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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Joan Cusack
Ned Beatty
Don Rickles
Michael Keaton
Wallace Shawn
John Ratzenberger.
Directors
Lee Unkrich.
Screenwriters
Michael Arndt
Andrew Stanton
Lee Unkrich
John Lasseter.
Running Time
103 minutes

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Toy Story 3
Or Die Another Daycare


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Plot
After years of being stowed in Andy’s toy chest, the time has finally come for Woody (Hanks), Buzz (Allen) and friends to move on. But after they’re welcomed to Sunnyside Daycare Centre by the kindly Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear (Beatty) they realise this seeming toy’s paradise is actually something closer to hell...


Review
Toy Story 3
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How ‘adult’ can a commercial family movie be pushed before it starts alienating its core audience? Lay on too many mature pop culture references (see Shark Tale’s emphasis on Mafia movie clichés), and you leave the smaller ones fidgeting. Go too ‘dark’, and that theatre will be awash with trauma-induced tears. Works the other way too: play it too young, and adult eyes glaze. It’s a fine balance. And Pixar remains the master of that particular tightrope walk.

The studio certainly set the delicate course with Toy Story, a movie which not only contrasted the glee of imaginative play with the terrors of plaything-torture, but which, crucially, imagined its anthropomorphised, secret-life-living protagonists as adults just doing a job — the child Andy being their boss. While audience children could simply enjoy the toys coming to life and having adventures, the wage-slave grown-ups could, among other things, relate to the workplace anxiety generated by an impressive new ‘employee’ (in the first film), or the idea of being ‘promoted’ to somewhere where you think you’ll be more valued, but where the reality is you’ll no longer be doing the very thing you love most about your job (in the second). Continuing the theme, the third Toy Story is very much a movie about retirement. In Disney Digital 3D.

The set-up has a 17 year-old Andy preparing to leave for college, his few remaining favourite toys (oddly after all these years still including a Mrs. Potato Head, but hey, we ain’t judging…) making desperate Woody-corralled gambits for his attention. The sight, in the first few minutes, of the ever-determined cowboy doll clinging on to an old mobile phone as he listens to Andy’s confused “Hellos” is just one of several near-heartbreaking moments. (Just to give you an idea, we learn only a few minutes later that Woody’s long-time girlfriend Bo Peep is one of the many toys Andy’s long-since chucked out.) Naturally, Woody refuses to accept his destiny, which as the other survivors (The Potato Heads, Rex, Hamm, Jessie, Slinky, Bullseye, the ‘Ooooh’ alien triplets and Buzz) point out, will lead them either to the attic, a daycare centre or the dreaded trash.

And, via the wonderful quick-beat action-plot contortions that characterised both previous Toy Stories — miss a single second at your peril — it’s to daycare they go, to a place with the blandly sinister name of ‘Sunnyside’, appropriately making it sound as much like an old people’s home as a nursery.

The resulting caper is, like its predecessor, a paragon of good sequel-making. It moves the story on (take note, Iron Man 2 writers), while keeping its characters and plotting comfortingly familiar, and it brings in new characters without neglecting the originals. You could criticise it for merely offering a new variation on the previous films’ ‘displaced toys require rescue’ structure, but the reality is that the riffs on Toy Stories 1 and 2 prove joyous. Woody’s to-the-rescue whistle for faithful dog Buster this time yields a greying, sagging hound who merely flops exhaustedly to the floor. A third encounter with a deluded Buzz Lightyear is spiced with a hilarious dash of Latin flavour. The bitter, twisted-toy bad guy who initially appears friendly… a flashback to another plaything’s cruel abandonment… a desperate climactic chase in a setting that would dwarf even a full-grown human (in the last movie an airport, in this movie, with equal aptness, a trash-processing facility)... Maybe it is ticking boxes, but each tick comes with its own fresh twist. The latter, in particular, offers up a scene of such intense, exquisite end-of-the-line poignancy — also the scariest moment of the whole series — that it deserves comparison with Snow White’s terrified forest flight, or the shooting of Bambi’s mother. Without giving too much away, you could call it this trilogy’s Mount Doom sequence.

But hey, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of laughs. A prison-break movie structure is deftly constructed around the toys’ trapped-in-daycare predicament (“Sunnyside is a place of ruin and despair...” gravely intones Timothy Dalton’s thespianic lederhosen-wearing hedgehog, Mr. Pricklepants), leading to one supremely funny escape-plan montage — narrated by a Fisher-Price phone and starring a screeching, cymbal-crashing, mad-eye-popping monkey. Elsewhere we have new star Ken (Michael Keaton), shuffling stiffly around in fey poses and complaining that “no-one appreciates clothes here!”, while repeatedly insisting he’s not a girl’s toy.

