Saturday, January 22, 2022

Toy Story 3



It was 1995, and I was five years old. I played with my cowboys and Indians; I had fun building and morphing my Mr. Potato Head, and I also had a Buzz Lightyear. I played with my Buzz Lightyear day after day. I pretended that we were flying around in deep space, in a rickety old spaceship, and if we would stop moving, the evil Dr. Pepe, my dog, would have us for dinner. The year 1995 was also the year when the first Toy Story came out. I saw the movie twice in theaters with my parents, and when it came out on VHS, I watched it constantly. I loved my toys as much as I loved Toy Story. As a child, I felt very close to these pieces of plastic and cotton, it wasn’t just a piece of plastic to me or just a cuddly stuffed animal, it was my toy, my friend.

As I got older though, I stopped playing with these toys, but still enjoyed every consecutive Toy Story film that has come out. Toy Story is a relatable tale for anyone who loved their toys as children, and considered them as friends. Andy, from the Toy Story trilogy, is in the same predicament that I was in, he loves his toys, yet as he gets older, he doesn’t play with his toys anymore. Like Andy who is all grown up in Toy Story 3, I was faced with the question, as I got older; do I need to keep my old toys? Or should I just throw them away? Throughout my life, the Toy Story films have always been released during pivotal moments, like becoming a teen, or going off to college.  I feel very close to this franchise, because I can relate to Andy, and I can relate to the toys as well, who just want to make Andy happy and not be alone. Toy Story 3 was the perfect film to end off an era, and the perfect film to end an amazing series that always delivered with great characters, tight writing, and great animation.

Toy Story 3 is about many things, but the story is rooted in the point of view of Woody, voiced by Tom Hanks, who just wants to make Andy, his owner, happy. Almost all of the old characters are back in this film: Buzz, Jessie, Rex, Hamm, Mr. Potato head, Slinky Dog, the aliens, and a whole new plethora of cute and adorable toys. The film starts off with Andy, now 17, packing up his old stuff, preparing to leave for college. Andy has to make the decision of whether or not he’ll keep his old toys, or put them in the attic, where the toys will spend their days having a great time playing with the race cars, and Christmas decorations in the attic. Andy decides to put all of his toys, except Woody, in the attic, so he throws all of his toys in a black trash bag.  His mom mistakenly puts the trash bag, not knowing the toys are in it, by the curb, for the trash man. Through a series of funny, yet surprisingly intense antics, the toys end up at the Sunnyside Daycare, where they believe they will live out the rest of their toy lives in paradise.  There, they hope they will be played with everyday, and will enjoy what they lost from Andy many years ago.  But, as fate turns out, the children have a different plan for these toys. The young children at the daycare beat and miss-use these toys, encouraging the toys to make a daring escape from the daycare, and go back to Andy.

There is so much more to this complex, yet grounded, story that I do not want to spoil the film for prospective viewers. The Toy Story franchise has always had a way of creating complex emotions out of these inanimate objects. That is why the story is so effective, because you become close to these characters and you understand the loss and pain they are going through. Toy Story 3 perfects this, in their last outing, showing that there is more to these toys than just plastic. There is a scene in the film that portrays Andy’s mom confronting her son before leaving for college, and it couldn’t be any more accurate. I remember the day I left for college, and Toy Story 3 reenacts that situation perfectly, putting tears in mine and my parent’s eyes.

The last 30 minutes of the film are very epic in its scale, and really push the emotional limits of characters and audience. The film also features plenty of large scale action sequences that are executed better than most of the action films that came out this summer. The openness and scale of the events is  perfected by director Lee Unkrich, who has really created epic stakes, and an intense emotional rollercoaster ride of sadness and anxiety.

The last scene of the film is most notable because we see Andy do something so special, and honest, that it really does make the entire film. If you see Toy Story 3 this summer, check it out for just that scene alone, it’s a really special scene that really ends off the Trilogy in a perfect way. I haven’t seen that good  an ending to a trilogy since The Lord of the Rings ending in Return of The King.

There are not many films that have had me in tears, but Toy Story 3 successfully does this numerous times throughout its 103 minute running time. If there is any movie you are going to see this summer, make it Toy Story 3.

The film creates so many layers of complex emotions that it truly stands out from the other faceless cinema that is coming out during the summer months. Make it a point to take your kids and grandkids to see this movie, and make it a point for you to see it too, because the kids will be leaving for college one day. Make it an easy transition with the help of Woody and the gang.

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