lotso, who was both intimidating while also having some solid depth.

In terms of animation, Pixar once again delivers excellence. As pioneers in CGI animation, they once again push the boundaries of the technology. Whether it be the human characters or the toys, everything looks great.

“Toy Story 3” does everything it needs to do. It wraps up the series and does so in a tremendously meaningful, heartfelt way. It’s the perfect ending to a franchise. 5 out of 5.

This review was first produced for the KSDM-KGHS Radio Station in International Falls, Minn.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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