It's been 11 years since Toy Story 2, one of the most solid sequels ever, was released. I've been waiting for this day for quite some time.
I'll get to the point. Toy Story 3 doesn't disappoint. It's a movie that really defies all logic, for it's animated movie that drew more emotion out of me than any live action movie I've ever seen in my life - and it's not even about humans.
Andy is going to college. I'll easily admit that if you haven't been a fan of the franchise for a long time, you may not see the brutality of that sentence. If you haven't spent 15 years with these characters living vividly in your mind, you may brush it off as nothing. Regardless, Andy's off to college, and something has to be done with his toys. Through one mishap or another, the gang finds themselves at a day care and strapped to the idea that maybe they will get the playtime they deserve now that Andy is gone.
Of course, it could never be that easy, and they soon realize the daycare is not what they hoped. PIXAR has never disappointed when throwing in a mix of lovable (and hatable) characters, and soon we have ourselves a compelling movie. The toys find themselves escaping and trying with all their might to get back to Andy. The rest follows as a fantastically exciting and heart-wrenching tale about what it means to be family, in all senses of the word.
I don't have to tell you that the animation is some of the best of all time, do I? Because this movie was made by PIXAR. They don't exactly slack off in this department. Next to their earlier Ratatouille, it's the best animation I've ever seen. The characters move as fluidly as real people. There's not one frame of lag in the whole movie. Woody and pals put real actors to shame. I was especially impressed by the facial expressions from Jessie the Cowgirl, a previous dud of a character. Yes, this movie even managed to make me love Jessie.
I also don't need to tell you that whatever godly render machine PIXAR uses is outstanding. The colors and textures of Toy Story 3 will simply blow your mind, regardless of whether or not you are an animation connoisseur. What beauty. Seriously - what beauty.
Underlining a beautiful set of visuals and a beautiful story comes a fantastic score by what seems to be a fresh, new Randy Newman. What Newman has done here is my favorite of all his scores, no questions asked. I was about ready to lose all faith in him, but it seems he still has some of his phenomenal old spirit left. Watch the scene in the furnace, and listen to Newman's undertones. If that's not what making movies is about, I don't know what is.
I didn't see this in 3D. Anyone who's read my posts should know how I feel about it. As far as I'm concerned, I couldn't have felt more connected to this movie. I don't need gimmicky, expensive, facially irritating, color desaturating, and disgustingly corporate glasses to draw me into this masterpiece. I felt the emotion without those dreadful things. And if that doesn't prove the uselessness of 3D, I don't know what does.
Lee Unkrich did something right. Yes, it was heavily guided to greatness by writer Michael Arndt (the fantastic Little Miss Sunshine), but Unkrich, who's been heavily involved in the development of the Toy Story franchise from the beginning, took this movie to heights I literally didn't expect were possible. Yes, I expected PIXAR greatness, but I didn't expect Toy Story 3 to emotionally ruin me as much as it did.
That's right. This movie ruined me. I'm going on record and saying that I've honestly never cried in a movie. But in the final scene of this movie, I cried the whole time. Maybe ten straight minutes. The final scene is so touching it is literally unlike anything I've ever experienced. Of course it's because this franchise has a special place in my heart, but regardless, the ending scene just annihilated me. I broke my concentration enough to just take a look around, too. The rest of the theater's cheeks were tear stained.
How incredible is that? An animated movie. Moving people to tears. Toy Story 3 has done what Toy Story did back in 1995 - it's changed animation. When you look at a film like this, you almost want to scowl at things like Monsters vs Aliens and other such pop-culture loaded failures. Animation can be that good. You just have to make it happen.
Yes, this is coming from a biased fan. An extremely biased fan. A fan who was six years old when the first Toy Story changed animation forever. A fan who's grown up with Andy, feeling his emotions, his dreams. A fan who's loved Woody and Buzz like they were his toys. A fan who has been dreaming of this movie for almost 15 years.
A fan who thinks that this is one of the best animated movies of all time.