Toy Story 3 Review


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.

Overall 7/10

Toy Story 2 Review


The sequel has arrived. Toy Story 2 is one of those films where I remembered the villain quite well but not some of the other elements as much. It’s definitely a solid title and for the big question of whether or not it defeats the original, I’d say that it does. It’s a pretty solid follow up to the classic and we get to actually have Buzz confront his ultimate villain. What’s not to love right?

Picking up where the first film left off, Andy is now growing older. He has to make certain decisions on which toys he wants to play with. Unfortunately for Woody, he has been ditched again after injuring his arm. We get the iconic scene where Andy drops Woody and runs off. Woody makes a daring rescue to save another toy but in his weakened condition he is unable to escape the powers of the chicken man employee who steals Woody and decides to make some huge profits.

Buzz and friends are naturally on the job to save Woody but it’ll be difficult. Buzz is used to these grand adventures but the rest of the toys are just normal house toys and don’t really know what to do in these situations. Buzz will really have to carry them here. Meanwhile for Woody, he starts having some doubts on if he really wants to go back home to Andy. If he stays with the kidnapper, Woody will be on display at a museum for many years to come and will effectively be immortalized. Additionally, if he leaves then the rest of the Woody collection set (Jessie, Bullseye, and Stinky Pete) will be thrown back into a dark box never to come out again. The stakes are a lot higher than they’ve ever been before.

In a sense there’s two main plots here so lets talk about Woody’s first. Once he is trapped by the collector it’s more of a low key plot where he has to decide what the right thing to do here is. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to stay with the other toys if that’s what he really wants to do but he should at least let the others know that he will be gone. It’s a long journey but he would need to make it first. Additionally, I feel like he would end up regretting it eventually. The toys apparently don’t die of old age so he would be trapped inside glass at the museum for centuries with absolutely nothing to do. I don’t see a whole lot of fates being worse than that so it just doesn’t seem like it would be a good idea.

His new friends can also be a bit temperamental. Particularly Jessie who starts off dancing and singing about how glad she is to see him, to wishing he would go away and insulting him, to going back to dancing. She takes every bit of news really hard and the old man doesn’t seem to have a great opinion of Woody with his subtle digs. Considering these may be the only people he can talk to for the rest of his life…that’s going to be tricky.

So I think Woody could have thought about this a little more. His plan to ultimately offer to take them with him was always the best one. The climax would have played out a whole lot differently if he had led off with that, that’s for sure. It was an intense climax though with some solid action so that was a good way to end things.

Meanwhile you had the Buzz plot with the rest of the classic toys. They were good as expected. The pig is still nice and tough with the rest of the toys being there for backup. Buzz really gets a lot to do here as you would expect. He has to fight another version of himself and Zurg even shows up. It was a pretty intense confrontation to say the least.

I remembered Zurg’s role being a lot bigger personally but it’s been a while since I saw the movie so I suppose I just added extra scenes in my head. That kind of thing may happen once in a while after all. Still, he makes the most of every scene he’s in. While his battle with Buzz is ultimately played for laughs, it’s fun since it finally completes his character arc even if it was a different version. I’m just a little sad that we didn’t get to see the main Buzz fight him.

Both of them have the same core personality though so I guess that works out. Their fight was cool and it was nice for Buzz to finally have a worthy opponent. If you want a serious fight between them, then you have the opening scene of the movie which is played 100% seriously. It’s not quite real but you do get a cool what if of how things would go if both characters did have their respective abilities. As always Buzz is a blast in this film throughout.

The new characters were good too. Jessie can be a bit rough on Woody but she did have to endure a long time in pitch darkness so that sounds pretty rough. I think she probably should have just tried to escape now that Woody is here instead of banking on the museum idea. She can fight which is always good. The dog is hype and then you’ve got the leader of the Woody team who plays quite a big role by the end of it. He makes for a very intimidating presence and added a lot to the story so you definitely won’t forget him. In the end he had an even bigger role than Zurg.

As with the first film the writing is very solid. The characters are good and the story will keep you engaged throughout. The animation has improved from the first one so you can tell that it is quite a bit newer. It’s cool how the actual universe ages along with the films so Andy is quite a bit older than he was in the first film. He’s still more of a non character as he doesn’t do much but he is important to the story itself as a plot element.

Overall, Toy Story 2 is a very solid all around title. It improves on everything that made the first film good and never looks back. The humor is always good when it arrives and the film really feels like it ends in a flash. It’s a title I would definitely recommend to anyone that just wants to enjoy a pretty fun film. You can watch this one at any time and have a good experience.

Overall 7/10

Toy Story Review


Toy Story is certainly a classic movie that is extremely well known. It’s rare for Pixar to turn one movie into 4 like this but Toy Story has proven time and time again to be a big draw. It’s been ages since I saw the original and I never reviewed it so now was the time. It holds up quite well to this day with a strong story and quality characters. You can see how it ended up being a winner.

