MovieMantz Review: ‘Toy Story 3’
LOS ANGELES, Calif. --
“Every Pixar Tells a ‘Story’”
“Toy Story 3”
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack
Directed by Lee Unkrich
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Disney and Pixar have done it again, and in a very big way.
Ever since the release of 1995’s “Toy Story” — the computer-animated game-changer that started it all — the Northern California-based animation studio has topped itself with each passing film. That’s no small feat, given a body of work that includes “Toy Story 2” (1999), “Finding Nemo” (2003), “The Incredibles” (2004), “Ratatouille” (2007), “WALL*E” (2008) and “Up” (2009).
Now comes their 11th animated feature, “Toy Story 3,” which is not only the best “Toy Story” of them all (and that’s saying a lot), but it also continues Pixar’s extraordinary capacity for telling strong, clever and exciting stories that are filled with humor, heart and, most of all, imagination. To that extent, it’s safe to say that on a scale of one to ten, “Toy Story 3” goes to infinity — and beyond.
Then again, the fact that it succeeds as well as it does is a miracle in itself, since trilogies have an unfortunate tendency to go out with more of a whimper than a bang. Witness superior sequels like “The Godfather Part II,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Spider-Man 2,” which were followed by inferior threequels like “The Godfather Part III,” “Return of the Jedi” and “Spider-Man 3.”
Up to this point, the exception to the rule was the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, but now, thankfully, you can add “Toy Story” to the list. What’s amazing is that “Toy Story 3” doesn’t just match its brilliant predecessor in terms of depth, excitement and humor; it exceeds it in just about every way. The eleven-year gap between installments works in the film’s favor, since that passage of time provides the strong emotional undercurrent that drives the story.
In “Toy Story 2,” Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jesse (Joan Cusack) and the rest of the old gang were worried that their owner, Andy, would outgrow them. In “Toy Story 3,” that time has come, and everyone’s taking it pretty hard — especially Woody. Now 17-years-old, Andy is off to college and needs to know what to do with his old toys. His first thought is to put them in the attic, where they’ll be safe and sound — and they’ll have each other for company.
But through a freak mishap, they find themselves at Sunnyside Day Care, where its toy patriarch, a teddy bear named Lotso (Ned Beatty), promises that they’ll be played with by kids. Sounds too good to be true, and, of course, it is. Turns out that the kids are the toys’ worst nightmare, making Sunnyside feel more like a jail and Lotso its strict warden. Only Woody can save his friends, but even if he manages to succeed, what will become of them?
“Toy Story 3” raises the bar for how much a film can work on every level for both kids and adults (and adults who were kids when the first movie came out). Kids will marvel at the vibrant 3-D computer animation, the thrilling excitement and the lovable characters, while grown-ups will be immersed with deeper issues. If “Toy Story 2” was about identity and purpose, then “Toy Story 3” is about change and mortality. That may sound heavy, but that’s what makes it the best — and also, at times, the darkest — of the series.
In addition to the familiar cast of characters — including Hamm, Rex, Barbie and the Potatoheads — “Toy Story 3” introduces new toys, like Mr. Pricklepants, Trixie and Barbie’s soul mate, Ken. It all comes together in one brilliant, trilogy-capping masterpiece that will leave a lump in your throat and a smile on your face, thanks to the synergy between director Lee Unkrich (a co-director on “Toy Story 2”) and Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine”).
And as Pixar comes full circle with “Toy Story 3,” it’s interesting to note just how much the computer-animated landscape has changed since 1995, when the first “Toy Story” was the only game in town. These days, almost every animated feature is computer-generated (most of them in 3-D), and since the inception of the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2002, eight out of the nine winners were computer-generated - and five of those were from Pixar.
It’s a foregone conclusion that “Toy Story 3” will continue that trend, so get ready to cue that broken record. That’s because Disney and Pixar are bound to do it again with their next film, and in a very big way, I’m sure.
Verdict: SEE IT!
Copyright 2013 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
MovieMantz Reviews: Jack The Giant Slayer; 21 & Over
“Jack The Giant Slayer” is supposed to be a fun, clever and entertaining riff on “Jack and the Beanstalk” fairytale, so why is Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz calling it a “misfire”? Plus, what does Scott think about the raunchy comedy “21 and Over”?
Miles Teller Parties Hard In 21 & Over
Miles Teller talks with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about his character, Miller, in his new movie, “21 & Over.” Also, he discusses how the friendship between all the characters is the core of the film.
