Friday, 23 July 2010

Toy Story 3

Andy's all grown up and about to go to college; his loyal toys are long forgotten and neglected. But a mix-up results in them almost being thrown out and destroyed before they save themselves by ending up a donation box for Sunnyside Nursery, where they'll be played with forever. Woody, though, is adamant on returning to Andy and leaves Buzz and the crew at the nursery. However, they soon realise Sunnyside is less of a paradise and more of a prison and resolve to escape. Can they make it past the evil toys at Sunnyside? Will Woody return to save the day? And can they save themselves from being destroyed forever?

As you may have realised from my review of Shrek Forever After, I'm not a big fan of the animation genre. The last Pixar film I'd seen before this was, in fact, Toy Story 2, which was an almighty 11 years ago. I'm aware I've missed some 'classic' Pixar films but I'd chosen not to see those, they never appealed to me. However, Toy Story 3 is the exception that proves the rule. I've grown up with Toy Story and Toy Story 2, they were a part of my childhood and so, before the child inside me dies once and for all, I felt I had to see Toy Story 3. After all, it would be wrong not to after the happy memories I had of it. Coming out of it, I was justified in my decision, and after the Shrek debacle, this may have saved animation as a genre in my life and may even have reignited my dormant relationship with Pixar.

Toy Story 3 is a perfect ending to a perfect 3 films, it's the only franchise I can think of which hasn't had a low point from start to finish: The Godfather films fell down at The Godfather 3, The Saw franchise only really had Saw 1, Star Wars got ruined with the prequels. Perhaps only the current Batman franchise can match Toy Story's victory in consistency, but that's to be judged when that third film is finally released. Indeed, this is a series of films which was consistently strong throughout, though, that was no sure thing. In an alternate universe, we would have seen a version of Toy Story 3 two years ago where Buzz began malfunctioning and was shipped off to Taiwan. This version of Toy Story fits the continuity of the franchise and provides a fitting conclusion to the stories of Woody, Buzz and the rest of the toys we've all come to know and love.

Firstly, the graphics are impeccable. This is the most picture perfect animation I can remember seeing; I know I said the graphics in Shrek were good and were the only commendable thing in the film, but this just wipes the floor with Shrek. It's proven Pixar have been and currently are the real kings of animation, and probably will be for some time yet. It almost makes me wonder what I've been missing in Wall-E and and Monsters, Inc. The 3D was good throughout, but to be honest, it was about standard to what we can now expect. It was merely just 'there', nothing truly stood out as impressive. Secondly, the story was well thought out. It was, actually, a really rather serious affair, with the toys in peril almost throughout. The new characters were well designed, appropriate and integrated well to the story. Thirdly, this is a film that will appeal to everyone. The toys and the overall story will entertain the kids, but the darkness of the story will grab the adult audience; the underlying themes of growing old and becoming obsolete. It's almost have grown old along with Andy and are ready to retire, having become smarter yet weary. Their first day at daycare prompts them to have an "I'm getting too old for this shit" moment and the acceptance of their fate at one point near the end is so touching and delicately done, it will move any man close to tears, it's just so adult.

Overall, I firmly believe this is the second Pixar film in a row aimed squarely at adults. The kids who grew up with Toy Story and Toy Story 2, myself included, have waited 11 years for an ending and, thus, have grown up. What Pixar delivers in Toy Story 3 is a thoroughly pleasing conclusion to all those adult fans, as well as a charming and funny film for the youngsters, staying true to their majority audience. Toy Story 3 is best summed up as being something like Schindler's Toybox. It's THAT moving and THAT serious and THAT engaging. It's funny and charming and smart to boot. To put it simply, it's the perfect final chapter for the almighty Toy Story.

Rating: ****