#76: Toy Story 3 (2010)

When and how did I watch this?

November 25th, 2016, on DVD.

Had I seen this film already?

Yes.  I saw it at the in-laws’ place.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

The capstone to the Toy Story series, it has one of the more dramatic and perilous sequences in all of film — the incinerator scene.  The toys start holding hands, and they look on at their demise.  Paralyzing stuff.  Some tears were shed. Most of the plot remained intact in my memory, but some of the details had been forgotten.

What do I know about it now?

Among many other traits, Pixar stands out for giving us an incredible emotional run and making us feel very human using non-human characters. Yes, we have Andy, the now-grown and disinterested owner of the beloved toys, but moments into the film, we begin to care about the fate of the toys.  There’s another angle that’s brought up: are toys (and more broadly, possessions) designed for the owner himself, or for the greater good of a society? This discussion can even cross political territory.  And speaking of politics, how about the ominous Lotso, representing the daycare toys in the story, but also symbolizing oppressive and manipulative leadership? He lingers into mob boss territory — ruthless in nature at times — but even he gets a touching backstory.  In terms of the movie itself, the screenplay is fantastic.  As children, we made up stories about how toys interact with each other and perhaps our siblings — which is how the film opens up — but as adults, we seem to have sort of lost it. The film goes into genius territory as we see the toys engineer mind-blowing clever tactics, each using their little nuances and strengths to help each other. It seems simplistic because they’re just using themselves and their bodies (dog/spring, Mr. Potato Head/eyes, etc.), but we as children or storywriters are typically limited to imagining human-like endeavors.  In Toy Story, the rules are re-written for the living, feeling, thinking, and maneuvering toys.

What are some themes in the film?

Growing up, abandonment, social hierarchy, loyalty, miscommunication

Did this affect me personally?

The incinerator scene is obviously the big moment. Another one that got my attention more so this time (spoiler) was when Andy finally gives the toys to the girl around the block.

Why is this ranked #76?

Toy Story as a concept is something unique and kind of set Pixar in motion, as my review pointed out. This installment puts a mature and occasionally dark spin on the world of toys, playing on the broad themes of life, death, and growing up, sacrifices and unconditional love.  Toy Story 3 resonates with everyone.

Did my wife watch/like it?

This is one of her faves.  It was also refreshing that my whole family could watch a film on this list.

Would I watch it again?

Sure. It’s a bit heavy at times, but still entertaining.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

I’m certain almost everyone I know has seen this film. And for those who haven’t, of course you’re missing out.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

What surprised me about this film was how easily it stands on its own despite being a part of a series. Not everyone has seen all of the Toy Story movies, and they’re far enough apart to suggest that another generation might be seeing this for the first time.  It appears Pixar nonetheless featured elements to cater to the older audience that have followed Woody and Buzz through the years. It’s hard to do both without being cheesy or generalizing. Like in many of the animated features on the list, the film utilizes “camera angles” to create tension, scenery, and perspective. Again, this is difficult, and proves that Pixar is not some machine that churns out consumable films for the masses, but takes serious consideration to their approach in filmmaking.

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