Toy Story 3 Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated June 26th, 2010 at 4:44 pm,

Toy Story 3 movie image 11 Toy Story 3 Review
Screen Rant’s Vic Holtreman reviews Toy Story 3

Have I mentioned recently how much I love Pixar? When you have a company creating film after film, and the worst thing that you can say about its weakest (Cars) is that it was “just good,” then you have a once in a lifetime company to be treasured – and those who run it should be thanked endlessly for their work.

Some people raised an eyebrow when Toy Story 3 was announced. Was Pixar being strong-armed by Disney just to squeeze more money out of a brand consisting of two excellent movies? Were they running out of original ideas (snicker… RIGHT). Well now that it’s done, let’s be supremely thankful that Pixar veterans Lee Unkrich, John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton brought the now familiar gang back together for a final film.

Prior to the film there was a customary animated short, which I won’t describe in detail to not spoil the surprise other than to say that it was one of the most creative and cute animations I’ve seen from Pixar (and that’s saying a lot). Right up until the end, that is, where it closed with some unnecessary dialog that felt just a touch preachy. But let’s move on to the main event…

Toy Story 3 opens in a similar vein to the previous film, but this time Woody (Tom Hanks) is the hero of the imaginary adventure. We’re in the old west and he’s trying to save a train full of orphans that has been hijacked by the evil Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. Right from the opening minutes the film will put a smile on your face and please you with surprises.

There’s a sweet montage right after that which shows Andy (owner of our little group of friends) on videotape as we remember him from the previous films, playing with and loving his favorite toys.We see him grow up a bit, and now he’s 17 years old and days away from leaving for college. Our gang hasn’t seen much play action, spending who knows how many years now closed up in an old toy chest.

Well with Andy leaving, mom wants to clean things up and Andy has to decide what to take with him, what to throw away, donate or put up in the attic for storage. Except for Woody and Buzz (Tim Allen), the toys are freaking out thinking they’re headed for the city dump. While of course they weren’t headed that way, some confusion ensues and they do indeed end up at the curb. Woody rescues them and tries to tell them it was a mistake, but they’re all convinced that Andy was trying to get rid of them.

Hiding in a box meant for toy donations to a local daycare center, they believe they’ve found a new home where there will be an endless supply of young children to play with them forever and they’ll never be outgrown. They’re welcomed by the veteran toys, led by Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear (he smells like strawberries!). He (Ned Beatty) welcomes them, explains what a wonderful place they’ve found and shows them where they’ll be living. Turns out they’ve been placed with children too young for them and they are battered mercilessly by rough play. Eventually they come to find that this isn’t a paradise, but a prison. Woody leaves prior to this discovery, and of course the rest of the film is dedicated to setting everyone free and getting back to Andy’s house whether he wants them or not.

Prior to this film Lee Unkrich directed Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. He directed and co-wrote the film, and co-writers Andrew Stanton and John Lasseter have an honorable Pixar pedigree in both writing and directing. I’m quite tempted to say that this team can do no wrong. Toy Story 3 was laugh out loud funny, exciting, heartwarming and touching.

There are so many kudos to pass around that one doesn’t know where to start… but if I have to start somewhere it’s going to be with Ken, voiced by Michael Keaton. He is hysterically funny as the self-conscious “cool guy.” The scenes with him and Barbie (Jodi Benson) will have you giggling like a little kid (if you’re not one any more).

John Ratzenberger returns as Hamm and he’s got great one-liners aplenty, as does Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head and Joan Cusack as the ever spunky Jessie. Blake Clark has replaced Jim Varney (who passed away February 2000) as Slinky Dog. Ned Beatty does a subtle and great job as Lotso, the seemingly friendly bear with a dark side.

And man oh man does Tim Allen deliver in the second half of the film. Buzz is captured by Lotso and re-set to factory settings – but it’s when Woody and crew undo that that he will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. Puts a smile on my face just writing about it. icon smile Toy Story 3 Review Oh, and let’s not forget our three little alien friends who worship “the claaaaawwww.” They’re not in the film much, but when they do appear they’re put to great use. There are also new characters (both human and toy) to fall in love with here.

Then there’s the animation… Watch the three films back to back and you’ll see the progression in the quality of the animation – in this film the people are still stylized, but the level of detail and expression is far beyond what was in the previous film; it’s really beautiful and helps you connect to the human characters more than ever. Having said that, I did see it in 3D and frankly the film would have been just as good without it. The 3D doesn’t hurt the film – but it doesn’t really add much to it either.

And the emotional part of the film… it starts tugging at you a little bit early on, then gives way for a lot of the fun stuff, but the last 15 minutes… Holy cow, if you don’t shed a tear at some point you might just be made of stone. There’s just one scene after another, going from touching, to heartbreaking, back to touching and melancholy. There are few live action films that can reach your heart the way this one did in the last 15 minutes or so.

So why not a perfect score? Well following the opening sequence, for a while it was “just good.” Sure, we get to see our favorite characters again and that was fun, but it seemed like more of the same. It’s not really until the prison break that the film really kicks it into high gear and becomes something very, very special.

