Toy Story 3 (2010)

toy story 3

“Where’s your kid now, sheriff?”

The Scoop: 2010 G, directed by Lee Unkrich and starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack

Tagline: No Toy Gets Left Behind

Summary Capsule: It’s basically The Great Escape as performed entirely by toys. If you’ve never thought that’s something you’d want to see, well… trust me, you do.

Drew’s rating: Los juguetes están de vuelta en la ciudad!

Drew’s review: As parents of a 2-year-old, my wife and I face a constant struggle to find TV shows and movies that are 1) appropriate for the little one, and 2) will engage her interest AND ours. This is harder than it looks. Your average toddler follows complex plotlines only slightly better than does your average network executive, and if I have to watch one more episode of Yo Gabba Gabba, I’m going to put my foot through the TV. So Pixar is basically our godsend. I doubt our daughter really follows what’s going on, but the characters and voices are funny enough to hold her attention (except you, Wall-E), and the missus and I aren’t losing brain cells faster than a night of huffing lead-based paint. But Pixar only has so many movies, so you can bet Toy Story 3 was at the top of our Christmas list this year, and Santa came through. While watching it for the first time, two things struck me. The first is that it’s a very funny, poignant movie, not just par for the course with Pixar but among their very best. And the second is that this film is going to spawn an entire generation of hoarders.

I’m only half joking about that, by the way. For those who haven’t seen it, Toy Story 3 finds what’s left of the gang at the end of their function. Andy is 17 and leaving for college; while he decides to bring Woody along (and wouldn’t I love to see how that plays out… FYI kid, they don’t give single rooms to freshmen), Buzz and the rest are earmarked for storage, which through a series of mishaps turns into donation to Sunnyside Daycare. Being played with by a never-ending series of children seems like a dream come true, and Woody quickly finds his friends unwilling to leave. But Sunnyside has a dark side (ironic, no?) that may make it a lot less appealing, and meanwhile Woody is having problems getting back home. (For the third movie straight, not that I’m counting.) Could this spell the end for the Andy’s Room gang?

Anyone who’s seen more than one of them knows that Pixar movies always have a central message to impart. Monsters Inc. told kids not to be afraid of what’s in their closets. The Incredibles preached that you can’t (and shouldn’t have to) change who you are. Cars emphasized that being a self-centered jerk won’t impress girls with lower back tattoos. (Not sure I agree with that one.) And Toy Story 3 is teaching our kids that their toys are alive, and if they throw a single one away, that toy is probably going to get incinerated. And that is… dark. Makes me glad I sold all my Transformers and He-Mans to my best friend in a yard sale, where they remain safely to this day in his parents’ basement.

And make no mistake, there is a very sad movie buried in between all the jokes. A friend who took his niece to see it in theaters warned me he found it very depressing, and I can see what he meant. There’s something indescribably pitiable in watching the toys resort to elaborate schemes to manipulate Andy into noticing them. The film may be about the relationship between a boy and his toys, but it could just as easily be chronicling the final stages of a decaying romance, where both partners know the breakup is coming but feel powerless to do anything about it. Rex’s exuberance at being held for a paltry few seconds is akin to some poor schmuck getting excited because his ex-girlfriend gave him a polite smile when they happened to meet at the Starbucks he knows she visits every day.

In a similar vein, the ending is more emotional than you might have thought possible from an animated film. My mother had tears in her eyes; I might’ve too if I weren’t watching it with one eye while chasing my daughter around the house. (Even Pixar can only hold a 2-year-old’s attention for so long.) I won’t spoil it, but every important character gets one more moment to shine, the jokes are frequent and funny, and the animation and vocal talent is probably the best to date. If this is indeed the final Toy Story — and I suspect and hope that it is — it’d be hard to go out on more of a high note.

But I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ll be surprised if this film doesn’t make a lot of kids hold on to their toys, or at least donate them rather than tossing them out. We never had this kind of animated film growing up, and neither did any previous generation. These movies are so popular and have such an impact on kids — that doesn’t mean every child will become a pack rat, but I’d bet money a lot of parents in coming years will be frustrated when Junior refuses to relinquish a single toy he’s outgrown, and may find themselves making clandestine garbage dumps in the middle of the night. It’s something to think about. I’m incredibly glad Pixar exists, and I hope they continue making outstanding movies like Toy Story 3 for years to come. But I also hope they never turn their powers to evil, because they’ve demonstrated time and again that their offerings are far more touching and influential than an animated film has any business being. It’s an impressive accomplishment, and that’s why they’ve got a friend in all of us.

Who farted?

