Drawn That Way:
Toy Story 3
By Daniel Pellegrino
June 23, 2010
Brilliant. Toy Story 3 was, for me, perfection. The characters were first introduced to me when I was ten-years-old. I got a Buzz Lightyear action figure that Christmas. Years later, Toy Story 2 was released in theaters. It came at a time when I thought I was "too cool" to see a Disney film in theaters. It was 1999 and Disney had been churning out less-than-stellar animated films. Why would I want to see something from the studio that had just released Hercules (a film I grew to appreciate more and more over the years)? I skipped Toy Story 2 in theaters and caught it when it was finally released on video. I was moved. The second film made me appreciate the first one even more. My love of Buzz and Woody grew stronger and the addition of Jessie and Bullseye was pitch-perfect. The sequel did everything a sequel should do, because of Pixar. The studio knows how to make a movie. Every single one of their films is better than 90% of everything else that is released - animated or live-action. Rats, robots, fish, monsters, bugs, cars, old men - all of these nouns were constructed into perfect films by the Pixar studio. Enthusiasts were rightfully worried in 2004 when Disney decided to go ahead with Toy Story 3 without Pixar involvement.
Jim Herzfeld originally wrote Toy Story 3. His story found the toys traveling to Taiwan in search of a recently recalled Buzz Lightyear. His film was never made under the newly formed Circle 7 Animation. If it would have happened, I picture the film involving Miley Cyrus as a promiscuous dolly, Selena Gomez as some sort of Spanish-English hybrid toy, and Vanessa Hudgens probably would have sang the inevitable end credits pop song just as newly-released nude photos showed her in an uncompromising position with current beau, Zac Efron (whose facial features are more girlish and delicate than any of the dolls in the Toy Story franchise, but I digress). Fortunately, Pixar reached a deal with Disney and scrapped the original project in favor of a new story.
The new story, written by Michael Arndt and directed by Lee Unkrich, tells the tale of our favorite toys dealing with their owner, Andy, going off to college. The movie starts in a familiar place. The opening sequence is delightful, and an homage to the second film's opening sequence in Buzz Lightyear-land. Fans will notice that many of the toys from the original are no longer a part of Andy’s life. RC, Bo Peep and Wheezy have found new homes. The only toys left are Buzz, Woody, Jessie, Bullseye, Rex, Hamm, The Potato Heads, Slinky Dog and the Aliens. The core group has become family and we see them truly embrace this bond throughout the film.
The film kicks into high gear as the toys are transferred to Sunnyside Daycare. Here we are introduced to a slew of new characters to the franchise. Lotso, Stretch, Baby and a perhaps closeted Ken doll are all welcome additions. It’s amazing how the creators have managed to incorporate every major toy archetype throughout the franchise. No matter how old you are, you will recognize a similar toy from your childhood. This is what makes the emotional material resonate so well with people of all ages.