Go see Toy Story 3 and take the whole family. It might just end up being your all time favorite Pixar film.

And just for fun, here’s another look at a funny promo ad for the film that gives a good idea of Michael Keaton’s “Ken” in the film to help you decide.

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If you want to talk about the film in depth without worrying about spoiling for folks who haven’t seen it, head over to our Toy Story 3 spoilers discussion.

Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5

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  1. Well hell you guys make me feel like a heartless beast lol. Don’t get me wrong loved the movie but I didn’t cry. I almost feel terrible that I didn’t with all the heart of stone crap you guys are throwing around. Loved the movie and it was emotional but not enough for tears. Don’t get me wring I cry during movies. He’ll I got Geary eyed during UP trying to imagine what that poor man was going through. TS 3 was emotional just not tear worthy to me.

  2. @Daniel F
    Did u see the first 2 wen they resently came out?!? I did,thats y its so sad. I grew up with these movies. I love them all! But it is tear worthy,nearly everyone was crying at the end. Ive never heard tears shed at a movie theater. Never.

  3. Lol this was my second most anticipated film of the year right behind inception. Trust I’m a big fan of Toy Story I’ve seen the first two several times especially the first which I just watched last week. I just didn’t find it tear worthy it dud pull af my heart strings yes but not like UP did.

    • Daniel f,

      I *knew* it! Heart of stone!



  4. You guys are so mean to me /cry


  5. Lol some words make u cry moré than toy story?!? Come on,use those tears for the movie!!!

  6. AMAZING MOVIE! I was getting so pissed off towards the end though lol. I won’t spoil anything for anyone but if you’ve seen it you might know what I mean..

  7. I wasnt pissed,I was SAD,thats how its supposed to make u feel,if u were pissed,then i guess they didnt do a great Job with u. I love that theyre always in danger,thats wat makes toy story exciting! Should there be a part 4?!? Anyone?!?

    • yes I agree

      • Yes, i agree.

    • YES TOY STORY 4…won’t be the same without Andy though, but he could come visit Bonnie or babysit her during college holidays ;o) I thought they left an opening for Toy Story 4, but after reading reviews this was the last one. I cried a lot at the end, and felt stupid for doing so. Not until my friend told me many have cried, men and women. I felt slightly better after that…crying at a Toy Story movie? That’s hilarious in it’s self, but it was a heart string tugger and so emotional. Can so relate I guess. Also because I’ve seen all three and ‘grew up with them’ it was sad to see how this one panned out. So sad but so good!

      • Even though it may appear a Toy Story 4 has been left open, the characters have been put to rest nicely, but who knows, after growing up with Toy Story I may one day myself be taking my kids to see Toy Story 4 (if I have them), but i think that that amount of time would be required to wait for a Toy Story 4 to keep up with the running quality of the previous. IF this film was bought out 2, 3 or even 4 years after Toy Story 2, I’m not sure whether we would have got such an emotional and fulfilled ride. What was real clever about this film was that the series has been released in a way that has followed its main audience through life. Every film has touched on the specific part of my life as when I watched it, and most people at the theatre today weren’t younger, but all the same age as myself, around 16 to 22.

  8. I see how Vic gave it a 4.5 on it’s own, however this is not a “court of law” and PAST instances CAN be included, so along the lines of TS 1 a “10″, TS2 a “10″, I can honestly say TS 3 gets a “10″.

  9. Meh I would almost never give a film a perfect score it’s like saying your review is meaningless in my opinion. 10/10 or 5/5 is basically saying it’s a perfectly flawless film and there is no such thing. Ten years from now that film that you gave a perfect score will have 10 or 12 movies that were better than it that you give a 4.5 to because they had movies better than them.

    In terms of Toy Story though I still say the first one was the best. This one is a close second. Never really liked the second all that much it was ok, but not on the same level as the first or this one.

    Toy Story – 9/10
    Toy Story 2 – 7.5/10
    Toy Story 3 – Better than an 8.5 just shy of a 9… 8.7 would be accurate, but I’ll round it to a 9 to avoid confusion.

  10. Oh anyone else no longer getting Email updates?

    • Daniel f,

      Have you checked your spam folder? I got mine today.


  11. Gee 2 old farts complaining about a movie they don’t care to see yet here they are leaving comments and trying to degrade a great film toy story 3 is an amazing and fun movie everyone can enjoy so take your Scrooge attitudes and go comment some other place where people actually care wat you say and leave the wasted space of comments for some one who enjoyed the movie with posative comments TOY STORY 4 EVER LOL ^_^

  12. Toy story 3 is gets PERFECT score to me!!!

  13. I picked 5 stars as well. The movie was very funny, touching and moving story. There was always something going on, no parts that left you bored. I can’t say one thing bad about this movie. I really enjoyed it and will continue to do so when the DvD releases!

  14. Saw it again today still love it. All the claw segments were great lol. Ken was entertaining and while Tim Allen has always been able to make me laugh it nice to not have to see his face while doing it. I especially love the language change.

  15. Not sappy enough that I needed to phone my mom and weep, but sappy enough to actually reach inside and touch my tiny heart!