Intermission

  • The garbageman who almost picks up the toys is Sid from the first movie, discernible by his skull t-shirt.
  • Past characters mentioned as having been lost to spring cleanings and yard sales include Bo Peep, Wheezy, and Etch. Joe Ranft, who voiced Wheezy and Lenny the binoculars, passed away in 2005. Surprisingly, Slinky Dog remains a central character despite his voice actor (Jim Varney) having passed away in 2000. His new voice is provided by Blake Clark, who had been friends with Varney. [SPOILER] During the end credits, Slinky says “Golly Bob howdy,” one of Varney’s trademark phrases as his most famous character, Ernest P. Worrell. [END SPOILER]
  • At one point, Ken shows Barbie a varsity jacket with the letter “K” and a pennant reading “State.” Michael Keaton, who voices Ken, attended Kent State.
  • When it looked like Disney and Pixar would stop working together in 2004-2005, Disney had a script written for Toy Story 3, since they would retain the rights to any movies and characters created when Pixar still worked for Disney. This script involved a defect causing the recall of all Buzz Lightyear toys to Taiwan; however, when the toys learn that the Buzzes are being destroyed and replaced rather than fixed, they ship themselves to Taiwan to save “their” Buzz. When Pixar and Disney worked out their differences, this script was canned.
  • While being chased, Mr. Potato Head runs across a toy piano. The notes he plays are the “Petrushka chord,” a recurring motif from Petrushka, a ballet about a puppet that comes to life.
  • Since Toy Story 3‘s release, the MPAA has admitted that they perhaps gave a bit too much benefit of the doubt, and that in hindsight it really should have been a PG movie.

Groovy Quotes

    • Buzz: Evil Doctor Pork Chop!
    • Hamm: That’s *Mr.* Evil Doctor Pork Chop to you!

Sarge: We done our duty. Andy’s grown up.
Soldier: Let’s face it- when the trash bags come out, we army guys are the first to go.

Hamm: Come on, let’s go see what we’re going for on eBay.

Jessie: Poor Barbie!
Hamm: I get the corvette.

Ken: Love your leg warmers.
Barbie: Nice ascot.

Chunk: He ain’t the sharpest knife in the… uh, place where they keep the knives.

Lotso: F.A.O. my Schwartz.

Mr. Potato Head: It was cold and dark… nothing but sand and a couple of Lincoln Logs.
Hamm: Ehhh, I don’t think those were Lincoln Logs.

Jessie: Oh Woody, we were wrong to leave Andy… I, I was wrong.
Mr. Potato Head: Jessie’s right, Woody- she was wrong.

Buzz: Amigo? O enemigo?

Barbie: Authority should derive from the consent of the governed, not from threat of force!

Lotso: Where’s your kid now, sheriff?

Woody: Jessie… you’ll be okay in the attic?
Jessie: ‘Course I will. Besides… I know about Buzz’s Spanish mode now!
Buzz: My what?

Woody: So long, pardner.

Mr. Potato Head: I told you kids, stay out of my butt!

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Toy Story 1 & 2
  • Up
  • Soylent Green

7 comments

  1. On the subject of TV suitable for the kiddies which grown-ups can enjoy as well, there’s Rocky and Bullwinkle. The complete series is now available on DVD, so you don’t have to root out those scuzzy VHS tapes you recorded off of Nickelodeon way back when.

  2. I wondered about Andy taking Woody to college, too. Was he planning on ever playing with Woody, or just sitting him on a desk like a collectible? Since Toy Story 2 pretty much stated that collecting toys and not playing with them is bad, and since Woody would’ve been entirely alone whenever Andy wasn’t around, his going to college seemed like a far worse fate than going to the attic with the rest of the toys. He should’ve been jealous of them instead of the other way around… I may be over-thinking this…

    Anyway, I’ve always loved Toy Story, and I couldn’t possibly think of a better way to end the franchise.

    • Maybe Andy could’ve gotten a girlfriend with a stuffed animal for Woody to talk to? Although for that to work, they’d have to be living together, and that would never happen to a guy who brings a cowboy doll to college.

      Or maybe Andy’s roommate would collect anime figures. I’d pay to watch a movie of Woody slowly going insane surrounded by Final Fantasy and Robotech figures who only speak Japanese and fight each other when no one’s around.

  3. I think it is wonderful that this film encourages people to give away their old toys instead of trashing them! SPOILER

    In the end, Andy finds a child for whom his gang will be just as special as they were to him.

    /SPOILER

    That is not hoarding; it is recycling.

  4. According to the filmmakers’ commentary I watched last night, the scene where Lotso pulls Woody into the garbage bin was inspired by Evil Dead. (Actually. I think they mean the scene in Evil Dead 2 where Henrietta pulls Jake into the cellar.)

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