The movie begins with introducing us to Woody and his friends. On this planet, all toys are sentient creatures who simply live by a code not to let humans know that they are real. They’re quite good at playing dead to the point where it seems like an innate ability. One day, their owner Andy gets a new toy and that throws everything into a different perspective. His name is Buzz Lightyear and he doesn’t believe that he is a toy. The guy thinks he is legitimately a galactic agent and despite this, all of Woody’s friends are hanging out with him now. Woody makes a desperate attempt to take Buzz out once and for all, but this leads to both of them getting stranded away from home. Can they possibly return or will they die against the bully next door?

Since they are all toys here, even crossing a small distance can be difficult. After all for a decent part of the film they’re only a few blocks away but it’s still quite the journey. The toughest part of their journey was when they were only 1 block away so it gives you a good sense of scale here. Doing just about anything can be tricky for them.

The animation’s pretty solid. It’s fun how they make the toys move while keeping them looking fairly realistic. The Buzz figure for example is something I could definitely see myself having fun with many years ago. It’s quite high quality and had a lot of gadgets. Back in my day the action figures didn’t have voice acting like this. Aside from Andy the only humans we see are usually antagonists and are drawn to look rather ugly like the characters in Finding Nemo. Get ready for the main bully who even blows up toys.

Now if you think about it, the fact that toys are all alive can get rather dark for them. Still, when they enter their toy state they are able to block out pain and such fairly well so hopefully that helps when being blown to smithereens. It should help…right? It might also help with memory like Buzz thinking he’s real even while being played with the whole time. You can probably assume that he’s just in deep cover since he knows he couldn’t fight the humans or he’s a bit slow on the uptake. That’s one of the main comedic plots here so I suppose you just don’t want to look into it too much.

Buzz was the best character either way though. I liked his confidence and he’s definitely a lot more pro active than the rest of the characters. If he wants to do something then he’s just going to go ahead and do it. He doesn’t need any complicated plans or anything like that. Buzz is also quick to assume the best and help the others out which is why he fell for Woody’s trap. Woody may have thrown a lot of insults his way but Buzz didn’t take any of them too seriously. He was also beating Woody when they had their fight.

I think it’s fair to say that Woody was still the main character here though. His character arc here is really coming to terms with the fact that Andy wants to spend more time with Buzz. Woody had been so used to being in first place all the time that anything lower just didn’t sit right with him. In a way he probably can’t understand how the other toys feel as a result since they were never number 1. Gradually he realizes that he’s being better and starts being a nicer toy.

It’s a solid character arc from start to finish. Naturally there are a bunch of other main supporting toys but Woody and Buzz got the biggest roles. The pig was good for a lot of his one liners. He seems a lot more jaded than the rest and loves throwing out insults whenever he can. You’ve got the Potato Head who is reasonably tough. He’s a little less vocal than the others but is always around. Then you have the dog who can really stretch.

I’m not really sure what the point of that toy would be though. Do you play with it just by pulling it around? Dunno, it doesn’t have a whole lot of appeal but as a character he’s cool. The dog is useful in a lot of situations. Bo Peep was a nice enough character who gives Woody encouragement from time to time. She doesn’t appear as much as the main crew though and just comes in to save the day at times. Finally there’s Rex the dinosaur who may not be the toughest dino around but Buzz gives him some nice pointers.

A film like Toy Story will really live or die by the writing. You could say that for any film I suppose but particularly it’s true for films that aren’t big action thrillers or films with big emotional highs like a sport title. This is really a slice of life title about toys realizing what it means to be a toy. If the writing was lackluster or boring then the film would reflect that real quick.

Instead the film stays interesting throughout because the characters are all fun and the dialogue is good. The film also feels incredibly short though. It’s really over before you know it. Animated movies do tend to be on the shorter side but maybe it felt extra short because it was so good. It tells a complete story from the character introductions to the big climax at the end. The toys finally have a sense of unity to them so now they’re ready for the second film.

I wouldn’t say I have any complaints here. There wasn’t any part of the film I found weak. It’s a very unique concept and the movie had a lot of fun showing how crazy the whole thing was. The characters have to constantly run and hide not to mention how they live in fear of every Birthday party. It’s a stressful life being a toy but someone’s got to live it. I would say they should probably just hide somewhere so they’re never found and can just wander around all day but it seems like being played with is a toy’s greatest desire so that wouldn’t appeal to them. It’s interesting since the movie effectively built a bunch of rules around being a toy so that’s pretty neat.

Overall, Toy Story is a solid film. It’s definitely one of the stronger Pixar titles and has a lot of replay value. The gags all work well and the characters are likable which is all you really need to have a good hit. We’ll see if the sequels are able to match or even surpass the original or if it’s all downhill from here. Sequels always have a lot of pressure on them after all.

Overall 7/10