Toy Story 3

“Let’s see how much we’re going for on eBay!”

So there I was in the theatre, hoping to God this wouldn’t be a “third” movie.  But then the opening scene started and I decided that I had better go down to the church and praise the Lord.  It was fabulous.  The opening and the closing scenes in the film are the best in the entire Toy Story saga.   The opening scene takes place in the mind of Andy, the owner of the toys.  He is of course, playing with them.  Mr.  and Mrs.  Potatohead (Rickles and Harris), Hamm (Ratzenberger), and the Little Green Men are bad guys, robbing a train.  Sherriff Woody (Hanks), Jessie (Cusack), and Buzz Lightyear (Allen) are of course the heroes.  It’s a wild, crazy, fun scene that could actually be a film of its own.  I can just see it now.  Toys Being Played With could be the title.  Anyway, the next montage is documenting the life of the toys and Andy as the boy grows up and eventually looses interest in his childhood friends.  And when the montage ends, Andy is getting ready to go to college.  His mother orders him to clean out his room before he leaves (typical).  Through a series of unfortunate events (a near death experience in a garbage truck) the toys end up being donated to Sunnyside day care.  That’s all of the plot I will divulge.

After this, the gymnastics start.  The next hour or so features the toys running, jumping, doing all sorts of tricks.  But never mind all this, let’s get to the review.  I am officially declaring the masterminds behind the Pixar logo geniuses.  Everything they turn out from their film factory is a sheer work of art (with the exception of A Bug’s Life).  This is no different.  The look, style, feel, pacing, and general package of the film is such a nice little vignette.  It’s not complicated or overlong or indulgent in any way.  It’s colourful and bright and appealing.  Of course I didn’t see it in 3D.  I feel sorry for those of you that did, because you didn’t have the chance to see the amazing colour palette of the film.  3D is proven to reduce the amount of light let into the eyes while watching a film.  But us smart and lucky ones saw it in classic 2D, with all its glory and bright, vivid, attractive colours.

Now I said before in this review that the film is much more of a Laurel and Hardy like comedy than a truly heartfelt story.  Now this is true to some extent, but nevertheless the writers at Pixar have still managed to craft quite a descent emotional story.  It follows that same formula of previous films.  Packed with fun and comic relief, but still with a heart at its centre (unlike the fool-ridden DreamWorks films such as Madagascar and Shrek).  The main theme of this film is rejection.  How do toys deal with being abandoned by their owners?  More importantly, how do we (people) deal with rejection.  The child’s play room is a microcosm, with its own wars, struggles and triumphs.  What we see on screen in this film is not just a bunch of weird talking toys trying to reach their previous owner, but a study of human behaviour as illustrated within these plastic caricatures.  This is how deep the film is.  It seems very simple and unimportant on the outside, but once you take some time to read into its themes and messages, the viewer will realize the sheer wealth of what happens on screen.

But what would be the good if I didn’t comment on the less philosophical points of the film.  Probably my favourite of the little comedic touches placed on the film is a blooming romance between Barbie and Ken (Michael Keaton).  Ken of course lives in his dream house, and one day, while descending the elevator, he meets eyes with Barbie.  It’s just great.  “Nice ascot,” comments the infatuated girl doll.  And then Ken begins to show off his other outfits.  It’s just the perfect touch.  It is little things like this that make Pixar films Pixar films.  Then there are other little bits and pieces that exist for no other reason than to delight the audience.  Comments like, “Let’s see how much we’re going for on eBay.” Now I have to say that the film could have done well to be a little less action packed.  It’s not excessive, but just a little too much if you ask me.  Other than that minor point, Toy Story 3 is a very good, genuine film that fits into the series perfectly.  Few sagas have managed to extend any amount of excellence into the third act.  Possibly only The Godfather and The Lord of the Rings have managed this before.  Toy Story may become one of these series.  Each chapter as good or better than the one before.  Now I have to say that Toy Story 3 is not the original.  But it is a worthy follow-up.  The Toy Story films will stand amid the great animated films (Snow White, Beauty and the Beast).  Whether this third installment will be considered a great is iffy, but it certainly is worthy of the title Toy Story 3.

Now all we (the viewers) can hope for is that there will be no fourth film.  I know I sound silly, repeating what I said about this film after the second one.  But this film ties up everything so nicely, with no loose ends at all.  It is a fitting ending to a series, and I hope Pixar will see this and not endeavour to do more with the franchise.  Hopefully they will continue doing original films, not sequels and threequels.  Nevertheless, this is a very true and genuine film that should not be missed by anybody.  It may not be the original, or as good as Up and Finding Nemo, but it is worthy of the Pixar logo at the beginning.

Toy Story 3.  Hmmm, says I.  When you hear that, it should put you off.  The first two words are fine and dandy.  Toy Story…3!  I like the part about Toy Story, but the 3 scares me.  I mean really!  How many good stories can we make about toys.  They made two, and now here they are coming out with three.  The passed decade has been littered with trilogies and lots of third movies.  At the turn of the century we had the new Star Wars movies.  Then, not long after, came The Lord of the Rings.  And of course after that came Pirates of the Caribbean.  Now we all know what became of Pirates and Star Wars.  Really Rings was the only trilogy that worked 100% of the time.  So I was worried about Toy Story…3!  After the commercial and cinematic success of their previous film Up, which was completely original and uncontrived, I was hoping for something unheard of, not just another installment in this toy saga.  Why bother with this cast of characters we’ve already used twice?  Why not do something new?  I still hold to my opinion that they should have been original.  But what they came up with was just as good.  It’s certainly more of a comedy than the previous two films, with much more action and fright than heart and intelligence.  But, oh well!

Walt Disney Pictures Presents a Pixar Animation Studios Film

Cast: Voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, Blake Clark, Whoopi Goldberg, Timothy Dalton.  Directed by Lee Unkrich

Rated G.  Release Date: 18 June 2010

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