Throwback Review: Toy Story 3

This week (believe it or not) marks 10 years since the release of Toy Story 3, Pixar’s 11th feature-length movie and of course the third of the Toy Story series. Here’s a look back to see how well it holds up all these years later. Let’s dive into the toy box to find out!

The film takes place 10 years after Toy Story 2. Andy is getting ready to go to College and the few of his toys remaining (including Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Jessie) are faced with the dilemma of what’s going to happen to them now that Andy is moving on.

After a misunderstanding, the toys find themselves in Sunnyside Daycare which seems like a good place, until night falls and it becomes a prison for toys. Will the toys reunite with Andy before he leaves?

This was a film I enjoyed re-watching and many memories came flooding back. First off, as you may expect from Pixar the animation still holds up very well today – especially when you consider what Pixar is capable of now – compared to the previous films in the series with a lot of interesting details – notice how one of Woody’s arms is puffier due to the events of Toy Story 2, Lotso’s fur and rubbish bags.

Director Lee Unkrich was a co-director of Toy Story 2 (also director of Coco). But John Lasseter (the original director) still had a hand in this film as a storywriter and this was definitely in safe hands and felt like a natural continuation of the story, like a proper sequel should be.

Most of the characters we’ve come to know, and love are all here. A few of the returning cast that are a joy to watch include Mr Potato Head (voiced by the late Don Rickles) who’s cynical humour always gave me a chuckle, especially when he belittles Woody. As well as this, we saw the enjoyable return of Slinky Dog (recast as Blake Clark for this film because the previous one, Jim Varney, died after Toy Story 2).

Of the new characters, the first one to talk about is the villain: Lots-o-Huggin Bear (or Lotso for short, voiced by Ned Beatty), a pink teddy bear who smells of strawberries. He is the toy in charge at Sunnyside and seems plush and huggable on the outside. Unfortunately, this sweet exterior hides a dark interior because he operates Sunnyside like a prison where the strong (including a baby doll) pride over the weak.

He is one of my personal favourite Pixar villains because, although we see he’s evil we also see why which is pretty sad (not the saddest part of the film though) especially when you consider that this could’ve happened to Woody.

One of the other new characters was Ken (voiced by Michael Keaton) who falls in love with Molly’s Barbie doll fulfilling every young kid’s fantasy. He is also one of Lotso’s henchmen, but changes as a result of being with Barbie for the better.

You feel a mix of emotions ranging from humour  – one of the best being when Buzz (or should I say El Buzzo) gets accidentally switched to Spanish Mode. There is also quite a bit of adult humour, especially the relationship between Buzz and Jessie. There are other emotional moments befitting of any Pixar movie, especially the ending when Andy gives away the toys before moving on.

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Toy Story 3 characters
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Re-watching this scene reminded me of my memories of preparing for starting University. However, one of the best scenes however is the incinerator scene – I’m not going to say anything further.

Ultimately, Toy Story 3 felt like a fitting conclusion to the trilogy meaning Pixar had their work cut out for them when developing the fourth film which, honestly, I’m not sure was needed.

With spectacular animation, a variety of humour and emotional moments, this was a film deserving of the “Best Animated Feature” at the Oscars. It even earned a nomination for “Best Picture” – which is a nomination just two other animated films have achieved (Beauty and the Beast and Up). This can be considered animation at its finest.

By Stuart McComb

Feature image: Disney

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