Never too old for one more "story"

June 23, 2010, 8:58 p.m. | By Valerie Hu | 12 years, 9 months ago

"Toy Story's" third installment is an emotional adventure worth taking again and again

Over the past 15 years, viewers of all ages have immersed themselves in the miniature yet complex world of toys as seen in Disney Pixar's "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2." With plenty of new characters, music and unexpected twists this time around, "Toy Story 3" is sure to take audiences on an exhilarating adventure to infinity and beyond.

The third installment of the "Toy Story" series tells the bittersweet tale of the famous toys parting with their college-bound owner Andy (John Morris); it's been years since Andy has played with the toys. Now that Andy's off to college, the lanky sheriff cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks), space ranger Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), cowgirl Jessie (Joan Cusack) and the rest of the gang take on a new mission at Sunnyside Daycare Center to prove they're still worth being loved. But unfortunate encounters with the malicious Lotso, a fluffy, pink, strawberry-scented bear (Ned Beatty), the bear's deceiving minions and vicious toddlers at Sunnyside force the toys to escape the daycare turned prison.

Some changes in this chapter of the trilogy are visually evident. With more technological advancements available to the animators, Woody and Buzz's faces have surely evolved into their iconic 21st century forms. Greater depth and intricate details in the characters' faces also give them human-like characteristics that make their actions seem more lifelike.

The characters could not seem realistic without the all-star comedic cast behind the loveable toys. Hanks, Allen and Cusack reprise their roles as the loveable Woody, Buzz and Jessie; Hanks's and Allen's stellar performances during Woody and Buzz's goodbyes and reunions make "Toy Story 3" an emotional roller coaster. Their voices bring life to these animated characters with soft, reassuring tones of kindness and warmth. Newcomer Ned Beatty's voice is deep with a touch of sinister, perfect for the devious role of Lotso.

Characters that viewers are already familiar with still hold places in the audience's hearts, but new characters as cruel as Lotso are sure to win moviegoers over with their powerful, villainous qualities. Even minor characters such as Barbie (Jodie Benson) provide refreshing comic relief and are well-developed. Though initially hilariously vapid, Barbie falls out of the ditzy blonde stereotype when she assists the rest of the toys in their escape from Sunnyside.

Aside from the characters, the rapid movement of the camera and its seamless transitions from scene to scene establish an upbeat mood throughout the entire movie. The quick camera movement allows audiences to actively follow along on the toys' adventures. The camera's zooms emphasize the minute, human-like world that Woody and the toys live in, while showing each gloomy, jubilant and angry reaction the toys have. While swift zooms and cuts keep the lively feel of the film going, slow pans allow the audience to admire the toys' tiny sizes in comparison to the vast dimensions of their surroundings.

Another remarkable element of the movie is its soundtrack. Whether the scene is lively or dismal, composer Randy Newman does a superb job in complementing the toys' actions with the appropriate music. Triumphant anthems often feature strong instrumental sounds including flutes, trumpets, trombones and strings that bring glorious sounds to victorious scenes. Variations of the familiar "You've Got a Friend in Me" bring nostalgia to some of the most sentimental moments of the story.

"Toy Story 3" has something for everyone – from humor to adventure to hero and villain rivalry to forbidden romance. "Toy Story 3" is sure to bring tears to the audience and reveal the inner kid in all of its viewers.

"Toy Story 3" is rated G for all audiences and is now playing in theaters everywhere.

Valerie Hu. Valerie Hu loves pasta, beaches and laughing with friends. She draws inspiration from traveling, whether she is in Paris or in Disney World. Like the blog, she appreciates the little things in life. She aspires to one day receive as many candy canes as Glen … More »

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