At The Theater #21: Toy Story 3

Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are my favorite Pixar movies, so it shouldn’t be hard to believe that Toy Story 3 was the movie I was looking forward to the most this summer. With that anticipation comes a bit a fear. Is this the one where they jump the shark? A lot of franchises’ third movies have been lackluster. I’m looking at you Godfather 3, Superman III and Batman Forever.

I shouldn’t have worried though, Toy Story 3 is great. Pixar really can do no wrong.

What other studio has their kind of track record? My least favorite Pixar movie, Cars, is still a good movie. Cars just doesn’t hold up to the incredibly high bar set by every other Pixar release. But Toy Story 3 definitely does.

This is my favorite of the Toy Story 3 character posters. He’s got a 3 for a nose!

Toy Story 3 packs more guilt than a Jewish mother (I can make that joke because I started the hora at an Episcopalian wedding this past weekend). The movie really hammers home how lonely your toys get when you grow too old to play with them. They ride this point for the whole movie. It’s enough to make me want to drive straight to my parents’ house, run up to the attic, rip open the Hefty bag full of He-Man figures and reenact the battle for Eternia.

Toy Story 3 is very funny. If you enjoyed the first two, you’ll love this one. And if you didn’t enjoy the first two, try to get that stone in your chest replaced with a heart.

This poster looks like Woody farted and everyone behind him is shocked by it. Maybe they’re trying to figure out the least awkward way to tell him he accidentally pooped himself.

Like every other Pixar release, there is a short before the main feature. This time it’s Day and Night, which has to be the coolest blending of CGI and traditional cell shaded animation ever. It also looks much better than Tom Cruise’s upcoming Knight and Day.

While watching Toy Story 3, I couldn’t help but think about Cars and why it doesn’t work as well as Pixar’s other movies. I think I figured it out. It’s because there are no people in it. The other Pixar movies that involve anthropomorphizing the world around us show what’s going on in the lives of toys, fish and bugs when people aren’t paying attention to them. But in Cars, there are no people. The cars in Cars are entirely self-sufficient and self-motivated. There’s no interaction between the cars and people, which is the dynamic that anchors Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Finding Nemo to the real world. Without this anchor, Cars seems a bit faker than the others. That being said, I’d still take Cars over most CGI animated movies produced by other studios.

Pixar is still batting 1.000. Go see Toy Story 3 and see it in 3D. It’s definitely worth it, and it’s a safe bet it will be better than Jonah Hex (also opening this weekend).
SPOILER: One of the characters in this poster isn’t in Toy Story 3.
Woe for Stinky Pete the Prospector