I’m going to be upfront and admit that I have some pretty big misgivings about Toy Story 4. Sure, on the one hand, Pixar has crafted three outstanding entries for its most popular franchise. On the other hand, Toy Story 3 wrapped up the trilogy beautifully and left the story on a high note. Sometimes, you have to know when to leave well enough alone.
But regardless of how much I am or am not looking forward to the continuation of the franchise, that doesn’t really matter. Toy Story 4 hits theaters on Friday and hopefully any worries I have will be put to rest by another worthy follow-up. That really would be the best case scenario here. While we’re waiting, I thought it would fun to revisit Toy Story 3 and analyze what worked so well for that movie. The twist is that it won’t be me providing the analysis, or at least not present day me.
Back in the days before we had a blog for publishing our film reviews on the internet, Kevin and I would share our opinions with each other on Facebook messenger. Let’s just say it was the beginning of a shared appreciation for filmmaking and the first step towards pursuing a mutual passion. One of the movies I reviewed back then was indeed Toy Story 3, which Kevin and I saw together in 2010.
It’s crazy to think that it’s been that long since the last Toy Story hit theaters. It’s even crazier to me that we’ve been writing about films for almost a decade. That’s why I thought it be worthwhile, and just a little terrifying, to publish my original review and let 20-year old Jesse have his day in the sun.
That’s what we have to do, right? Take some time to remember where we’ve been, and the truth is the Toy Story movies have always been part of my life. My original review is after the jump.
And while the chapter of the toys’ time with Andy came to a tearful end, an entirely new chapter with Bonnie began. Such is the life of a toy. They can be loved, cherished, ignored, discarded and loved again. Never do they lose their special ability to bring laughter or joy to a child and even after we have grown up, we can still look back on all those great memories and recall how fond we are of our toys. The same can be said for the Toy Story movies. Even after all these years, they still make me laugh and can pull on the strings of my heart. I love those toys. And I loved Toy Story 3.
If there is an end to Pixar’s magic movie well, we haven’t even sniffed the bottom. Year after year they churn out humorous, heart-wrenching stories with heroes that are easy to love, villains that we love to hate and obstacles that seem to be impossible to overcome. The endings are always happy, but they still find ways to make those happy endings seem extremely doubtful along the way. This has never been truer than in Toy Story 3, when Woody, Buzz and the gang were about to meet a gruesome fate in a garbage incinerator. Instead of frantically searching for an escape, as they always do, they simply accepted their fate and were prepared to die with each other. Everyone in the audience teared up. I may have actually cried.
Everyone in Hollywood should take notes from Pixar on how to make sequels. All three movies in this trilogy do a terrific job of connecting with one another but at the same time tell unique stories that can stand on their own. They also know how to start, continue, and finish a trilogy. How many botches have their been in the third movie of a trilogy after the first two were good or even spectacular? The Godfather Part 3, Spider-Man 3, Superman 3, X3, Pirates 3, Return of the Jedi (Author’s Note 6/16/19: I was little harsh on Return of the Jedi, but even if it’s not that bad, I think it’s a pretty average Star Wars movie. I also realize I tend to be in the minority when it comes to that viewpoint. Sue me) and Shrek 3 just to name a few.
The Toy Story trilogy has earned it’s place next to the Lord of the Rings as great filmmaking across the entire arc of a story. Three great movies. Three memorable times at the movie theater.