With The Voices Of: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, Jodi Benson, Laurie Metcalf, and Blake Clark.
Directed By: Lee Unkrich
I decided to take a second look at Toy Story 3, after having an argument with some friends over the Toy Story franchise. I said Toy Story 2 was my favorite, noting that it took what made the first film so great, and flipped it. Instead of Woody rescuing Buzz, it was Woody that needed the rescue, and Jessie became the first abandoned toy. I said that even though I enjoyed Toy Story 3, it is not as good as the first two.
Having just rewatched Toy Story 3, I can elaborate a bit more on why…
1) It just recycles the same “abandoned toy” story for Jessie and translates that into Lotso. Lotso is also a lot like The Prospector from the 2nd film, in that he is warm and welcoming at first, but when the toys want to leave, his evil nature shows. Lotso had his chance at redemption when faced with immediate death, and rather than the “aha!” moment we got, it would have been better to see Lotso have redemption, since the Toy Story 2 villain had no redemption.
2) Following that, did anyone really believe that the toys were going to die in the fire anyway? No.
3) The first film featured Woody as Andy’s loyal toy being faced with a new toy getting introduced, and taking his place as Andy’s favorite. It also featured Woody rescuing Buzz, and helping Buzz come to terms. The second film featured Woody needing rescuing now from Buzz, and Woody needing to be reminded of Andy. The third film features the toys being separated from Andy and escaping a daycare, ending up with a new owner. It’s just not the same dynamic. Jessie is virtually wasted, and featured really only as a love interest for Buzz, who also spends half the film as “not himself”.
It’s probably why it took them so long to make a Toy Story 3. There must have been so many conversations about plot, that they just settled finally on this script. But if you’re going to tell me Toy Story 3 is somehow superior to either of the first two films, I’m just going to laugh at you. Plus… how depressing is it that we lost Bo Peep like that? Wasn’t she Woody’s love interest, and she’s just… GONE? If anything, she was also Woody’s moral compass, keeping him grounded.
Don’t get me wrong… I like Toy Story 3, but on a second viewing, I was able to nitpick more. As far as the ending goes, I found it less emotional when Andy gives up Woody, as opposed to the idea that all his toys got played with by Andy one last time, like they had wanted the whole movie. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s a very good movie, and it still resonates with adults as well as children, which is always welcome in kids films.
FINAL GRADE: A-