I WAS four years old when I first watched the original Toy Story, and I was blown away by how real everything looked. Ever since then, my VHS was almost broken since I must have watched it a million times. Same went for Toy Story 2, and I was impressed with both animation and storytelling. The series is definitely a classic, still enjoyable even when one grows up.
When I heard that they were making a third Toy Story, I was excited and somehow nervous. I was excited because it was a moment of revisiting my childhood, and the fact that I waited eleven years for that. However, I was nervous because most threequels are huge disappointments, with the exception of “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings.” The originals are, and will always be, the best part of the series, and sequels and threequels will always be just the studios’ schemes of earning more money.
Fortunately, Toy Story 3 did not disappoint, and I’m adding it to my list of the Best Movie Threequels Ever.
If you recall, Toy Story 2 reminds its audience of the fragility of the relationship between a kid and a toy. When Jesse told Woody that her previous owner grew up and abandoned her, Woody realized that day is coming for him as well. That day comes in Toy Story 3.
The movie starts with a home montage, showing Andy throughout the years playing with his toys, until he reaches the age of 17, and ready for college. While Woody, Buzz, Rex, the Potato Heads, Jesse, Hamm, Slinky, and Bullseye are around, other toys weren’t so lucky. Some were sold, donated, or thrown away.
Since Andy has grown up, the toys are desperate to be played with again. Before they can be placed in the attic, however, they are accidentally donated to Sunnyside Daycare.
At Sunnyside Daycare, they meet new toys who have also been donated by their previous owners. The head is Lotso, a hugging bear, who tells them that in the daycare, the kids never outgrow the toys because once they grow up, new kids come in. Also introduced in the film are a creepy big baby and Ken, who is more effeminate than Barbie.
At first, the toys love the idea, but they learn the dark side of daycare. Not only are the toddlers abusive to toys (although that part was funny), but Lotso runs the daycare like a prison. Woody manages to escape and, while he does find a new owner, he goes back to save the others.
The movie has everything: action, humor and romance. But what made it for me was the amount of heart that it had. No spoilers here, but there’s a moment towards the end that shows how much the toys really love each other and how far they are willing to go in order to stay together.
Also, the end brings all three movies full circle. I won’t spoil how, but it had so much emotion. What makes “Toy Story” films so compelling to me is that they perfectly nail the cycle of childhood. We see just how deep our bond with toys runs and how we can care about plastic objects just as much as we do to people because toys are our first friends.
The other thing that made these movies work is that they conveyed that toys feel the same way about us as we do to them, more so in fact. Toys don’t get older and that’s their curse. They have to see us get older, and “Toy Story 3” reveals how painful yet satisfying that moment can be.