Toy Story 3

Rating – *****

A few weeks ago my parents turned what should have been a relaxing day chilling at their house (and consuming their food resources) into a backbreaking and surprisingly emotional task…. clearing out my old wardrobe. For many people this would mean sorting through a few moth-eaten clothes, not me. That wardrobe is a tardis-like vault, stuffed to breaking point with toys, books and games. The afternoon provided a trip down memory lane. Fortunately, the main victim, and recipient of a one way ticket to the local dump, was a more recent addition, Empire magazine. Yes, a decade’s worth of old issues, in a stack so heavy Superman would have thought twice about shifting them downstairs to the car. I managed it though, probably fuelled by contempt. 4 stars for Pearl Harbour? Do one Empire, your destiny now lies in a cat litter tray!

But now I’m rambling. The point is, I couldn’t get rid of most of my toys. They’re more than just AA battery-gobbling plastic monstrosities, they’re cherished memories. I clearly remember the exact moment I unwrapped my Jurassic Park T-Rex on Christmas Morning 1993. He’s still f***ing awesome, and he’s going nowhere! I feel the same way about Toy Story. My sister and I watched our VHS copy endlessly. Technically she owned the Buzz Lightyear doll (along with Woody, Rex and Hamm), but I clocked up more than my fair share of playtime with them too. Anyone of a similar age and who also holds Toy Story in such high esteem will be an emotional wreck by the end of this flawless conclusion to the trilogy. It’s scary to think that the original film is now 15 years old, we’ve all grown up (well, sort of).

That’s why Toy Story 3 works, it acknowledges the passage of time. The result is a cuddly yet swift and emotional sucker punch straight to the heart.  While Andy packs his bags for college, Buster the family dog comes waddling in to his room, dragging his belly and covered in wiry, greying fur. The short lifespan of a dog is tragic and it contrasts sharply with the presumably immortal toys. Buster is blissfully unaware of this, but Woody and Buzz know exactly what’s in store for them. They’re cursed with wearing fixed (and slightly creepy) smiles, but deep down they’re crying out to be loved by their owner again. Watching silently through a tiny gap in the toy chest lid, they contemplate an eternity of loneliness in the attic, or maybe even destruction. This is all within the first 5 minutes of the film, to be honest I was already on the verge of tears. By the finale I resembled a particularly passionate England supporter kneeling outside the exit gates of a South African stadium.

These films have always been about the characters and their relationships. The groundbreaking visuals and suspense filled action set pieces are simply icing on the cake. Part 3 achieves the neat trick of maintaining the familiar look of the original films, while subtly pushing the technology even further, achieving perfection in the process. For the first time in the series, this mean stereoscopic 3D, and it’s beautiful. No gimmicks, no headaches or distractions, it’s immersive and simply breathtaking. But the truth is, you could watch Toy Story 3 on a mobile phone screen and the spirit of the film will still shine through. I’ll resist discussing plot specifics. All you need to know is that this is the real deal. It’s hilarious, heartbreaking, and uplifting in a way that most other films can only dream of. Michael Keaton’s Ken doll nearly steals the show. Meanwhile, all the main characters are just as you fondly remember them. It’s the little touches like Hamm’s encyclopaedic knowledge of product names and Rex’s eternal optimism. I loved the opening fantasy sequence. It revisits the opening of the original film, but this time we see it through Andy’s imagination as he says the immortal lines “I brought my attack dog, with a built-in forcefield! ….Well I brought my dinosaur, who eats forcefield dogs!” Pure Magic.

Children of all ages will still watch these films hundreds of years from now, and in doing so, they will never get old. I mean “in spirit”, not literally… nothing can stop the relentless onset of wrinkles and increased risk of bowel cancer…. feel free to use that quote on the poster.


~ by thewholebuffalo on July 20, 2010.

11 Responses to “Toy Story 3”

  1. WANT TO SEE IT!!!!!!!

  2. pleasently surprised, this is an accurate review!:0

  3. Brill review! x

  4. I want to see this so bad! Want to see it again??

  5. Excellent review for a near perfect film, I’m not ashamed to admit I was holding back the tears on that final scene.

  6. whats ‘bowl cancer’? is it even worse than ‘bowel cancer’?!
    (sorry couldn’t resist after you said they could quote you on it)

  7. I hope you recycled all those Empire Issues.

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