The marketing is everywhere. Toys, games, tie-ins, and more. Oh yeah, and there’s a movie.

Plus, Brian finally caves in and sees a 3D movie.

Title: Toy Story 3

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Directed by Lee Unkrich

Written by Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich

Cast:

Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Ned Beatty as Lotso
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Michael Keaton as Ken
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head

Premise

Andy is now 17 and ready to head off to college, leaving Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and the rest of the toy-box gang to ponder their uncertain futures. When the toys are accidentally donated to the Sunnyside Daycare center they’re initially overjoyed to once again be played with, but their enthusiasm quickly gives way to horror as they discover the true nature of the establishment under the rule of the deceptively welcoming “Lotso” Bear. Now, all of the toys must band together in one final, crazy scheme to escape their confines and return home to Andy.

High Points

  • We all know the comedy to be mined from the Ken/Barbie thing, but it really is funny and well-played.
  • Buzz’s Spanish Mode.
  • There’s a moment in the film’s action climax. No dialog, yet very moving. That’s good storytelling.
  • Andy and Bonnie in the finale.

Low Points

  • The 3D didn’t really add anything. It was nice, but it didn’t bring the storytelling to a new level. What it did do was to make the screen dimmer. It also cost me and extra $3 a ticket. Therefore, it becomes a low-point.
  • The jokes about Ken being effeminate are funny…at first. Then they go on too long throughout the movie. I kept waiting for another character to say “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

The Scores

Originality: Well, it is the third movie in the series, so it loses something there. On the other hand, the characters are all familiar and that helps. The script is brave enough to tackle a pretty adult concept of growing old and losing relevance in your world. 4 out of 6.

Animation: Brilliantly realized. The Toy Story characters look great and they should. Because of their age, their models are no longer compatible with the current generation of Renderman software (yes, they were obsolete behind the scenes too). There’s a level of detail we haven’t seen before and it’s fantastic. 6 out of 6.

Story: It’s touching, moving, funny, and sad. All at once. It’s freaking Pixar, we shouldn’t expect anything less. 6 out of 6.

Acting: The old cast is back and sounds great. The new editions (Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton) are spot-on. And my wife felt that Buzz in Spanish is one of the funniest things ever. 6 out of 6.

Production: Not only does the animation rock, but there are some truly fantastic set pieces and shots. Technology is one thing, but paired with talent? It’s a beautiful thing. 6 out of 6.

Emotional Response: No! No, I’m not crying…something in my eye. Both of them. 6 out of 6.

Overall: I’m so glad Pixar got a hold of this movie and not Disney. Heaven knows that could have sucked something profound. It’s a great piece and, if it’s the last in the series, a perfect ending to the trilogy. I just hope Disney has the good sense to just let it be from here on out. 6 out of 6.

Total: 40 out of 42.