I don’t like numerical ratings. I don’t like grades or ranked lists,
either. This is because I feel that complex opinions can’t accurately be
boiled down to a simple number and I’m not comfortable with the idea of
enjoyment as a thing that can be quantified. But in the case of Toy
Story 3
, I’m making an exception. I’m giving this movie 10/10, five
stars, an A+ or whatever you prefer. It’s an exemplary movie by any

Just take the opening scene, for example. Imagine that you have a box
full of all the toys from the Toy Story movies. If you had given this
box to a five-year-old boy who somehow had no prior knowledge of the
movies, it would look exactly like the opening scene of Toy Story 3. It
is such a beautiful mash-up of color, energy and nostalgia that the
opening scene could have stood on its own as a short film. Except that
unlike the opening of Up — which was more or less a short film
itself, with a distinct beginning, middle and end — the opening of Toy
Story 3
effectively segues into the rest of the movie. Thus,
instead of being divided into two separate movies (as I felt Up
was), the entire movie feels like a single and unified whole.

Next, we get a montage of Andy growing up. This is where I became
grateful that I didn’t go back and rewatch the previous movies before
seeing this one. During this segment, I actually started to feel like I
had visited Andy’s house and sat down to watch some of his family’s old
home movies. It felt like I was seeing an old friend and catching up
with him for the first time in so many years. Again, it’s a wonderful
feeling of nostalgia. It also helps that Pixar didn’t make Andy grow up
into some stereotype. He’s not a jock or a geek or a goth, but a normal,
down-to-earth and relatable guy going through a tough change in his
life. And he’s not the only one.

Change is a theme that runs constant in this movie. All of the toys
— most especially the ever-loyal Woody — are forced with the choice of
either holding onto what they have as it slowly deteriorates or taking a
risk and moving on to something else. Mortality is another theme. It
was touched on in Toy Story 2, but it takes front and center this
time around. There is, in fact, a character who’s completely succumbed
to nihilism upon the realization that they are, in fact, pieces of
plastic that were made to be mass-produced and disposable. This is just
one of many subplots, themes and running jokes introduced in the last
two movies that get wonderful capstones here. It gives the impression
that Pixar intended to make a trilogy all along, and I can give no
higher praise than that to any sequel.

I sat through the entire movie in awe of the animation. I know it
seems like a petty thing to be taken for granted in this movie, but I
loved how the toys in this film moved like toys! For example, there was a
particular scene where Woody uses a toilet lever as a stepping stone,
but the toilet doesn’t flush. “Of course it doesn’t,” I thought. “He
can’t weigh more than a few ounces!” Woody also runs and jumps in a
strange way, as if he doesn’t have any limbs. As well he should, since
he doesn’t. On a similar note, Barbie and Ken (who deserve their own
spin-off movie, by the way) tended to have more rigid movements that I
found very satisfying.

As to the 3D, I’ve got three words: Day and Night. The opening
short preceding Toy Story 3 is an example of exactly what can be
done when 3D is used as a vital storytelling mechanic instead of a neat
gimmick. I would not ever want to see this short in 2D, the third
dimension was that vital to the presentation. As for the 3D in Toy
Story 3
, I’d put it on par with Up. Make of that what you
will, but I’d still recommend paying that extra bit to see the opening
short in 3D. Trust me, it’s worth it.

The screenplay and direction are both phenomenal. This film has the
pacing and constant forward motion of a bullet train. Every scene is
vital and there’s scarcely a line or action wasted. The set-ups are
masterfully used in their varying degrees of subtlety and the pay-offs
are always satisfying. There are also quite a few scary moments to be
found here. In fact, there was a point during the climax when I thought
that I must have somehow fallen asleep and started having a nightmare.
But these seemingly insurmountable odds are always overcome in some
brilliant and clever way. In fact, I’d say that “clever” is a good word
to describe the entire movie.

There are a few plot holes and clunky jokes, but these are nitpicks
barely worth mentioning. If the kids in my audience hadn’t constantly
been asking questions, I wouldn’t have noticed them myself. There’s
nothing in here to break suspension of disbelief, but then again, we’re
dealing with a movie in which toys are alive.

Special attention must be given to the ending. Anyone who doesn’t get
the slightest bit choked up by that ending… well, there’s no point in
telling them to go to hell, because they don’t have any souls. Sure,
Pixar could make a fourth Toy Story movie with this ending, but why
would they want to? At best, we’d be seeing them on adventures less than
or identical to the ones already taken and at worst, we’d be following
them on that inevitable trip to the furnace. This franchise ended
exactly the way it had to: With our main characters intact, together and
with someone to love them.

Of all the wonderful accomplishments made by Pixar, this movie firmly
establishes the Toy Story trilogy as their crown jewel. The third movie
alone is of a quality that studios the world over
(*coughDreamworkscough*) would go bankrupt to achieve. This film is a
masterpiece and the trilogy will be children’s classics for decades to
come. I raise my glass to Pixar. I drink to Andy and all his wonderful
toys. Happy trails always to Woody, Buzz, Rex, Hamm, Jessie and all the
rest, as well as the voice actors, writers and animators who gave them