Friday, 30 July 2010

Review: Toy Story 3

When I first got wind of a potential third instalment of the Toy Story series, I was somewhat sceptical, not only because sequels are rarely of a high quality, but learning the terrifying news that the third film would be solely made by Disney (with numerous poor cash in follow ups in recent years), with Pixar (the genius behind the first two as well as WALL-E and Up) remaining out of the picture entirely .

Fortunately my scepticism was dispelled on both accounts. Not only are John Lasseter and the legendary Pixar team behind it, but the entire original voice cast are back to conclude a near prefect trilogy.

Toy Story 3 plays out similarly to the second, but in places, is clearly the darkest of the three. Bar a few original characters, everyone including Woody, Buzz, Hamm, Rex and Slinky are back, as well as several new and frankly brilliant additions, which include a Fisher Price phone, a disgruntled clown and a sinister strawberry scented bear (it'll make sense), which fit effortlessly into the Toy Story world, without stealing focus from the main characters.

The theme of the final instalment is one of moving on, with the toys realising their time with owner Andy is over. However, their purpose is reiterated by Woody throughout; to always be there for Andy, even if they are dumped in the attic.

Unsurprisingly things don't go to plan. Woody and the gang end up at Sunnyside, a day care centre where they will never be disgarded or outgrown, as Andy is now leaving for College. At this point I began to question the film's direction and intent. I quickly learnt how naive I was to assume such things, as the story took off, it became mightily entertaining, made me laugh out loud and genuinely thrilled me at times. Cue the set up for a prison break style movie, which pays hommage to some classic movie moments, one finely executed sequence parodying Oceans Eleven.

As well as iconic film references, several jokes from the previous two pop up without feeling overdone or stale, finding a subtle, perfect balance, as seems the trend here.
Granted it isn't perfect, but then nothing is. A short spell midway through did feel a tad slow, as did a segment at the end, but all is forgiven as such a pacing was necessary to conclude the series.

The charm is there in buckets, with the appealing nature to both adults and children alike, as Pixar have demonstrated so well over the years. Genuinely fresh and funny as the story progresses, one of the high points being when Mr Potato Head temporarily replaces his body with a sandwich related food (no spoiler intended!) and a symbol crashing, (literally) eye popping, deranged monkey (it'll make sense upon viewing), makes Toy Story 3 a conclusion worthy to be mentioned alongside the first two.

Not as ground breaking or original (obviously) as the first Toy Story or even their films of recent years, it can, however, stand proudly beside them. Toy Story 3 delivers on every level and the 3D makes it even sweeter.


Sources: Internet Movie DataBase
Photos: Google Images