TOY STORY 3 Blu-ray Review

     October 29, 2010

toy_story_3_cast_slice

Every filmmaker stumbles from time to time. Even the greats like Hitchcock and Kubrick have a few boners in their pantheon, along with other movies that do the job and not much more. Part of the ballyhoo over Pixar stems from the fact that they alone seem to have avoided that trap. Everything they produce stands head and shoulders above its competitors, throwing off the filmmaking curve like a genius in remedial English class. At worst, their efforts are pretty good, and at best? Well, at best they produce movies like Toy Story 3. Hit the jump for my full review.

The original Toy Story set Pixar on its winning ways back in 1995, and the first sequel achieved that rare feat of surpassing the original in depth and quality. Toy Story 3 picks up after a ten-year break… rarely a good sign in any franchise. But John Lasseter’s boys constructed the first two films so perfectly that the logical third step appeared fully formed out of thin air. Toy Story 2 raised the grim prospect of what happens when Andy—owner of Buzz (voiced by Tim Allen), Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and all those other wonderful playthings—finally grows up and casts them aside. Toy Story 3 need only take that question to its presumed conclusion.

Andy is now 18 and heading off to college, leaving the gang to be packed up in the attic forever. The receive an apparent respite when Andy’s mom accidentally ships them to the nearby daycare center . It looks great at first, with an eternal supply of enthusiastic children and a friendly new group of toys under the leadership of Lotso Huggin Bear (voiced by Ned Beatty) to welcome them. Only Woody stays loyal to Andy, which pays dividends when the day care center shows its true colors. The toys in charge Bogart the attentions of the sweeter children, leaving the new fish to be savaged by age-inappropriate hellions. Those  who fight back suffer unspeakable punishments, turning a seeming haven into a Stalag 17-style prison camp. It’s up to Woody to free his buddies and set things right.

Like all of Pixar’s films, the simple structure allows for surprising depths, both in the intricacy of the plotting and the characters’ emotions.  Director Lee Unkrich never loses track of who these figures are, giving Woody and Buzz the lion’s share of attention without forgetting the myriad of supporting characters (both old and new) beneath them. The story is packed to the gills with hairpin turns and intricate twists, and yet it never overwhelms the central figures. That allows Toy Story 3 to quietly grip our sympathies, leading to  a shockingly powerful emotional pay-off in the last fifteen minutes. The film isn’t afraid to go to some very dark places,  and yet it earns our heartfelt reactions by never playing for cheap gratification.

Toy-Story-3-movie-imageThe results come closer to mainstream perfection than most films could ever hope for… a trick Pixar pulls off with workmanlike regularity.  We’ve come to expect such feats out of them, but by achieving it for the third straight time with the same characters, they enter into uncharted territory. No director, however accomplished, can match their track record, and no Part 3 ever reached the lofty heights this one does. (We’ll get Return of the King out of the way on the “it’s all just one big film” technicality.)  I’d say that sooner or later they’re going to drop the ball, but judging by Toy Story 3, that moment is a long, long ways away.

As befits a release of this stature, Disney has brought a staggering number of features to the Blu-ray. The case contains four discs holding Blu-ray, DVD, and digital versions of the film. A second Blu-ray disc holds nothing but bonus features: multiple documentaries, an alternate commentary track, copious trailers and an interactive trivia game. The main Blu-ray also contains a copy of “Night and Day” (the animated short that ran with Toy Story 3’s theatrical release) and a another collection of Buzz Lightyear’s “adventures” aboard the International Space Station. The trailers actually contain some of the best material, including a series of phony live-action ads for Lotso Huggin. But everything here is insightful and entertaining,  providing plenty of support for a film that constitutes a must-own even without the bells and whistles. (Having said that, a brief word of warning: the DVD contains only repeat versions of certain features that appear on the Blu-ray, and the main disc continues Disney’s lamentable practice of choking us with previews  before getting to the main feature.)

Around The Web

Latest News

Friday Box Office: SAN ANDREAS Opens in First; ALOHA Gets Buried

Disaster pic ‘San Andreas’ claims first place on Friday with $18.2 million. And while not yet a disaster, Cameron Crowe’s ‘Aloha’ looks a little shaky on opening day.

Kyle Newman Talks STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, CHEWIE and Taylor Swift

He discusses why he likes the prequel films more than most and why the upcoming anthology films shouldn't try to be "cooler than a Star Wars film."

Oscar Beat: Cannes 2015 Offers a Preview of Awards Race to Come

Michael Fassbender and Rooney Mara are just a couple of the potential 2016 Oscar nominees that got a swell showcase at the film festival. The McConaissance, however, is taking a year off.

Enter Our Giveaway and Win Free JURASSIC WORLD Toys

Raptor claws are within your grasp!

TOP 5: SAN ANDREAS, Rick Baker Retiring, POINT BLANK Remake Trailer

The latest on the 'It' remake, a batch of original features, and a reminder to watch 'Jack Reacher' also hold a place in this week's Top 5.

THE SHINING and GRAND BUDAPEST Mash up Perfectly in “The Grand Overlook Hotel”

Who knew Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick framed their shots so similarly?

Channing Tatum to Produce, Possibly Star in Former Lifetime Movie TWO KISSES FOR MADDY

The tear-jerker memoir revolves around a single father raising his daughter.

Watch: Four JURASSIC WORLD Journals Featuring Chris Pratt Being Chris Pratt

Pratt certainly steals the spotlight, but all four videos have loads of behind-the-scenes footage well worth checking out.

Disney Pulls the Plug on TRON 3

Disney has decided not to move forward on the 'Tron' sequel from director Joseph Kosinski.

ANT-MAN: Evangeline Lilly Announces Marvel’s Micro-Tech Challenge

Girls ages 14 to 18 can win a trip to the 'Ant-Man' premiere by building a project using micro-technology.

Page 1 of 3,97212345...102030...Last »