Just as the action comes thick and fast, the wisecracks and visual gags are high-volume and high hit-rate. Combined with the kind of state-of-the-artistry we now take for granted with Pixar (interestingly restrained when it comes to the main characters, thus keeping consistency with the previous films), they ensure that every last frame counts, each a firework-burst of fine detail. In all likelihood, though, it won’t be the rendering of Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear’s plush puce fur or Hamm’s dry asides that will earn this Pixar its sure plaudits; it’ll be its powerful tenderness as a fond farewell to some of cinema’s best-drawn characters.


Verdict
A kids’ movie for grown-ups. A grown-up movie for kids. Exactly what you’d expect — and hope for — from the latest, and we’re guessing final, Woody and Buzz adventure.


Reviewed by Dan Jolin

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Toy Story 3
Empire Star Rating

RE: Pixar are so good it's uncanny

A kids’ movie for grown-ups. A grown-up movie for kids. Exactly what you’d expect -- and hope for -- from the latest, and we’re guessing final, Woody and Buzz adventure. ... More

Posted by chang at 08:53, 28 December 2013 | Report This Post


RE: A perfect end to a perfect trilogy

Just finished watching this on TV. Not much left to be said, it's a wonderful film. My one question is who the Hell keeps chopping all those onions whenever I watch it? ... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 17:00, 25 December 2013 | Report This Post


A perfect end to a perfect trilogy

Yet another Pixar masterpiece, this instant classic couldn't have done a better job at concluding what is my all-time favourite movie trilogy. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Gittes at 14:35, 05 February 2013 | Report This Post


CHICKEN RUN ALREADY DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unlike The First Two Toy Story Movies, Toy Story 3 felt more like a parody than an original movie. It was very heavily inspired by The Great Escape And The Shawshank Redemption. The idea of the movie (Aswell As The Movie Itself) was fantastic, but the idea of the parody was originally taken by Aardmans when they made Chicken Run, making Toy Story 3's story look rather generic. The lack of nostalgia and the absence of some of the classic characters is a little disappointing, but it does not ruin ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SebMModerns at 17:09, 31 August 2012 | Report This Post


A great way to end the best animated trilogy.

This film was either going to be a classic or fail on all levels, luckily it was the first one. It is on par with the first two but maybe even the best, it's hard to tell, this film and it's prequels were so good. Like the first two this one has everything, humour, a great story, great characters and emotion when it's needed. The Toy Story trilogy will go down in history and be memorable for years to come, and a lot of it came down to this third film, which it succeeded. A 5* and one of the ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reaper996 at 11:56, 28 August 2012 | Report This Post


Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 joins the ranks of the best animated films. Right along with Spirited Away, Snow White, and even the original Toy Storys, this sequel proves that animation can be funny and charming for kids, while still being righteous and sophisticated enough for adults. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 17:42, 30 June 2012 | Report This Post


Toy Story 3 Review

Deftly blending comedy, adventure, and honest emotion, Toy Story 3 is a rare second sequel that really works. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 00:05, 14 December 2011 | Report This Post


Best 3D Animated Film of 2010 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ciaran McDaid at 11:23, 16 October 2011 | Report This Post


a realistic animation

This movies about hitler and the jews ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dirk Diggler 619 at 17:14, 22 May 2011 | Report This Post


Perfect Movie

Just love this movie & Toy Story ,2 & 1 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by soulfood at 19:19, 22 April 2011 | Report This Post


Perfect Ending Of The Perfect Trilogy

Toy Story 3 is the very last word in animated features. It is the movie that every other animated movie wants to be. It is entertaining, true to the series, engaging, genuinely thrilling, (at times) a tearjerker, and, above all else, simply inspired. Truly wonderful stuff. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 21:14, 09 February 2011 | Report This Post


Is this a joke!?

