What does it take to get nominated for Best Oscar?
Answer: A movie loosely allegorical to the Holocaust disguised as a kid’s story about toys trying to escape the confines of a daycare ruled over by an evil dictator. The Academy eats stories like this like breakfast mimosas. To all those children who rewatch this movie years down the road and realize this, I sincerely apologize on their behalf for tainting a piece of your childhood.
Toy Story 3 picks up roughly 12 or 13 years after Toy Story 2. The whole gang is back: Woody, Buzz, Jesse, Rex, Ham, Slinky (now replaced by Jim Varney quasi-imitator, Blake Clark), Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead, Barbie and the Planet Pizza Aliens (“The CLAW”) are all there. Their young protege, Andy, is about to move away to college and the toys are all dealing possible with retirement to the attic, trash or elsewhere. The movie takes them elsewhere. The Sunnyside Daycare centre…where things aren’t as sunny as they seem.
Lotso, the giant pink teddy bear (voiced by Ned Beatty), is easily one of the most evil characters to grace a silver screen. I’m sure Darth Vader used him as a cuddle toy when he was Anakin…or Hannibal chopped up a Cabbage Patch Doll to feed Lotso when he was a wee-one. Yet truthfully, Lotso became more of a byproduct of his upbringing than an actual devil-teddy spawn. And Lotso’s “muscle” is a creepy baby that you or your sister may have played with…a melancholic character who’s good deep down but doing Lotso’s evil-bidding because they’ve been together so long. The pair, along with their “hench-toys” rule over Sunnyside with a plush fist (including vocal talents of Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Keaton) . Some of the images are those of horror movies. The blank stares. The screaming cymbal monkey.
SPOILERY! CLICK WITH EXTREME CAUTION!
Besides the villains, we’re introduced to newer friends. Most notable are the Shakespearean hedgehog Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), the worn out Daycare veteran, Chatter Phone (Teddy Newton), the sad clown Chuckles (Bud Lackey) and the down-to-earth Dolly (Bonnie Hunt).
And unlike any of the previous movies in this trilogy, some parts of Toy Story 3 are truly terrifying and you feel for the lives of the toys we all grew up with and loved. I’ve watched this movie a couple times since it’s come out and the climax still brings me to tears…but maybe I’m a softy. And the heroes are sometimes the most unlikely.
If only Best Actor nominations included animated characters, Woody should’ve been there. Tom Hanks’ vocal dexterity is mostly to thank for this. Together they should’ve been jointly nominated. Woody ranks right up there with Hanks’ Forrest Gump as one of his best performances in his career. Also, if I was caught in a tight situation, Woody would be the first character I’d call on.
Our heroes deal with harrowing situations with humour, goodness and innocence. They are a blend of child-like adulthood…sort of like Forrest Gump. They live and breath the mantra “No Toy Left Behind” even if it means they all go down together. Through thick and thin.
Yes, there’s a Lotso Third Reich feel to this (pun intended)…but Woody’s purity of heart shines throughout and because of this, I’d recommend this movie to anyone of any age. These adult themes are too complex (and ancient and subtle) for younger audiences. So there’s no fear to bring any lil’ ones.
Toy Story 3 is a movie about growing up and moving on. Things don’t have to end. They just sometimes need to change. Andy needs to go to college. Woody and his pals need to accept that they need to move on as well. Where do they move on to? I’ll let you watch the movie to see.
This is the best of the three folks! It’s a shoe-in for Best Animated feature and probably the best animated movie to be up for Best Picture ever. If you liked the first two, take some time out and watch Toy Story 3.
9.6 Ken costumes out of 10