Best Picture Nominee Review: Toy Story 3
With Toy Story 3 we have this decade's Return of the King and we are only one year into it. Toy Story 3 is a more than satisfying conclusion to one of the best trilogies in film history. The film is also (and frequently brought up by anyone who sees the film) a very emotional one. There is an article out on the web that makes silly titles on posters for all of the Best Picture nominees. The title for Toy Story 3 on the poster was "You Will Cry", and it is so true. The film is just so good (from the voice work all the way to Lee Unkrich's superb directing).
Toy Story 3 picks up with Andy getting ready to leave for college. The toys become very nervous that they are going to be left in the attic (or even worse thrown out). The adventure picks up when Woody has to rescue the toys, at first, from the garbage truck and, then, from a day care center run by some too-good-to-be-true toys.
Lee Unkrich, as mentioned above, is the film's director and the screenplay is from the Pixar regulars with help from Academy Award winner Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine). Both the direction and screenwriting is some of the best work in any film this year. The screenplay creates a perfect conclusion to the series. However, this is not the only trick it has up its sleeve. The screenplay (with ease) creates a perfect balance between thrilling action scenes, dramatic moments, and laugh out loud comedic scenes. It somehow is able to combine so many genres in one film without feeling like it has gone overboard. This, however, cannot be credited to the writers alone. Lee Unkrich is just as integral to the success of everything this film does. I have for a long time said that animated film directors should not be taken seriously as they don't have to put in as much work as live-action directors (A thinking I now realize to be very naive). Lee Unkrich not only created an amazing film but pulled off the difficult task of changing my mind on animated film directors. Lee Unkrich was definitely deserving of an Oscar nomination for directing. He took the challenge of filming the last movie in a much beloved series (that is a huge responsibility and he would have assuredly received a lot of ill will if he messed up the ending) and succeeded.
The voice work (as in any Pixar film) is phenomenal. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen continue their iconic work as Woody and Buzz. Great work is done from the entire cast (including Jodi Benson as Barbie), but the true standout is Michael Keaton in a hilarious role as a Ken doll. His voice work steals every scene he is in and he is completely unrecognizable.
Behind the camera aspects are top notch too. The sound design and editing is good, maybe not as good as the stellar work done in How to Train Your Dragon (the other big animated film from this year), but still good. Randy Newman, as usual, as at the top of his game when it comes to the score. His original song for this film "We Belong Together" is a little too simplistic to be completely enjoyable (and is definitely not in the same category of greatness as his songs from the first film). The animated art direction is also pretty effective for an animated film. Scenes in a junkyard are some of the most memorable scenes in the film (and some of that has to do with the setting). The editing and cinematography are also phenomenal (especially during the opening action sequence). I saw the film in 3-D and while it wasn't anything revolutionary it was still worth the few extra bucks for the upgrade.
Toy Story 3 solidifies the Toy Story franchise as one of the greatest in film history. Hopefully, future generations are able to appreciate this film as we do now as it deserves to be.
This film has been nominated for 5 Academy Awards including:
-Best Adapted Screenplay
-Best Animated Film
-Best Original Song-"We Belong Together"
-Best Sound Editing
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