Toy Story 3 is, by all standards, a terrible movie. At best, it is slightly entertaining but this glorified movie certainly wasn’t heartbreaking, nor inspiring or particularly funny for that matter. In fact, I found it to be a very formulaic and dare I say, unoriginal. All the characters felt tired and shallow, offering little to no character development. Woody is the same whiny, undistinguished doll he was in the other two movies and Buzz, one of the few characters from this trilogy... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by carlminez at 00:02, 24 January 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Toy Story 3 = Masterpiece

L: BOHEMIANBOB I thought i was ok after the furnace scene,then they had to do that!! Amazing. p;This is ever amazing animated movie i have seen....... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by greyan at 13:10, 21 January 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Toy Story 3

I just watched Toy Story 3 for the first time tonight and I have to say it must be the perfect end to a perfect trilogy. All the reviews are spot on, there is no bias agenda or favourability going on. This is simply a film of collossal genius and creativity. I think its great that we live in an age where film trilogys can now surpass Star Wars or The Godfather. Long live Pixar. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Spaldron at 03:35, 20 January 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Toy Story 3

No reason to feel old, when I went to see Toy Story 3 there were almost no kids in the audience. Lots of people in their mid 20's though. This was one of the very few movies that managed to hit my nostalgic nerve, which is why it is such an emotional movie to watch for me. ... More

Posted by Mongolian at 15:57, 19 January 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Toy Story 3

L: langers37 L: Jeevan Singh What a great ending to one of the best animation film series!!! It was the first animation film I saw at 5 and saw the last installment at 17. I am definitely going to miss all of them... AME HERE! I feel like ive grown up with andy, and because of the connection i have with the first two films from those two stages of my childhood its like i was passing away my toys, my childhood, away to the next little kids just as andy was. I cried a littl... More

Posted by JIm R at 22:05, 13 January 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Toy Story 3

L: Jeevan Singh What a great ending to one of the best animation film series!!! It was the first animation film I saw at 5 and saw the last installment at 17. I am definitely going to miss all of them... AME HERE! I feel like ive grown up with andy, and because of the connection i have with the first two films from those two stages of my childhood its like i was passing away my toys, my childhood, away to the next little kids just as andy was. I cried a little at the end of toy... More

Posted by langers37 at 20:21, 13 January 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Toy Story 3

What a great ending to one of the best animation film series!!! It was the first animation film I saw at 5 and saw the last installment at 17. I am definitely going to miss all of them... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jeevan Singh at 22:28, 08 January 2011 | Report This Post


Pixar succeeds where theGodfather Trilogy failed.

There have been many great trilogies in film history- like LOTR and Bourne for instance. And now Toy Story can be placed in that illustrious list- the one even the mighty Godfather couldn't get into after the rubbish Part III. And boy does Toy Story deserve to be in that list, because this is an absolute masterpiece, without any shadow of a doubt. Pixar have once again raised the bar for CGI films that they themselves set all those years ago with Woody and Co's first outing. Here, the series get... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Boromirs Redemption at 11:57, 06 January 2011 | Report This Post


Film Of The Year Alongside Inception.

Toy Story 3 is awesome, fantastic, funny, sad, heartbreak, cute and quite scary as well. The old characters as well as new are great, especially the Spainish verison of Buzz. It has to be film of the year alongside Inception. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 14:35, 27 December 2010 | Report This Post


Film Of The Year Alongside Inception.

Toy Story 3 is awesome, fantastic, funny, sad, heartbreak, cute and quite scary as well. The old characters as well as new are great, especially the Spainish verison of Buzz. It has to be film of the year alongside Inception. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 14:35, 27 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Toy Story 3 = Masterpiece

L: BOHEMIANBOB I thought i was ok after the furnace scene,then they had to do that!! Amazing. eally quite amazing. Heartwarming, cheeky, funny, exciting... can Pixar EVER geti ti wrong? I mean - even Cars is a charming little film, and this is MILES better. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bozo at 17:39, 14 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Toy Story 3 = Masterpiece

I thought i was ok after the furnace scene,then they had to do that!! Amazing. ... More

Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 18:28, 09 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Toy Story 3 = Masterpiece

L: PaulJohn the funniest, most moving, upsetting and brilliant films i've ever seen. And one of the best animated films too. Pixar have surpassed themselves yet again. A Masterpiece.ote] I have only just today seen this movie and the above review says it all. The 'passing on' of the toys at the end is maybe the single most moving scene i have ever seen. ... More

Posted by Beno at 18:05, 09 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

Despite the fact that it arrived eleven years afterory 2e silver screen, a ry 3 evitable. ry uably Pixar’s most popular film, and as every studio knows, when one has a popular movie, the best move is to market it until it becomes unprofitable. rs ood example, as is i]. It is not just from the potential profits that one could forsee a third ryh. From watching ry 2er instalment felt a necessity. In ry 2oys talked of Andy outgrowing them, and in ry 3actually happens. It is not like orever Aft... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by McGeesJabberwock at 17:17, 26 September 2010 | Report This Post


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