‘Toy Story 3’ Director Tweets Poignant Moment From the Film Ahead of 10th Anniversary

When trying to think of movies with themes similar to that of what’s occurring in the world today, a Disney animated film likely isn’t at the top of the list. But as the director of Toy Story 3 points out, this decade-old tale isn’t just for kids. Here’s what he shared.

‘Toy Story 3’ came out 10 years ago

Following the success of the first two ’90s films, it took many years for the third installment in the Toy Story franchise to debut. It finally did on June 18, 2010. Given this time span, it only made sense for the story to take place many years down the road, as the owner of the toys, Andy, prepares to go off to college, planning to only take his beloved Woody with him.

This leaves Buzz, Jessie, and the rest of the group alone. They find themselves becoming the property of a daycare center, where they meet Lotso, a bear toy with very definitive ideas. After Woody learns what Lotso is really up to, it’s up to him to help rescue the rest of Andy’s toys. In the end, they get a new owner, Bonnie.

It dealt with more adult themes than the previous films

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Toy Story and Toy Story 2 had plenty of moments that were more for the adults than the children. This is a common theme among Pixar movies and animated films as a whole. But Toy Story 3 took it to another level. In fact, some found parts of it to be too dark for young kids, specifically when the toys are headed for the incinerator.

While the movie received high praise from critics, what many commented on most was how emotional the story was. The idea of the toys moving onto the next generation parallels how the audience of the first two films are now grown up, and sharing the joy of the franchise with a younger crowd.

Director Lee Unkrich tweets this quote in 2020

Nine years later, Toy Story 4 was released, seemingly completing the franchise. But a year after that, and few are focused on movie theaters. Instead, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the protests following the death of George Floyd, we are forced to turn to old media for comfort and advice.

Lee Unkrich, who direct Toy Story 3, had the perfect quote for the moment. In the film, after Jessie calls Lotso “a liar and a bully,” Barbie tells the perceived dictator, “Jessie’s right! Authority should derive from the consent of the governed, not from the threat of force.” This message lines up nicely with the current fight against police brutality.

What else has Unkrich directed?

Lee Unkrich with the Best Animated Feature award, received for 'Toy Story 3,' at the 83rd Academy Awards
Lee Unkrich with the Best Animated Feature award, received for ‘Toy Story 3,’ at the 83rd Academy Awards | Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images

According to IMDb, Unkrich got his start as an editor. He joined Pixar with its first film, Toy Story, in 1995. He then added on co-directing duties for the next installment in the franchise, before making his solo directorial debut with Toy Story 3. This earned him an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Unkrich also directed the Oscar-winning movie Coco. Over the years, he worked on other Pixar films in various capacities, including A Bug’s LifeCars, and Monster’s Inc. He left the studio in early 2019, writing on Twitter, “I look forward to spending much-needed time with my family and pursuing interests that have long been back-burnered.”