Miles Teller Finds Success
Miles Teller discusses with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about success he’s had in the past couple of years. Also, he chats about the awkward circumstance in his new movie, “Two Night Stand.”
MovieMantz Reviews: Oscar Predictions 2013 - Who Should Win & Who Will Win?
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz joins Access’ Shaun Robinson to run down the nominees for the 85th annual Academy Awards, to break down who he thinks should win and who will end up winning on Oscar night.
2013 Oscar Predictions - Access Unlimited
As Award Season winds down, movie guru Scott Mantz teams up with Access Hollywood’s TV expert Laura Saltman to discuss his picks in the top categories for the the 85th Academy Awards.
MovieMantz Reviews: Side Effects & Identity Thief
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz calls “Side Effects” suspenseful and interesting — but what did he think of the movie’s surprise payoff? Plus, Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman faceoff in “Identity Thief,” but why is Scott calling this one “painfully unfunny”?
Oscar Luncheon 2013: Screenwriter Lucy Alibar Talks Oscar Nod For Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Lucy Alibar chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about the journey she has been on since debuting “Beasts of the Southern Wild” at Sundance to now being at the Oscars with a nomination. Could she have predicted this was going to happen? Plus, how did her parents react when they found out she’d been nominated for an Oscar? Lastly, is she surprised the young star of her movie, Quvenzhané Wallis, is now doing a movie with Brad Pitt?
George Takei: What Does He Think About How The Star Trek Franchise Was Rebooted?
George Takei chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about the JJ Abrams reboot of the “Star Trek” franchise. Does he like the alternate timeline JJ’s movie created? Plus, what does he think about JJ signing on to direct the new “Star Wars” movies? Is he the right guy for the job?
George Takei On Being Forced Into An Internment Camp During World War II
George Takei talks with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about the internment camp he and his family were incarcerated in during World War II. Despite that experience, how did he remain positive? Plus, what does he remember about that experience?
George Takei Talks Playing Both Good & Bad In Nickelodeon’s Supah Ninjas
George Takei chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about playing twins — one good and one evil — in the Nickelodeon show, “Supah Ninjas.” What similarities does his evil character share with an episode of the original “Star Trek”?
George Takei Talks Original Star Trek Series: Why Did James Doohan Claim He Was Out Of Control?
George Takei tells Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz a story about rehearsing on the set of the original “Star Trek” series. What happened on the set that had James Doohan (who played Scotty) claiming George was out of control? Plus, how excited is George for “Star Trek’s” 50th anniversary?
Bruce Willis Saves The World In A Good Day To Die Hard
Bruce Willis tells Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz it’s almost “impossible” for him to believe he’s completed his fifth “Die Hard” movie. Also, he talks about the challenges of upping the stakes in “A Good Day to Die Hard.” Plus, would Bruce considering doing a sixth film for the franchise?
Jai Courtney: A Good Day To Die Hard Is ‘Mind Blowing’
Jai Courtney chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about why it felt “outrageous” to be part of “A Good Day to Die Hard.” Also, he discusses the training he went through to perform his stunts. Plus, Jai talks about meeting co-star Bruce Willis for the first time.
MovieMantz Reviews: The Best Of Sundance 2013
The 2013 Sundance Film Festival has wrapped, and back from the festival after seeing a whopping 15 movies is Access’ own film critic, Scott “Movie” Mantz,” who tells Access’ Billy Bush and Kit Hoover what he thinks is the best of what he saw.
Sundance Film Festival 2013: Paul Rudd’s Prince Avalanche Premiere
Paul Rudd chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about how exciting it is to be back at the Sundance Film Festival. Also, he tells Scott why it was so “great” to work with his “Prince Avalanche” co-star Emile Hirsch.
Sundance 2013: Elisabeth Moss Talks Mad Men Season 6
Elisabeth Moss chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz at Sundance 2013 about “Mad Men” returning for Season 6. How many episodes for the season have already been shot? Plus, can she believe that they have gotten this far? And, how many more episodes until the series finale?
Sundance 2013: Julianne Moore Praises Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Directorial Duties On Don Jon’s Addiction
Julianne Moore chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz at Sundance 2013 about working with first time director Joseph Gordon-Levitt on “Don Jon’s Addiction.” What’s the movie about? Plus, where did Julianne put her Golden Globe that she recently won?
Sundance 2013: Michael C. Hall Explains Dexter’s Season 8 Summer Premiere
Michael C. Hall chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz at Sundance 2013 about the final season of “Dexter” premiering summer 2013 instead of the fall, like previous seasons have. What is the motivation? Plus, what’s it like being at Sundance for his new movie, “Kill Your Darlings”?
