After “Toy Story 2” came out in 1999 earning critical acclaim and box office success on the same level as the original, Disney & Pixar worked on original films spanning from 2001-2009 including “Monster’s Inc,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Cars,” “Ratatouille” & “Up.” “Toy Story 3” was in “Development Hell” for a decade due to scheduling conflicts with The Cast, numerous rewrites. When I first Toy Story 3 was announced in 2005 with a potential storyline (now rejected) with Buzz Lightyear recalled to Taiwan because he started to malfunction, got me pumped. John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter & Lee Unkrich however, scrapped Buzz’s storyline in favor of a cohesive story to avoid recycling Toy Story 2.
Tom Hanks on the other hand, wanted a story to be cohesive without a retelling of a story already been told. Tom has a point, he basically wants to bring an older generation back with a fresh story and introduce younger movie goers as the older generation now have children. In 2009, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack & almost everybody reprised their roles. After a year of vigorous production, Toy Story 3 was finally distributed.
Toy Story 3 was released in 2010. (exact same year Inception came out) Like its predecessors, Toy Story 3 earned universal acclaim from critics & families from across the globe. In addition to critical acclaim, it became the first animated film to make $1 billion dollars at the box office as well as the highest grossing film of the year. Quentin Tarantino ranked Toy Story 3 as his favorite film of 2010 outranking Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Ironically, I picked Inception as my favorite film of 2010 while I ranked Toy Story 3 as a runner up.
Toy Story 3 ultimately won an Oscar for “Best Animated Feature.” “Toy Story 4” is officially out in theaters. I thought about sharing what’s good or bad about the third entry before I see the fourth installment of Pixar’s beloved franchise.
Today’s review doesn’t contain any crucial SPOILERS. If you’ve never ever ever seen Toy Story 1-3, feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Positive & Negative Qualities
Positive: The Cast from the first two films including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn & John Ratzenberger all did an excellent job for their respective voiceover performances.
Newcomers to the series such as Ned Beatty, Timothy Dalton, Michael Keaton, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Garlin, Whoopi Goldberg & Bonnie Hunt all did a fantastic job for their respective voiceover performances.
Animation has drastically improved since the last time we saw Woody, Buzz & Jesse’s last adventure. Character models are highly detailed alongside environmental locations.
Callbacks to the first two films were featured without recycling way too many plot elements from the original & second installment.
Blake Clark replaces the late Jim Varney as Slinky. Blake was very good friends with Jim. His performance as Slinky sounded exactly just like Jim. It’s as if Ernest came back from the dead.
Due to the events of the last two films, Woody is more responsible & wiser. He’s no longer a narcissist who wants to be the center of attention towards Andy. The third film shows Woody trying to make a noble decision whether he wants to stay with Andy, or move on to restart a new life with Buzz, Jesse & the rest of the toys.
Former Pixar filmmaker Lee Unkrich did an excellent job directing the third installment.
Oscar winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) did a decent job writing the script.
The Tone for the third installment is bittersweet. It’s perhaps the most emotional entry. Be prepared, because it’s gonna be one heck of a sobfest since the song “When Somebody Loved Me.”
Once again, Randy Newman orchestrated music for the third movie. He also penned the Oscar winning song “We Belong Together.” Music cues from the last two films are recycled in a good way.
Bo Peep’s absence is addressed. Toy Story 4 will explain about her whereabouts.
Humor retains the first two films’ style of comedy. Jokes were decent as each one made me laugh my rump off. Buzz’s “Spanish Mode” was also legitimately hilarious.
Opening Scene begins with an action pack sequence, way bigger than Toy Story 2’s opening scene.
A Montage Sequence ends with the five words. What the older generation of kids who grew up watching Toy Story, indicates it’s gonna be an emotional journey. This ain’t “The Notebook” people, this is Pixar known for making families cry.
A familiar character from the first installment makes a cameo appearance. I’ll give you a clue, look at his t-shirt.
Previews for the third movie never revealed the bad guy’s identity. I refuse to give away the name.
Mrs. Potato Head factors in as a prominent character much like her husband. Her role is bigger than the last movie.
My favorite line from the third entry is, “Where’s your kid now sheriff!” It deserves Bonus Points for giving me chills!
Like the first film, Andy’s mom’s car has a license plate labeled “A-113.” A recurring Easter Egg for animators who used to attended a classroom located in CalArts.
Lotso’s has an interesting background. Can’t spill the beans, you’re gonna have to see for yourselves.
Barbie & Ken’s chemistry isn’t a shove it down your throat romance. It’s played for laughs.
The third film’s pays an homage to prison films like “Escape From Alcatraz,” “The Great Escape” (it counts as one for a war film) & “Cool Hand Luke.”
A scene from “Mission Impossible” is referenced. Tom Cruise’s “Knight & Day” came out the same year as Toy Story 3. Tom Hanks also starred in spy related films including “Charlie Wilson’s War” & “Bridge Of Spies.”
At one point, Mr. Potato Head has a cucumber for a body. “Rick & Morty” later had the Emmy winning episode “Pickle Rick.” I guess Justin Roiland must’ve watched Toy Story 3 to come up with a wacky story worth an Emmy.
The Climax is heavily emotional yet intense.
I refuse to tell you about the ending. Without giving too much away, it’s gonna make you cry. I on the other hand never cried. That’s right, I never cried when it comes to animated films. If you have a sensitive side, bring a ton of tissues.
Scenes are shown during The End Credits.
Negative: To be honest with you fellas, I couldn’t find nothing wrong with Toy Story 3. I am giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for all the work. They deserve a Christmas Bonus worth a decade in the making.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
In my opinion, Toy Story 3 is an emotional roller coaster that’ll keep you psychologically invested to the characters we grew up and love since Pixar’s early years of building a groundbreaking movie that’ll span generations as a timeless classic. If you’re extremely excited to see Toy Story 4, I strongly recommend all three movies.