By Jennice Fuentes
I love Pixar! They are the F.A.O Schwartz for movie lovers! These folks do deliver…and how. But let’s just cut to the chase: why can’t the rest of Hollywood be just like Pixar?
Toy Story 3 is a wickedly good movie and quite frankly, one of the best movies of the year. And how does a terrifically-well made animation movie about the secret lives of toys stand ready to become a megahit in a jaded, saturated and cynical world? Quality, quality and quality. There really is no other answer.
Its been 15 years since we all meet the lovable straight arrow cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks), the self-delusional but well-intended Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), the feisty Jessie (Joan Cusack) and the rest of the gang who we have come to know as Andy’s (John Morris) toys. Well, Andy is now a 17-year old boy headed to college and moving out of his home and into a college dorm.
Under real pressure from Mom (Laurie Metcalf), Andy is forced to make a quick decision about his toy collection: attic or trash??? Oh, these toys have worked hard to get to where they are and Andy is really not a heartless kid so they are going to tha attic. But some last minute rushing around led the beloved toys to be donated to the local daycare, one “Sunnyside” Day Care Center.
What could possibly go wrong? After all, being played with all day long does not sound too bad if you are a toy. It’s definitely better than living (even if with your friends) in a big box in the dark attic. The gang, who is still reeling from the fact that Andy selected only Woody to go with him to college, first sees the day care as their own Shangri-La and the answer to their prayers…and meet with all sorts of different fellas, including a potential mate for Barbie (Jodi Benson), a Ken (Michael Keaton) who enjoys living in a Dollhouse with Carrie Bradshaw’s closet…(yes, we always knew Barbie had weird taste… )
But not all that shines is gold. While they are at first warmly welcomed by an apparently loving big pink teddy bear named Lotso (Ned Beatty), instead of the benevolent father figure he seems to be, he really is a Fascist dictator who runs the place in the brutal despotic way you would expect Mussolini to run a prison.
Woody is making his way back to Andy when he learns of the fate of those to end up at Sunnyside, and like a good marine decides that he cannot leave his friends behind and heads back to save them. “Leave no toy behind!” Who needs a friend when you have toys like these!??
Escaping from Alcatraz would have been a piece of cake compared to trying to get out of Sunnyside’s Caterpillar Room. But these toys are smart, ingenious, resourcefull and a very tight A-team…all needed qualities of an escape worthy of the Shawshank Redemption. Of course, escapes are never without drama and poor Mr. Potato becomes Mr. Tortilla Man and Buzz has a hysterical malfunction that transforms him into an Antonio Banderas version of a Conquistador/Matador crossed with a Gypsy King. I laughed until I cried…this is pure brilliance.
Toy Story 3 also has moments of agonizing terror that seems almost too harsh for children, until you remember that this movie is really for adults, who can use their children as an excuse to enter the theater…
This Toy Story is probably more developed and complex at any human level than the previous three and equally if not even more emotionally satisfying than the previous two. This time around, the issues seem really human and touch on a variety of universal emotions that ring true to anyone who had a childhood and played with a toy…so pretty much everybody in the movie theater. The beauty of this movie is that is a nicely wrapped gift to the child buried inside every adult.
Yes, we all left our toys behind a long time ago, in fact, so long ago that even the nostalgia for those long-gone days seems to be vanishing. Everything is so high tech today and entertainment is more about instant gratification…and pressing a button. But enter Toy Story 3 and you will know exactly what I mean. Laughter and tears that all come from a very good place…your nostalgic heart!
Toy Story is so very good, from the very funny beginning (death my monkeys is my personal favorite!) to the bittersweet end, so very good indeed that it did not need to be an Imax movie or even 3D. Its terrific just on its own two little sturdy feet: a masterful achievement in movie making and story telling.