Sundance 2013: Kristen Bell Talks Playing ‘A Darker Role’ Than Ever Before In The Lifeguard
Kristen Bell chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about playing Leigh in “The Lifeguard,” a character she describes as a “darker role” for her. What attracted her to the part? Plus, how is she enjoying the festival? How is the altitude affecting her?
Sundance 2013: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Talks Making His Directorial Debut With Don Jon’s Addiction
Joseph Gordon-Levitt chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about making his directorial debut at Sundance 2013 with “Don Jon’s Addiction.” What’s the movie about? Plus, what was it like working with Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore on the film?
Sundance 2013: Elisabeth Moss Talks Seven-Part Mini Series Top Of The Lake
Elisabeth Moss chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz at Sundance 2013 about bringing her seven-part mini-series, “Top of the Lake,” to the festival. Will she watch all seven-hours of the screening? Plus, what role does she play? And, how is she enjoying Park City? Will she go skiing?
MovieMantz Reviews: Gangster Squad & The Impossible
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz shares his two cents on the big films hitting theaters this weekend, “Gangster Squad” and “The Impossible.” So, out of the all-star cast for “Gangster Squad,” which of the actors stands out the most?
Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto Talk Star Trek Into Darkness
Access’ film critic Scott “Movie” Mantz made quite an impression on the “Star Trek” cast four years ago during the press rounds for the last film. So, we beamed our resident Trekker in again for the highly anticipated sequel due next summer, and it was magic all over again!
MovieMantz Reviews: Les Miserables, Django Unchained & The Guilt Trip
Everyone is excited about “Les Miserables,” but why does Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz say he wasn’t “blown away”? Does Scott think “Django Unchained” is as good as Quentin Tarantino’s last movie, “Inglourious Basterds”? And, why is he giving “The Guilt Trip” a “B-”?
MovieMantz Reviews: Jack Reacher, Les Miserables & This Is 40
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz gives his take on three of the films coming out this holiday season — “Jack Reacher,” “Les Miserables” and “This Is 40” — only one of which does he think is worth seeing. So, which one does he think you should see?
The Hangover Part III Review: The Party’s Over (MovieMantz)
Star Trek Into Darkness Review (MovieMantz)
Iron Man 3 Review (MovieMantz)
42 Review (MovieMantz)
Oscar Predictions 2013: Who Will Win/Who Should Win (MovieMantz)
Top 10 Movies Of 2012 (MovieMantz)
This Is 40 Review (MovieMantz)
Zero Dark Thirty Review (MovieMantz)
Life Of Pi — MovieMantz Review
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Review (MovieMantz)
Lincoln Review (MovieMantz)
Flight Review (MovieMantz)
Top 10 Zombie Movies Of All-Time (MovieMantz)
Skyfall Review (MovieMantz)
Cloud Atlas Review (MovieMantz)
Argo Review (MovieMantz)
Taken 2 Review (MovieMantz)
Hitchcock Moves Into Oscar Race (MovieMantz)
Total Recall Review (MovieMantz)
The Dark Knight Rises Colorado Tragedy: The Aftermath (MovieMantz)
The Dark Knight Rises Review (MovieMantz)
‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Review (MovieMantz)
‘People Like Us’ Review (MovieMantz)
‘Brave’ Review (MovieMantz)
‘Rock of Ages’ Review (MovieMantz)
Top 10 Baseball Movies Of All-Time (MovieMantz)
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz countsdown the top 10 baseball movies of all-time. Play ball!
Top 10 Movies Of 2012 (MovieMantz)
Access’ Scott ‘Movie’ Mantz counts down the best movies of 2012!
MovieMantz: Top 10 Christmas Movies Of All-Time
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz breaks down his top 10 favorite Christmas movies of all-time, with some titles that you might not expect!
MovieMantz 2011 Oscar Predictions: And The Oscar Will Go To…
Who will walk away a winner on Hollywood’s biggest night? Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz weighs in with his predictions!
MovieMantz: Oscar Predictions 2010 — ‘It’s Complicated? Hardly!’
Who will walk away a winner on Oscar night this year? Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz weighs in with his predictions!
MovieMantz: Best Movies of the Decade
Find out which films made MovieMantz’s list!
MovieMantz: Best of 2009
For the first time in a while, I actually had a hard time picking just 10 movies for my annual year-end best-of list. Ah, if I only had this problem every year…
MovieMantz Countdown: Top 10 Scariest Movies of All Time
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz counts down the top 10 horror films of all time!