Review: Toy Story 3

We don’t do many movie reviews here at CrunchGear, mostly because we’re into gadgets and movies are, in a way, the anti-thesis of the physical. Semantics aside, Toy Story 3 was great.

The story is simple: Andy, the toys’ owner, is leaving for college. His toys, resigning themselves to a life in the attic, prep themselves for the coming change but, instead of the must and heat of the rafters, they end up in a garbage truck. Only Woody is going with Andy to college, and when he sees his friends in danger he runs to save them.

The tale winds through a day care center overrun by misfit toys, the home of a little girl who owns a gruff toy unicorn and a sad clown, and then to the very maw of heck itself – the incinerator at the city dump. All of this is tinged with the sadness of growing up and leaving behind things you loved as well as hope for better things to come.

We saw the movie in 3D on a IMAX screen. It’s a great way to watch a flick, to be sure, and the 3D was so unobtrusive as to be invisible. The 3D made the movie better and instead of cheap shots of stuff “coming ‘atcha,” you saw real toys in real situations. It was, at times, glorious.

Each movie Pixar makes pushes the state of the art further. In this movie, they simulate the motion of millions of pieces of chopped garbage, no mean feat. I can only imagine the render farms for this film. These CG animated movies are, in a sense, a genre into themselves and should be compared to each other in this way. Nothing in this movie is quite as poignant as some of the scenes in Wall-E or Up, but all of this movie was better than any of the other yuck-fests out there, excepting, perhaps, the first Shrek and Kung-Fu Panda.

As for age appropriateness, I’d say kids over four or so – or mature toddlers – can handle most of the themes and situations. The final scene is particularly scary and brings up a number of metaphysical questions about existence and death that parents may not be ready to explore. My own four-year-old son asked “What that big fire thing was in the end” and I explained it to him in terms of Dantean visions of Hellfire through the ages and the banality of existence when compared to the horrors that await us in the holocaust of endless entropy.

Just kidding. I told him it was a place where they burn trash.

Toy Story 3 is a quieter movie with a dark streak running through it. Adults will catch this dark streak and tear up at Andy’s departure and at the anger of some of the abandoned toys. Kids will love it for the adventure that the earlier movies lacked. In all, it’s a summer movie worth taking in at least once.