The lists of sequels that are better than the original movie is short. Third films that are even better than the first two are much rarer. Toy Story 3 is definitely on that list, though. The franchise’s third installment is heartbreaking and poignant. It’s a story about growing up and accepting that change is inevitable. It also features one of the saddest scenes in movie history. The movie is so good it’s hard to find the right way to praise it. But two brothers found a way to do just that. And it only took them eight years. They recreated the entire film using stop-motion animation and real human actors. The result is one of the best fan-made homages ever made.
Toy Story 3 IRL is the incredible result of eight years of work from Morgan and Mason McGrew. The two brothers “set out to explore filmmaking by recreating their favorite film,” and they more than pulled it off. This movie would be stunning from seasoned professional filmmakers.
To make something this good takes a whole lot of time and work. We first heard about the project in 2018. In a behind-the-scenes video, they explained that they took as long as they did because they were committed to making it look as good as possible. Mission accomplished. No one would have faulted them if they simply recreated a single scene, or if they had only released a trailer. Those still would have been amazing.
The only thing they used from the original are the characters’ voices and the film’s music. Otherwise they relied on Toy Story action figures, real people, props and costumes they either built or purchased, and meticulously made sets. The end result is a product that has forever upped the standard for “sweded” movies. And what makes the whole thing even more remarkable is that they filmed all of it with iPhones.
You don’t have to worry about Disney taking this down either. The brothers wrote on their Facebook page the Mouse House gave them the okay to share it with the world. That seemed to have taken some time, too, but ultimately the wait was worth it. It would have been a shame if all of this incredible work became a victim of copyright law.
Morgan and Mason also made a series of videos documenting how they actually pulled this off. They highlight the insane amount of care and detail they put into this seemingly insane endeavor. In the first video they show how they filmed the stop-motion animation.
The second video highlights some of the props they had to create themselves.
Other items they purchased, including a collection that was really nuts. They went to the trouble of finding all of Ken’s outfits seen in the movie. Considering how vain Ken was about his ensemble it was a daunting undertaking. And that was before they learned of of his outfits came from a doll only sold in Europe.
This is a project that, like Toy Story 3, deserves all the praise in the world. But we have one compliment to show just how much we love it: we hope they do this for Toy Story 4 next. Especially because that one doesn’t have a scene where all the toys brace for death. Whether animated or in real life it’s still really hard to watch.
Featured Image: Morgan and Mason McGrew