Starring (the voices of): Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Timothy Dalton, Michael keaton, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles
Director: Lee Unkrich
Writer(s): Michael Arndt, John Lasseter
Original Score: Randy Newman
Running Time: 103 Mins.
To think Toy Story 3 could reach the dizzying heights of its forebears would be a foolish expectation, one thing to bear in mind however is the quality of Pixar’s output thus far being immaculate as it is with each film bearing the mark of quality and greatness year on year with only 1 or 2 weaker efforts (Cars and A Bugs Life) , though it is important to note that even those are better than most other animation houses can dream of in almost every aspect. So with this swaying will it/wont it live up to expectations feeling Toy Story 3 approached us like an old friend you always thought was great and hope hasn’t changed over time for the worse, on which note I can happily confirm that Toy Story 3 manages the rather amazing feat of very nearly being as good as Toy Story 2 and concludes the trilogy in the most satisfying way.
The beauty of Toy Story 3 is that it retains all that made us love the franchise in the first place, which is largely the characters we know and love, Woody, Buzz, Potato Head, Slinky, the thing is they are a few of a very dwindled down group which brings the focus to the core characters while making a rather poignant point, this is Toy Story…10/15 Years later. This means Andy is now grown up and heading off to college leaving his remaining toys unused in a chest, Woody remains loyal to Andy while the others realise he has grown up and want to move on themselves. What follows, in true Toy Story fashion, is a series of events that sees the gang left in a Nursery where a new bunch of Toys are introduced, friendly at first events then take a sinister turn, all of which takes us to the main thrust of the plot…Toy Story 3 is Pixar’s very of prison film.
What is great about this concept is that, as is Pixar’s genius, the film works on so many levels and I don’t just mean the basic “as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids” but also the idea that toys will eventually get old and be discarded, the subtext is there for those that wish to find it, and the deeper you wish to go the more rewarded you will likely be but for those that just want pure entertainment with a whole lot of heart it is here to be found in abundance. In the space of second you will experience so many emotions, fun, sadness, happiness, hope, joy all bases are touched and wrapped up in such a genius concept (in truth the idea of toys as characters always was), but this time around the narrative thrust of knowing this is the conclusion means that it is a sequel that furthers the characters we all know, different sides are seen to Woody, Buzz (quite literally in his case), yes, it’s inevitable some characters are slightly sidelined (Slinky for example) but it never seems that way.
As much as old favourites are welcomed as your best of friends when they are onscreen it is always nice to see the newbies, and they are plentiful here, some only getting a scene or two (the sad clown and Timothy Dalton’s genius Mr. Pricklepants) with which they make the very most of their screen time proving to be as memorable as anyone else, but the bigger parts here are the more sinister ones, the villain this time around is a wonderfully realised as a Strawberry scented bear that is as fluffy as he is bad taking the place of the prison warden with a talking phone as the “old-timer” and a symbol monkey as the supervisor. I could comb over each part, but it is pitched perfectly and is as good a conclusion we could have asked for.
There is a burning feeling that I would crave more of the toys, and would welcome another episode but you really can have too much of a good thing which makes me more inclined to side with those who see this as the most fitting end to a classic film trilogy that has remained consistently excellent to the very end, something which cannot be said about any film trilogy, hell even the Godfather and Star Wars couldn’t go out with this kind of bang.
Toy Story 3 is as good as anyone could hope for, and then some, best of all this works as a perfect film in its own right and well as concluding as perfect a trilogy as anyone could ask for.