Main cast: Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Joan Cusack (Jessie), Ned Beatty (Lotso), Don Rickles (Mr Potato Head), Estelle Harris (Mrs Potato Head), Michael Keaton (Ken), Jodi Benson (Barbie), Wallace Shawn (Rex), John Ratzenberger (Hamm), Timothy Dalton (Mr Pricklepants), Bonnie Hunt (Dolly), Whoopi Goldberg (Stretch), Blake Clark (Slinky Dog), Emily Hahn (Bonnie), John Morris (Andy), and Laurie Metcalf (Andy’s Mom)
Director: Lee Unkrich
Kids may appreciate the non-stop action of Toy Story 3, but I personally suspect that adults will appreciate the in jokes, tributes, and themes of this movie far better than those kids.
It is almost 11 years since we saw Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and gang in action (that would be, naturally, in Toy Story 2). Andy is now 17 and heading off to college, and as you can imagine, the toys have been kept away in a box under his bed for some time now. Resigned to facing retirement in the attic and taking comfort in the fact that they are still together, the toys nonetheless find themselves in an adventure to remember when they end up by accident in Sunnyside Daycare, a deceptively peaceful paradise for unwanted toys. A paradise, that is, until they discover that a group of toys, led by Lotso the teddy bear, rule the place in a manner that would make Benito Mussolini proud.
This animated flick is certainly impressive to watch, but my goodness, Woody is pretty irritating here as an idiot whose blind loyalty to Andy gets rewarded through sheer luck. It’s easy for him to tell the toys that they must stay with Andy when he is going with Andy to college, no? If Sunnyside Daycare is a paradise for unwanted toys like it seems to be at first, then Woody would have consigned his so-called friends to an existence in the attic with no cost to himself just because he thinks all toys should be blindly loyal to one’s owner.
Still, even if Woody can give any overzealous religious twit a run for his or her money in this movie, there are plenty of enjoyable distractions to watch here. There are tributes to Jurassic Park, prison movies, and even Return of the Jedi. There are so many things happening here that I can’t say I am bored, especially when Woody shuts up at last.
However, the action sequences tend to drag on for too long that by the last half hour of this movie, I’m feeling tad exhausted myself. The last scene of this movie can definitely tug at my heartstrings, but a part of me is irked that once again, Woody’s stupid blind faith is rewarded. And what’s with the barely veiled snickering at Ken’s neat handwriting and the fact that he is a girl’s toy, or with the Bookworm’s “Typical!” look when he spots Ken sporting Barbie’s high heels? Should a family movie include such “jokes” that enforce unfortunate sexual stereotypes and imply blatantly that Ken, for being a “male” that does not conform to jock stereotypes, therefore deserves derision?
Toy Story 3 is an entertaining flick, but it also comes off after a while like an interminable action flick with some feel-good and manipulative sentimental moments tacked on at the end of the movie. This is still a fun movie to watch, but I think I prefer the two movies that came before this one, honestly. This one is tad too heavy with the sentimental mawkishness for my liking. It’s too easy to snort at this movie’s heavy-handed message about loving one’s toys and holding a melodramatic wake for the end of one’s childhood when this very same movie is generating a whole new line of expensive toys as cash-in.