While Pixar had pushed the Cars franchise at an aggressive rate, their other films had been allowed to remain largely untouched. In spite of the second film’s success, it was not until 2010 that we saw the third installment of the Toy Story films.
This time, we find Andy getting ready for college. When the toys are accidentally mistaken as trash, they decide to stow away in a box marked for the local daycare center.
Woody promises them it will be terrible, and shortly after they arrive, he tries to sneak out to return to Andy. However, on his way, he is found by young Bonnie, who brings him home.
The other toys are greeted by Losto (a stuff bear) and the other toys. They sell our old friends on what a paradise the daycare is. But the truth is much darker. Lotso is pretty much the Godfather of the joint. He runs the show and force new toys to be played with by the youngest kids in the daycare…regardless of whether these toys are meant for that age or not.
This is a pretty crazy story, but it works pretty well. Lotso is charming at first, but you learn he has turned dark from rejection. Meanwhile, his henchman Ken is taken with Barbie. At first she is smitten, but when she discovers what Lotso does to the other toys, she rejects the cushy life Ken offers.
Meanwhile, Woody is also living a good life with Bonnie and her toys, but he wants to return to Andy…and when he finds out the truth about Lotso and the Daycare, he is determined to save the other toys.
The animation in this is pretty terrific and has come far. Textures, vibrant colors, hair…everything looks great. And this time around they have opted for a more stylized look to the human characters which is some much more pleasant to watch than the humans of the previous films.
As usual, there is a lot of heart to this film…it is a bit heavy as the toys contemplate death and complete destruction…but still, it really tugs at the heartstrings.
Again, the performances of the voice cast bring this to life in a way a lot of films fail. Even the stunt casting never feels like a mere stunt. The performances feel full of care, and everyone delivers.
Somehow, Pixar managed to keep the same quality in three films, avoiding the dreaded failure within the franchise that each announced film brought. Toy Story three would have been a perfect cap off to the series, really. You would have had a high quality trilogy. It is full of love, humor and even grown up fears and emotion. Toy Story 3 is a great continuation of the Toy Story Series.
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