Toy Story 3 (2010) D: Lee Unkrich

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3

It has been fifteen long years since the release of the original Toy Story. In that time, young children who saw and cherished the first are somewhere in their late teens and early twenties. Besides just making this reviewer feel really old, that makes the choice of story for the third Toy Story installment inspired – and it is handled beyond impressively.

Andy, the boy who has grown up with Woody, Buzz, Mr Potato Head and co., is 17 and off to college. Nagged to sort through his ‘junk’, Andy opts to take Woody with him and leave the others in the attic. But a mix up soon sees all the toys on the curb for rubbish collection. Trying to escape this fate, they end up at Sunnyside Daycare Center where they meet a menagerie of toys lead by a purple bear by the name of Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear (Lotso for short). The warm welcome they receive soon turns sour and there appears no way to escape the chaos of toddlers at Sunnyside and the evil of Lotso’s regime.

Technically, Toy Story 3 is an obvious 15 years ahead of the original. The wizards at Pixar have crafted a fairy-floss bright and realistically behaved landscape across which every detail is mapped; from the hue of the grey clouds in the sky to every drop of leaf litter on the front lawn. The characters we’ve known so well over three tales are given immense power of expression and the always brilliant voice talent of the original cast (Tim Allen, Tom Hanks, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles et al) lends the final touches of realism.

Dealing as it does with separation and coming-of-age, there is a thread of sadness weaved throughout Toy Story 3.  With Andy’s Mother’s last long look at his soon to be vacated room, and her sigh of resignation at his leaving, the audience has the whole point of the film driven home. A lot of the sentiment could have been overly schmaltzy, but it is the realism in every tiny detail, and the emotion carried by some seriously good acting by voice and computer animation that makes this film outstanding. Far from a mere children’s film (which Pixar fare has never really been), Toy Story 3 is a nuanced drama about loyalty, attachment, growing up and moving on.

This is a tremendous film. If Pixar are going to try for the Best Film Oscar, rather than Best Animation, this would be their greatest chance. If all three films were judged as a whole work the way Lord of the Rings was, there would be no doubting this trilogy deserved the accolade.

Moving, sweetly crafted brilliance. 5 Stars

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~ by mfnm on July 9, 2010.

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