Time to complete the trilogy! Toy Story 3 definitely came out quite a bit after the first two so it really looks a lot newer right from the jump. It’s definitely a big change in the status quo for the characters as well. Now does it defeat the first two films? On one hand it easily has the most action out of the 3 with a whole group of villains which was pretty intense. On the other hand you don’t get the fight between both Buzz’s. Hmmm….ultimately I would say this was the best in the trilogy although it’s close.
The movie starts off with a big homage to the first film. It’s the heroes all playing around in a classic wild west scenario only the graphics are way better than they used to be. We get explosions, boosters, and every cool gizmo you could want. We then cut to the toys being played with and it shows how good the kid’s imagination is. Well, it’s fun to reminisce about the old days but now Andy is heading off to college and isn’t really planning on bringing his toys. Why would he right?
Well, he plans on bringing Woody but everyone else is going to the cellar. Unfortunately due to a mistake, all of the other toys are sent to the junk pile where they narrowly avoid death. They decide to use this opportunity to go to the day care instead where kids will finally play with them again. After all the toys want to be played with rather than being stuck in the cellar. Woody disagrees with this and tells them to stay locked up in the cellar until Andy has kids some day.
Both sides are unable to come to a disagreement so the team splits up. Well, I say team but Woody is the only one who doesn’t follow them. He heads home but it isn’t a very smooth adventure as he ends up getting trapped at another kid’s house for a while. He has a good time there but ultimately needs to go home. Things should be smooth from there but he finds out that his friends may be in trouble.
See, the day care is run by Lotso, a powerful bear of big ambitions. He runs the place with an iron grip. See there are several rooms in the day care with one of them being for the little kids who don’t know how to play with toys yet. As a result this gets really painful for any toy who will be in that room. Lotso has it set up so the newest toys go there but when there are no toys available he forces others to go in and be destroyed. If Buzz and friends don’t find a way out soon then they will not be around for much longer.
Now, without knowing about the evil bear at the ready, I did agree with Buzz and friends about going to the nursery. Why stay in an attic where you may never be taken out again? Additionally there is no guarantee that they wouldn’t be thrown out eventually. That ultimately puts you in a pretty tricky spot. At least in the day care you figure there will always be a new group of kids ready to play with you every year.
Lotso just throws a wrench into that idea but I wouldn’t say it retroactively makes Woody right. Lotso is a very impressive villain though and definitely the best one in the trilogy. His origin story is pretty intense to the point where it feels like it could be a real origin story for a villain in something else. He was betrayed and as a result he has decided never to let that happen again. It’s all pretty intense.
Now you may have to suspend a little more disbelief here than in the other films because of how big this set up is. It’s hard to see Lotso actually having constant patrols, a toy at the security room, and the cages he has set up. Surely the school has some night staff or a night watchman right? The toys were doing a whole lot of things here unsupervised. Lotso basically created a kingdom so the school needs to step it up.
Not a big deal though since you could rationalize this if needed. Meanwhile it gives Woody a pretty good subplot since he gets to look really good in his rescue attempt. There’s a good amount of danger here as well since toys are actually dying and being dismembered here. It’s still a family film and all so it’s not violent in the sense that they don’t feel serious pain. Everything is more like a dull pain no matter what happens but it’s still pretty horrifying from the perspective of the toys. Woody can’t waste any time in getting to them.
There’s a pretty popular fan edit where someone cuts out the rest of the film after the scene where the heroes are falling in the quick-sand pit. It would be quite a dark ending there. We get a pretty wholesome one though that ends the film on a pretty high note. It’s hard to see this one being surpassed in the 4th but if it can pull it off that would be cool.
Most of the characters here are the same as always so you can expect a lot of good dialogue and character moments. Barbie gets a pretty big role as one of the new characters though. She is quick to side with her friends when she realizes that Ken is acting fishy which I appreciated though. She wasn’t going to buy any of his false stories and that’s the difference between a big player and a bit character. In a sense she replaced Bo who didn’t get to appear in this film.
Now there is one question that the third film sort of makes you think about. Since the toys are so desperate to be with Andy why don’t they just talk to him? That is never really contemplated so you have to assume it isn’t possible but then why even bother staying still? It seems like they think it’s possible for the humans to see them move so talking shouldn’t be out of the picture. Unless there is an official explanation for this, I have to assume that there is some kind of serious taboo that prevents this. Perhaps if you try to talk to a human you die instantly? Maybe it’s a Wixoss type enchantment that prevents you from revealing your existence unless the person already knows about it? I’d like some answers on this…maybe the 4th film can delve into it a bit but that’s my head cannon until it’s revealed. The toys can’t say anything because they would immediately die, it’s a universal rule of the world itself which cannot be broken.
Overall, Toy Story 3 is a nice way to end things out. The characters all had complete character arcs and had to accept that things would change some day. Staying with Andy may not have been a bad move but at the same time they wouldn’t be played with a whole lot and that seems very important to the toys themselves. The whole phone angle wouldn’t work and Andy wouldn’t even be home for a while anyway. Lotso really made for an imposing villain and the scene with the gang surrounding Buzz and taking him down was ominous. Seeing Buzz then attack the heroes while he was mind controlled was emotional as well. This one really escalated things to a whole new level with the drama which worked really well while keeping in the strengths from the first two titles. The 4th film has big shows to step into here.