    It also helps when the movie you’re seeing has copious amounts of adorable children at a Saturday matinee. Honestly, I can’t help but be overjoyed to see so many kids completely enamored with characters in cinema! I love that going to the movies is generational.

    Toy Story 3 was fabulous, it lived up to the series reputation. If nothing else, Michael Keaton was completely fabulous as the man’s barbie, Ken.

    Pixar wins.

  16. This was very tough for my children (ages 8 and 4) to watch. They were really upset by the mean bear and the scary parts. They’ve fallen in love with the Toy Story characters and were distraught – to the point of tears- by the scary portions. I think it was a great movie for the grown-ups, but children need to be reminded that it is not real and that it will have a happy ending.

  17. That’s odd Rebecca I took my nephew 3yr and niece 6 and they loved it all the kids in the theater I was in did. There are bad guys being mean to the protagonists in all disney films. I think Toy Story 2 would of been worse in the scary upsetting thing with Zerg and Kelsey Grammers part. Still not bad though.

  18. I LOVED this film…It was beautifully rendered, acted,…everything! Movies really should be made like “Toy Story 3″ was. Wonderful :)

  19. toy story 3 blew my mind. my favorite pixar film and definitely in my top ten of all time. i laughed hysterically AND cried hysterically.

  20. This film was so awesome. As a lifelong Toy Story fan, this lived up to my expectations (I think I love it a bit more than 2). I don’t think it felt like more of the same at all. I mean, sure, it deals with some of the same themes as Toy Story 2, but there wasn’t any way it couldn’t. I really loved this film, and this is now my favorite trilogy of all time.

  21. As someone who has actually grown up with toy story (I am the same age as Andy), the moment when Andy said goodbye to his mom had me sobbing. I had not realized how emotional leaving for college would be and it took a childrens movie to help me understand. Toy Story 3 is a special movie that deserves an oscar. Pixar’s ability to make a movie this good and appeal to all audiences (children, teenagers, adults, and parents)makes Toy Story 3 stand out as a fabulous movie. Thank you Pixar, for compleating the trilogy in such a satifying and heartwarming way.

  22. I went to see this movie today for my 16th birthday, and I am SO glad I did. This was the single BEST movie I have EVER seen. Never have I felt so many emotions in one sitting! It was intense, heart-wrenching, funny, a little bit scary even, and most of all, mind-blowing awesome! I NEVER cry during movies, but I heard sobbing around the theatre and I came THIS close to crying. Well done, Pixar, well done. Why can’t ALL movies be this amazing?!

  23. its a wonderfullllllll and a heart melting film .sure it should get an oscar award .its a brilliant and of course no words to say about this movie.

  24. when Toy Story3 was first promoted, i thought it was just a next part of the sequence, to benefit from the success of the previous parts of a series (just like Shriek). However, i was so wrong, when i watched TS3, i was drawn to the flow of the movie, with all joys, happiness and sadness. In the last 15 mins of TS3, my heart was shattered when non of them gonna see Andy anymore. And that sadness kept following me for the whole day.

  25. Toy Story 3 Jigsaw IN BIG SCREEN –>

  26. I have never called a movie perfect before, because I never believed there was such a thing, but boy, this is it. It was really amazing and the ending was so emotional and heartwarming, yet heartbreaking at the same time. I will admit I was very upset over the lack of Bo-Peep, because I always loved how she knew how to make Woody feel better (when he lost his hat in the second movie) but losses are what make the film real! Ken definatly was a brilliant character, he had some of the funniest parts in the film, along with Buzz’s Spanish seduction dance he gives Jessie and both of Mr. Potato heads new bodys! I really do think the film deserves 5/5 and I can’t WAIT for it to be released on D.V.D! And I really can’t wait for PIXAR’s next masterpiece!!

    • I think the loss of Bo Peep was sad because she made Woody happy.

  27. i was 7 when the first movie came out and i loved it back then, and i also saw the 2nd movie came out and i remember enjoying that too. however, when this movie came out i thought it was just another shameless way of making money by raping an old classic – since that seems to be the norm these days. also, being 22 years old now, i felt a bit weird going to see a kids’ movie, but i’m glad i did. it took me a while to get into the film, forget i was an adult and admit i was enjoying it, but once i did i loved it. the ending was so sad… i havent cried in many years, and never at a film, but i gotta hold my hands up and admit i was fighting back the tears tonight. i think every grown-up can relate. i dont think it was the film itself that made me feel so sad, it was the parallel with my own life – my childhood has gone and i’ve gone away to university just like andy. things will never be as fun and uncomplicated as they were back then, and i’m sure it’s a time that most people really miss.

  28. The movie is AWESOME !!! KEN is so gay too !! LOL

  29. It gets a 5/5 from me. I grew up on the Toy Story movies, I have watched eached two atleast more then ten – fifteen times, maybe more. I mean, it was never boring for me to watch it over and over again. And this third movies was so touching. I really rarely cry on a movie, but when I saw the end of it, I nearly cried. It is a masterpiece, as was the first and second movie.
    Thanks Pixar!