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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: Toy Story 3 (U) ★★★★★
The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it's up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren't abandoned and to return home.


I've now watched Toy Story 3 twice and without a doubt this is easily the strongest edition to the trilogy. It has more warmth, emotion and comedy than the other two put together, quite simply this is a perfect family film.

Toy Story, was something original, something completely new and fresh and resonated with it's audience at a level that satisfied all age ranges. It introduced us to characters that you immediately cared about, a premise that you always thought was a reality when you were a kid and a comedy that was smart enough for kids and clever enough for adults. It was a rare blend that many thought couldn't be beat, some still maintain that Toy Story is the yardstick to judge all animated films, and I was one of them. Until I saw Toy Story 3.

I loved Toy Story and I liked Toy Story 2. For some reason Toy Story 2 never hit the same nostalgic spots with me as the original and truth be told I was never the biggest fan of Jessie. I found her annoying and misplaced, but that was a minor blip and the movie still remained a triumph and is still regularly played at home. Once I learned that Toy Story 3 was in development my expectations levels burst through the roof and I waited impatiently to hear what the storyline would be.

Then I found out, and for some reason my excitement dropped. Andy is on his way to college and has no need for  his toys so they are donated to a daycare centre where they can spend the rest of their days being played with and loved. This didn't seem the clever, smart storyline Pixar had become synonymous with, it seemed an easy out, a simple way to end on a high. I was disappointed and lost interest in the project after hearing that synopsis but I should have known better. I'd made a serious schoolboy error.

Toy Story 3 hit cinemas and was immediately hailed as a classic, one of the best films, not just animated, but actual films for quite some time. Five star reviews everywhere you looked with even the harshest critics being moved by the story and characters. I'd unfairly misjudged Pixar, Woody and Buzz so immediately sought to put things right. I settled down to watch Toy Story 3 and throughout the 103minutes was captivated, I was hooked by exactly what I had heard by others.

It was great to see all the characters back together again, yes even Jessie to an extent, and the storyline that I had failed to warm to swept me up and carried me along for the ride. All the new characters, especially Ken, slot in seamlessly along side the old favourites and help crank up the excitement as the plot drives forward. There's plenty of twists, huge amounts of laugh out loud moments and some quite astonishing emotional scenes. I'm not ashamed to say that these scenes really did move me, one in particular which is so well created you have to be some sort of iron giant with a heart made of stone not to start welling up at.

The voice talents bring their A game to proceedings but that's a formality, you always knew you were going to get quality from the likes of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Michael Keaton who all fit their respective characters perfectly. As is the norm with a Pixar production you get animation of the highest order and the direction to match. Every scene is crystal clear with amazing detail and I've been reliably informed that the 3D (which I didn't watch it in) is an accomplished piece of work.

It's an acknowledgement indeed to hear that the Oscar Academy may well be moving Toy Story 3 from the Best Animated Film category to Best Picture which speaks volumes about its quality. If it's left in the Animated category then it's a shoe-in to win but if it is moved then I bet it's going to push some of the other 'real' films to the winners post.


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