Toy Story 3
Review by Jack Foley
YOU really have to tip Woody’s cowboy hat to those geniuses at Pixar… they do it time and time again.
Toy Story 3 is, like its two predecessors and the Pixar creations that have come before it, another masterpiece… a fun, nostalgic romp that effortlessly entertains the kids, while providing plenty to keep the adults exhilarated too.
What’s more, the studio’s newfound ability to mix laughter with tears is also in evidence once again, thereby ensuring that when Woody and company wave farewell at the end of another great adventure, there’ll barely be a dry eye in the multi-plex.
Pixar’s success lies in its attention to detail. Not a frame feels wasted, no movie feels cynical and everything is made as an obvious labour of love. Even when doing sequels or – now – three-quels, they maintain and surpass their own high standards.
Hence, reuniting with Woody, Buzz Lightyear and co could have been a fun but lightweight experience; a case of one movie too far (as is the case with the majority of trilogies). Not so with Pixar.
The plot is great fun, the character development often ingenious, and even the new characters feel like worthwhile additions to the Toy Story universe.
The story picks up with a nostalgic throwback to the golden years as Woody (voiced, as ever, by Tom Hanks) and his compadres Buzz (Tim Allen), cowgirl Jessie (Joan Cusack), dinosaur Rex (Wallace Shawn) are set loose in the fertile imagination of their young owner, Andy.
It’s a bravura sequence, unfolding like the climactic good versus evil clash of a big summer blockbuster, before being revealed to be in the imagination of a child.
Cut forward a few years, and Andy is all grown up and about to embark on the next part of his life at High School. The toys, meanwhile, are destined for the loft or, worse, the bin.
Via various manipulations all end up Sunnyside, an apparently idyllic day-care centre, where they may get to be played with and loved once again. But the dream turns into a nightmare when Sunnyside head toy Lotso (Ned Beatty) places the newcomer at the mercy of some tearaway kids, prompting Woody to come up with a desperate plan for escape.
As ever with Pixar, the set pieces are dazzling and brilliant by design, the characters are warm and memorable, and the humour delivers a spot-on mix of appeal to all ages. Woody, Buzz and co are as loveable as they always were… with a Spanish speaking Buzz a particular highlight following one misadventure.
But the newcomers also register, with Lotso a good villain, along with the (quite frankly) terrifying Big Baby (a hideous enforcer), in addition to Chatter Telephone, Ken (of Ken and Barbie fame), and Mr Pricklepants.
Spare a thought, too, for the scene-stealing aliens (“ooh, the claw”), who have a fairly big role to play this time around.
For all the laugh-out loud humour and, yes, edge of your seat action, Toy Story 3 also possesses a lot of heart, too, with the final scenes among the most poignant of the year and heart-warming in a bittersweet kind of way.
Toy Story 3 is, therefore, everything you could have wished for and more… an instant classic that deserves to take its place among the best of Pixar’s best catalogue, the all-time Walt Disney greats and the films of the year (and the decade). It’s a film you’ll want to keep revisiting, which provides memories to cherish for a lifetime.
Running time: 108mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: November 22, 2010
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Lee Unkrich interview
- Darla K Anderson interview
- Toy Story 3 Photo Gallery
- Toy Story 3 - New Character Posters