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Toy Story 3
2010 Disney

2012 Intrada

Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:
Randy Newman

Additional Music and Co-Orchestrated by:
Don Davis
Jonathan Sacks

Additional Music by:
Bruno Coon

Labels and Dates:
Walt Disney Records
(June 15th, 2010)

Walt Disney Records/
Intrada Records
(January 23rd, 2012)

Also See:
Toy Story
Toy Story 2

Audio Clips:
3. Cowboy! (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

7. Come to Papa (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

14. The Claw (0:29):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

16. So Long (0:32):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

The original 2010 Disney album was a digital download release only. The 2011 Disney/Intrada CD (identical to the 2010 download-only contents) initially retailed for $20 and is limited to 10,000 copies.

  The score won a Grammy Award. The song "We Belong Together" won an Academy Award.

Toy Story 3
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Sales Rank: 78454

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Buy it... if you have always appreciated the hyperactive action romps and funny regional references that Randy Newman provided for the first two films in this franchise, a combined technique that dominates the third entry as well.

Avoid it... if, conversely, you've been bothered by Newman's total inability to assign the concept some memorable thematic attribution in his scores, because Toy Story 3 is, despite its predictable affability, another disappointingly anonymous work.

Toy Story 3: (Randy Newman/Various) Years of studio upheaval delayed the third film in the Toy Story franchise until Walt Disney Studios bought Pixar in 2006, finally opening the door for the production to commence fully. Instead of keeping the plot of the new film rooted in the era of the original story, the heads of Disney and Pixar decided to age the characters in the lengthy time that had elapsed since Toy Story 2 debuted in 1999. Thus, the plot is one of relative melancholy, depicting a grown up Andy ready to move out to college and his famed toys with an uncertain future. Instead of going to the attic for storage, they accidentally end up in a daycare named Sunnyside and run by a tyrannical toy bear. It's a place of torture for old toys, essentially, and Woody and Buzz Lightyear have to find a way out of Sunnyside and back to Andy house. The majority of the plot consists of one long chase for redemption and love, though the appeal of Toy Story 3 is its incredibly sentimental conclusion. Despite some pushback from critics on the tear-jerking conclusion, the film enjoyed overwhelmingly positive reviews and nearly earned back its $190 million budget in just a week of theatrical distribution. A familiar cast and crew graces Toy Story 3, including Randy Newman as the irreplaceable musical voice of the franchise. It was Toy Story that really launched Newman into a notable place in animation history, his many subsequent scores for Disney and Pixar lending his unique touch of jazz and orchestral mayhem to the genre. Although he still occasionally writes music for animated movies, Newman has arguably past his time of prime exposure in this arena. Still, there is no doubt that continuity is an invaluable asset to any franchise, even one without a constant thematic tapestry as this one. The music that Newman has written for the concept, outside of the favorite song "You've Got a Friend in Me" from the original, has always been appropriate but anonymous, failing to really establish a strong narrative flow or maintain readily identifiable motifs for characters and concepts. It is because of this failure to nurture an identity in the music outside of its general instrumental style that the Toy Story scores have always been average listening experiences at best on album. That trend is sadly reinforced by Toy Story 3, regardless of the fact that the score won a Grammy Award. The style of the score for Toy Story was a hyper-active combination of Carl Stalling music for Warner Brothers cartoons, vintage jazz, and a touch of ragtime. The second film built upon that foundation and added throwback science-fiction and Western mannerisms.

For Toy Story 3, Newman (with three co-writers) loses the sci-fi, jazz, and ragtime elements and merges the slapstick cartoon material and Western homages with a dose of slight bayou blues, Mediterranean mafia stereotypes, electric guitar rock, vague Parisian romance, and Latin rhythms and acoustic guitar flourishes. Most notably, though, Toy Story 3 is defined by its plentitude of rowdy action sequences of straight orchestral bombast (albeit the somewhat light-handed sort that Newman creates to emulate the Stalling sound). Listeners who enjoyed Newman's take on that classic cartoon sound in the previous scores will appreciate the 20+ minutes of similar material here. It seems frightfully generic, however, and only in the final two cues does the score truly exhibit the heart that occasionally stole the spotlight in the franchise's previous soundtracks. The tender piano and string performances in "So Long" are as subdued and introspective as Newman can seemingly be in this context, yielding a surprisingly lovely and engaging moment. Unfortunately, Toy Story 3 continues to suffer from thematic ambiguity all the way to the end. The sleazy half-blues/half-Mediterranean material for the villain of the daycare clearly occupies the mid-section of the score, and the sentimental theme at the end is unmistakable. But as with the other two scores, the franchise's primary identity, "You've Got a Friend in Me," is all but forgotten. Slight references, such as the brief optimism at the outset of "Going Home," are simply not enough. Thankfully, unlike Toy Story 2, Newman does provide a new song with his own voice, though the melody of the rather bland, vintage, rock-influenced "We Belong Together" does not convincingly anchor the score. Also a nagging difficulty with these scores is the collection of references to mannerisms of other composers, whether it be Ennio Morricone and Marc Shaiman's Western styles or James Horner's solemn piano work. Ultimately, Toy Story 3 is an effective score but by no means memorable. Don't expect it to conclude with a positively rousing, upbeat send-off to infinity and beyond. It's nice to hear this franchise reach its conclusion with Newman's music, but these scores were never that cohesive to begin with. Disney opted initially not to press a song and score album on CD (the two songs, Newman's "We Belong Together" and a Spanish rendition of "You've Got a Friend in Me" by Gipsy Kings, were put on a six-song CD with the other films' songs, sans the original "You've Got a Friend in Me," a stunningly irritating marketing ploy), instead offering over 50 minutes of it for download. As with Up, however, Intrada Records pressed a CD of identical contents a few years later. Both products are simply too long of a presentation for this harmlessly generic score, regardless of Newman's stature and the affable nature of the music. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Randy Newman reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.06 (in 18 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.04 (in 21,269 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.01 Stars
Smart Average: 3 Stars*
***** 146 
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    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Alternative review at
  Southall -- 1/28/12 (8:39 a.m.)
   Download for the win...?
  Patrick Reichel -- 6/29/10 (7:54 a.m.)
   Mixing could have been better.
  hewhomustnotbenamed -- 6/25/10 (5:32 a.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings (All Albums): Total Time: 56:23

• 1. We Belong Together - performed by Randy Newman (4:04)
• 2. You've Got a Friend in Me (Para el Buzz Espanol) - performed by Gipsy Kings (2:15)
• 3. Cowboy! (4:11)
• 4. Garbage? (2:41)
• 5. Sunnyside (2:20)
• 6. Woody Bails (4:40)
• 7. Come to Papa (2:06)
• 8. Go See Lotso (3:37)
• 9. Bad Buzz (2:22)
• 10. You Got Lucky (5:59)
• 11. Spanish Buzz (3:31)
• 12. What About Daisy? (2:07)
• 13. To the Dump (3:51)
• 14. The Claw (3:57)
• 15. Going Home (3:22)
• 16. So Long (4:55)
• 17. Zu-Zu (Ken's Theme) (0:35)

 Notes and Quotes:  

There exists no formal packaging for the 2010 release. The insert of the 2012 Intrada album includes notes from the director and composer, a list of performers, and outstanding photography from the recording sessions.

  All artwork and sound clips from Toy Story 3 are Copyright © 2010, 2012, Walt Disney Records, Walt Disney Records/Intrada Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/23/10 and last updated 1/27/12. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2010-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.