No one's going to force you to like 'Toy Story 3,' but it's really hard not to. Of course, while the majority of people will like it, there will always be someone who doesn't. It's just a natural fact. No matter how good it may be, it just won't please everyone. Even if it is Pixar. Trust me, not everyone liked 'Up,' and there are plenty of people that didn't like 'Wall-E.' A few people just won't like 'Toy Story 3,' and I can only assume that as a child these people were similar to Sid, the villain of the first 'Toy Story,' who found joy in destroying his toys. Others may not like how different 'Toy Story 3' is compared to its predecessors, being so used to the simplistic nature of the earlier Pixar films, when this one is a little more dark and complex. While I was glad to see 'Toy Story 3' getting non-stop rave reviews, I knew after I saw it that some people would not like it so much.
So what's so great about it? Aren't sequels guaranteed for failure these days? Most of the recent major threequels that I remember are 'Spider-man 3' and 'Shrek the Third,' which seemed more like they were made for the money rather than out of necessity. While they were just continuations of their previous entries, 'Toy Story 3' was the final touch to an unfinished product that had been sitting on the shelf for years (over ten, actually). The 'Toy Story' franchise is Pixar's one true masterpiece, as they would be nothing without it, so it makes sense that they conclude it with a bang. What we have now is a grand movie trilogy that ranks with the many greats, although it is the first animated trilogy to rank amongst those classics.
I felt that as a sequel, it did exactly what 'Dark Knight' did for 'Batman Begins.' It gave us everything we wanted to see while also giving us a good, meaningful story that never seemed like it was made for the hell of it. Of course it's made for children, but just like other Pixar films, it somehow finds a way to appeal to people of all ages. Woody, the toy cowboy, is still our main character, but this time around he is facing the end. You've heard the sum of it already so I'm not going to waste my review elaborating on stuff you've heard a hundred times already. Most people are concerned with the dark nature of this story being in a movie directed towards children, but that's just what Pixar does. As Pixar progresses with their technology, the complex and mature nature of their films improve as well. It's obvious that more thinking went into 'Wall-E' and 'Up' than 'Monsters Inc' and 'Cars,' but as these films become less children-oriented and targeted more towards adults, it becomes easier to see flaws if there ever are any.
While the first two 'Toy Story' movies were as successful in a technological sense as they were in a storytelling sense, this installment was running completely on its storytelling abilities. Many times before in movie history we've seen a film set a "bar" that its sequels were not able to top, mainly because they forgot that they were supposed to, so there was indeed a lot of pressure on 'Toy Story 3.' Surprisingly, it managed to pull it off. And there's one particular reason why. Simply, 'Toy Story 3' chooses to embrace an epic-scale adventure while the first two were just a little more of something less. In the first film, Woody was saving Buzz Lightyear. In the second film, it was the other way around. This time, Woody reclaims his hero-status by saving ALL of Andy's toys from annihilation at a prison-like daycare. Of course, with such a duty, it is only inevitable that a story of such epic proportions that's both a second sequel and "for kids" will slip here and there, but at least it never forgets where it's going.
I've seen so many people giving it perfect ratings while also stating that it has it's "flaws" and that it doesn't top the originals (although I have to disagree with the latter statement). I didn't know that things could be perfect and have flaws at the same time, unless I missed out on some recent revolutionary discovery. The story did have its flaws, but they aren't necessarily flaws that ruin the path of the story.
We are introduced to a raid of interesting new characters, especially Ken doll. And it is here that I must go back and compare the film to 'The Dark Knight.' By comparing the two I'm pointing out that certain characters come in and imply that the story is going in one direction, while it is in fact going in another. One scene will end with unanswered questions, and the story will go on. But it is not necessarily a bad flaw if we do not lose focus on our protagonist, Woody, and his journey, because doing so would mean subplots, which aren't particularly a good thing in a children's film that's not really trying to be too complex.
Another film I must compare it to is the recent disaster film '2012,' because after a while there seemed to be scene after scene in which our heroes were in a hopeless situation and made it out at the last second. Luckily, the scenarios weren't as ridiculous and a little more spaced out so that it wouldn't be as noticeable. And with 'Toy Story' being an actual hero story while '2012' was just a mass of garbage, we had a character whose strong belief in family and friendship kept his gang together when there seemed to be no hope.
Another flaw that some people seem to mention is the predictability of the film. We have a wide range of possible outcomes for the toys: the garbage, the daycare, or the attic. I don't know if you can exactly call it predictability when the ending is already somewhat foretold. But to dispose of this predictability is the element of surprise that the film also contains, abundantly to be exact. That's one factor that Pixar implements into its films, is its surprising ability to give its story so much character that separates it from any other story you've heard, while it also shows influence from other great epic stories, that aren't they to say, "Hey, this is a good story!" but instead to show that the film knows where it's going and its going to throw everything and anything at you to prove it.
Now for the "dark" elements of the story. What some people seem to ignore is that what kills sequels is its inability to re-create elements that were present in the films that preceded it. 'Spider-man 3' failed there, re-writing older plots to fit into its new one, almost making 1 and 2 meaningless. The same flaw was heavily present in the 'Transformers' sequel, where a lot of things that happened in the original film seemed to have been forgotten in the second installment. 'Toy Story 3' is different and exceptional in that it continues where it left off. Nothing happened between 2 and 3 that wasn't already common knowledge, otherwise it was mentioned almost immediately to let the audience know that the story has lapsed as much time as it has in the real world. The story is most appealing to the audience the first two films captured, the audience that deserved this sequel the most. The dark elements are a little hard to bear, but they are intended for the now-grown-up fans that grew up watching the film as children. Andy was a child then, and likewise, he is a college student now. The story may not be the easiest for children to watch, but it is the best one that could've been told. It serves to show that no matter the situation, even one that includes a harsh strawberry-scented teddy bear, the strong bond that keeps families together never fails to prevail.
There is obviously a happy ending, and the references to 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings' (among many others) are there for a reason, as are the references and repetition of themes and events that occurred in the previous two 'Toy Story' films. When the first one was released, it was just a simple story, but when there was a sequel, it turned the franchise into something more. It then needed a proper ending. It could've been worse, but it couldn't have been better. 'Toy Story 3' stamps the franchise that was once just a couple of good stories into an epic adventure of Woody and his crew of toys trying to find their purpose in the world. There is more to them being played with, they are family, and in that sense they are more than just toys. And when that is the case, this is more than just a kid's movie. This is a great journey that serves to captivate audiences and bring back memories of childhood that draw the deepest and most nostalgic of emotions out of us. It is strongest in its ability to show us the true meaning and importance of "growing up," while putting some finishing touches to the family theme that the previous two films implied. Since it is an animated film, it is hard to categorize it with live-action epic trilogies, but it really earns its place amongst them, and in that case, 'Toy Story 3' is perfect.