Toy Story 3

June 24, 2010
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4/5 STARS

The shindig on Toy Story 3 is simple, yet pleasantly predictable. The tale is of the loveable oddball toys finding themselves increasingly irrelevant to Andy, their boyish yet newly matured “body.” While still drawing on the familiar themes of separation and friendship, as masterfully illustrated in the previous two flicks, the movie captures the time period when it really does all hit the fan for Woody and the gang.

The gig is up—Andy’s going to college and trading his Potato Head for a Macbook, making the transition from boy to man. And thus we find ourselves at an impasse: What ever to do with the toys? Well…more like, whatever will the toys do with themselves?

And that is where to movie stems into much more profound contexts, do the toys sacrifice being played with as to serve Andy, or find somebody else to appreciate them more?

Well before either decision can be made, Andy’s mom yet again masterfully leads a tragic misunderstanding in accidently throwing all of Andy’s toys away. At least until Woody and the gang safely make into the garage via Recycling bin, and there they find themselves donated into daycare life.

Here one thing becomes apparent: Toy Story 3 is the story of toys that George Orwell never wrote. The first seemingly accommodating center where little kids play with toys until their tenure as children is complete…wash, rinse, repeat, turns quickly into an alarmingly shoddy center of totalitarian application. This impersonal organization is run by the ever so resentful Lots-O'-Huggin'-Bear and his partially developed cronies, including the ever so metro sexual Ken doll.

The journey to escape ensues, and it pulled an all too familiar string with me. Toy Story movies have time and time again portrayed intricate escape plans that keep the viewer anchored to the edge of their seat. Not that this isn’t a wonderful theatrical offering—it’s just a tad predictable. At times I wondered if all three movies were scripted off a cookie cutter template that turned this year’s version of the Old Prospector into a strawberry scented bear with even less a convincing façade then his predecessor.

All things considered, the action was more engaging than the majority of action films, due in part to unprecedented characterization near exclusively offered by the genius minds at Disney/Pixar. And while the movie was fantastic, I left the theatre with a slew of complaints.

I’ve already discussed the monotonous predictability of the plot devices, but my second issue was with the thematic inconsistencies. Woody, the Tom Hanks voiced pop culture icon that nearly personifies (or toy-sonifies?) heroism, preaches for 90% of the movie about serving Andy, whether or not doing so required residing in a musky attic. Without directly spoiling this one, let’s just say he changes his tune without explanation or further heart-warming speech. I have no issues with dynamic character work; I mean a changing tune is far better than a static one. But if you’re going to allow this dramatic of a mind changing, please provide an explanation! This is where I felt let down by the minds behind Toy Story 3.

While I, unlike one my fellow theatre goers, did not sob nearly uncontrollably at the end of the piece, I simply pondered my issues with this move. The movie’s final scene was tear-jerking, in just minutes providing closure to more than a decade of shenanigans. And yet I felt without true closure, as Woody had never justified his all so important final decision.

So here’s the compromise: 4 stars out of 5. The film making was brilliant, the characters were loveable as always, and the ending was morally sound (although perplexing.) The only thing prohibiting a perfect score for Toy Story is their attempts to force an ending down my throat without the courtesy of explaining its significance. Additionally, I felt as if I had seen Toy Story 3 twice, once in 1995 and again in 1999. While 11 years later the magic is still existent, my judgment is perhaps harsher, and my familiarities with these plot lines are simply all too well.





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