2020 marks 10 years since Pixar brought Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, and most of the gang back together to finish the second greatest trilogy in cinematic history. Set 11 years after the events of “Toy Story 2,” Andy is getting ready to go to college and must decide what to do with the toys. After confusion with where they should go, the toys stowaway in a donation box to go to a daycare where they find out not every kid will be as nice with them as Andy has been.
In general, I love this film. It’s a nice little bow to wrap up a great three-movie series. At this point, Pixar had only made one sequel and it made sense to continue with another “Toy Story” sequel as the studio transitioned into making more following Disney’s acquisition of the studio.
I said it before in my Pixar rankings list, but I, absolutely, love any time Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are together. They are two genuinely funny men and play off each other so well in these films. The “Toy Story” films make me wish they would work on a live-action movie together with a similar vibe. It would be great to see them play off each other on-screen and not just as the voices of animated characters.
Unfortunately, Jim Varney, who provided the original voice of Slinky Dog passed away not long after “Toy Story 2” was released. Rather than write out the character completely, the filmmakers chose to recast the role with fellow gravely voiced actor Blake Clark and I think Clark did an admirable job in Varney’s stead. Clark was known to be a friend of Varney and had worked with Disney on a few of their ABC sitcoms; including with Tim Allen as Harry the Hardware store owner on “Home Improvement.” There’s a chemistry he has with both Allen and Hanks that shines through the vocal performance and can’t be taught.
Some new characters rise to the occasion too, including Ned Beatty as Lotso Bear and Michael Keaton as Ken. Lotso brings a new type of villain to the story that makes the rescue that much more harrowing. Meanwhile, Ken’s immediate connection with Andy’s sister’s Barbie leads to some of the funniest interactions in the movie.
If I have one criticism of “Toy Story 3,” it’s the kind of made “Toy Story 2” over again. The reasoning for the toys being taken away from Andy and the type of rescue are both completely different, but they are still the same plot points. The redeeming qualities take over when you see the toys prepare for the incinerator by holding hands only to be saved by the aliens who found “The Claw.” Woody’s sacrifice of going to college with Andy to stay with the friends he’s shared a room with for years really drives the message of the film home. The toys stick together. It’s beautiful and should’ve been the perfect end to the toys’ story. But, Pixar saw dollar signs and gave us an unnecessary sequel. But, that shouldn’t take away from how good “Toy Story 3” is.
Ranking: 4.5 stars out of 5
What did you think of “Toy Story 3?”