All good things must come to end, as we sadly come to the last tale of this incredible trilogy in Toy Story 3 3D. Saving the best for last is definitely true in this case, as Pixar really goes all out to make this the most memorable in the trilogy. Most of the gang returns for the final entry as Andy, having grown into a young man over the years, is now heading off to college and will be leaving many of his toys behind. After a mishap causes our heroes to be sent off to Sunnyside Day Care (a metaphor for nursing homes), they’re welcomed with open arms (and other parts) by what appears to be a group of happy new toys, led by the cool southerly gentleman teddy Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear (played to perfection by Ned Beatty). Even Barbie seems to have found her plastic soul mate in the preening Ken (Michael Keaton), and all seems right as they settle into their new lives in toy retirement paradise.
Lotso may smell like strawberries, but the gang smells something else entirely. When recess ends, the real horror begins, as the group faces unimaginable torture at the sticky hands of age-inappropriate toddlers, and decide to bust out of Sunnyside. Only they’ve got to decide whether to return to the uncertainty of Andy’s place, or finding a new owner. This leads to their most action-packed adventure yet, with circumstances and events that have Pixar pushing the boundaries of animation once more, as well as your tear ducts in an emotional roller coaster ride you’ll never want to forget.
As the first natively 3D entry in the series, there are fewer surprises here with the technology, but the power of Blu-ray lets you enjoy one of the very best films in recent memory over and over in perfect high-definition. As with the previous entries, Disney has done a remarkable job with the transfer of the film to Blu-ray. Little details spring to wonderful life here, from the realistic skin on Andy (and his mom and sister), to being to see every little piece of junk at the climatic incinerator scene, all of which looks spectacular. And the 3D effect serves to make all those details even better, as it helps make things seem more vivid and emotional, such as when Buzz reaches out to Woody in the incinerator scene.
The effect is really used well to enhance the film overall, which is what I feel 3D should always be about instead of gimmicky effects. Of course the sound goes out with a bang as well, with the third movie featuring 7.1 DTS-HD audio, which makes sure that every word, musical note, and sound effect comes through with beautiful clarity.
There’s so many HD special features here that I can only list the standout ones. “Cine-Explore” allows viewers to watch some interesting picture-in-picture commentary with director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson. Once again, you can really feel the love they put into making the movie while discussing how it in fantastic detail. “Goodbye Andy” shows how Pixar was able to create more realistic humans for this movie while also giving some insight about how Andy handles his decision with the toys at the end of the film. “Roundin’ up a Western Opening” has Lee Unkrich go into detail about the fun opening at the beginning of the movie and how it was created , even showing an alternate version that’s presented in storyboard form. And “Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion” features screenwriter Michael Arndt discussing how difficult it was to begin writing the script, while also sharing how he came to make such a amazing story.
Buzz finally wraps up his educational space adventure series from the previous 3D Blu-ray entries with “Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure”. The wonderful “Day and Night” short that was shown before the movie in theaters is also included, along with some fun stories of the Pixar gang doing all sorts of fun stuff at their office, other small featurettes, and more.
Pixar really did save the best for last with Toy Story 3, which closes out the story in a phenomenal sequel that lives up to the staggering quality set by the previous two films, and makes a great argument for being the best movie trilogy ever made. Woody, Buzz, and most of the gang return in their greatest adventure of all as they face love, loss, and abandonment in one of the most compelling and boundary-pushing animated features ever created, one that’ll have you reaching for the tissues and your heart soaring as the credits roll past. Featuring a great cast, an even greater story, wonderful music, and some of the best use of 3D yet, fans will have already picked this up by now, but for those who’ve yet to experience the Toy Story Saga, do yourself a favor and add this wonderful series to your collection. You’ll be glad you did, and will definitely have a friend in this great film series.
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Walt Disney Video