“Toy Story 3” Is Lotso Good

by Nicholas Robinson

Andy (John Morris) is now 17 and ready to head off to college, leaving Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and the rest of the toy-box gang to ponder their uncertain futures. When the toys are accidentally donated to the Sunnyside Daycare center they’re initially overjoyed to once again be played with, but their enthusiasm quickly gives way to horror as they discover the true nature of the establishment under the rule of the deceptively welcoming “Lotso” Bear (Ned Beatty). Now, all of the toys must band together in one final, crazy scheme to escape their confines and return home to Andy. – IMDB.com

I have been a Pixar fan ever since I saw the first movie in this trilogy when I was very young (like 5) and two years ago I thought that they could not do any better than Wall-E, where they portrayed a beautiful love story using no more than 5 different lines of dialogue for the first hour of the movie.  That is still true but now…there is a tie.  This movie is a wonderful sequel to the film that made me fall in love with Pixar so many years ago.  I say this because (unless the trilogy is planned from the get go, e.g. Star Wars episodes IV, V and VI) a sequel should be able to stand on its own meaning that if someone had never seen the previous movie(s) they should be able to not only understand what is going on, get the jokes and enjoy the movie and this movie does that perfectly.

At the start of the movie is around a 3-5 minute scene of playtime with Andy after the second movie (I assume as Jesse was involved) and shows you how much fun he had involving all of his toys in a fantasy that only a child could imagine.  This scene then fades out to the present where we see the lengths that the toys have to go through just to get Andy to open his toy chest which shows the contrast that sets the tone of the entire movie and also makes us wonder how our old toys must have felt when we threw them out/neglected them/put them in the attic.

The entire tone of the movie is one of sadness, desperation and doubt which is portrayed so well not only by the script and the cinematography but by the acting.  Even though this is voice acting, it is just as difficult or even harder to show emotion as in a live-action film and the entire cast does wonderfully in this regard.  Tim Allen shows the transformation from his original Buzz Lightyear that was full of energy and (yes I will say it) happiness to the one that gets neglected and then donated which was sad, disappointed but still trying to show his tough exterior.  Joan Cusack also did something similar with Jesse and also did well with it.  I have to say however that the best vocal performance was given by Ned Beatty as Lotso.  He reminded me of all of those gangsters you see in film that act like they’re doing you a favour but really are doing themselves one.  Also, throughout the entire movie you could hear the bitterness in his voice (it’s explained in the movie which I slightly chuckled at because it was similar to the 1st Toy Story) even though it is hard to notice when he’s trying to be nice it’s still there which is what I really liked about Ned Beatty’s performance

The final thing I would like to talk about this movie is the score.  Unlike the first two movies that had a happy and hopeful score and songs (like You’ve Got A Friend In Me), this one goes in a completely different direction.  It is very subtle except for certain scenes but when it isn’t it is generally sad and ominous.  My favourite part of the score is in a scene towards the end involving a fast moving machine and the score sounds very mechanic (kind of like the Terminator score) and also depressing.  Near the end (which I thought was very beautiful) the score gets happier and more beautiful which was very nice and I really liked it.

Overall, this was a beautifully wonderful sequel to a wonderful movie that everyone should watch whether your 8 or 80.

IMDB says 8.7/10

RT says 99%

I say 10/10


~ by sputnikreviews on March 31, 2011.

2 Responses to ““Toy Story 3” Is Lotso Good”

  1. I never thought about how important it is to see the first or second movies to be able to appreciate this 3rd installment until you mentioned it, but you’re right. I took it for granted since I’ve seen both preceding movies. I appreciate this one as a goodbye, but it was too sad and scary for my taste. The realism is inappropriate for children and I wish there would have been more big laughs. I rented it and after my kids watched it 4 times in 24 hours I still didn’t change my mind. *Edited by moderator*

  2. First let me say: Toy Story 3 is another Pixar masterpiece and the perfect way to close a franchise started in 1995. Randy Newman’s “You’ve got a friend in me” warms the heart today as it first did 15 years ago.

    Now with that out of the way let me call attention to the films lead-in…

    Pixar continues another tradition here with is the animated short that precedes the feature (like Luxo Jr. where the Studio’s logo comes from). Toy Story 3’s short is called “Day & Night” and raises the bar for future Pixar shorts and will likely get many Academy nomination for it’s efforts. I think the 3-D may work more effectively with the short than the sequel itself. “Day & Night” is more complicated a concept than you’d expect considering it involves two mute characters struggling to coexist. One character consists, literally of daytime images while his counterpart is made of night images. Although the two characters are little more than retro-cartoon silhouettes, they are filled with complex animated scenes within their own animation. They shift positions and move around one another creating some fascinating visuals for us. Equally simple is it’s message for folks to overcome their fear of the differences in others and the unknown. Day & Night is simply the best short I’ve seen from Pixar to date

    Now with that out of the way, Toy Story 3 reunites us with old friends: Woody, Buzz, Jesse, Hamm, Rex, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, each voiced by their original actors (except the late Jim Varney). Surprisingly, the Toys owner Andy, now grown up and ready to start college is still voiced by the same actor John Morris (who started at around 11 in the first film). It seems the concept of toys coming to life when people aren’t look would become tired after 2 films, but I have to say that is not the case here. After a super opening sequence, an homage to Woody’s opening adventure in the original film, the toys end up at Daycare run like a prison by a naughty Teddy Bear (voiced by Ned Beatty). Naturally the Toys want to escape; the break-out plan doesn’t go quite as planned by makes for some funny tributes to the prison movie genre (including a harmonica playin’ Hamm). More classic toys turn up like the old Fisher-Price rolling phone and cymbal-monkey as an ever watchful prison guard. Barbie’s Ken even turns up voiced gloriously campy by Michael Keaton, definitely emerging as the film’s breakout toy characterization. The visuals are more amazing than ever, the humans look so much better than the original, it may become difficult to watch those older sequences after seeing “3.” Lot’s of details sweep across the screen with everything from the Pizza Planet ” Yo” truck, to all the texture of Ken’s extensively stocked accessory collection (Groovy). But technical strides aside, on an emotional level the movie, like those before it, generate plenty of concern for the wellbeing of these CGI toys, again. I would go as far to say if you are not touched by the final moments of the film and Andy’s goodbye, then you may want to get to a cardiologist and get yourself checked out!

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