There are two big drawbacks to the UK getting movies after the US:
1. We have to wait longer.
2. We hear all about it from everyone in the States and either they hype it up or pan it before we even get a sniff.
Case in point is that of Toy Story 3. I can’t honestly remember the last time a film came out and I was unable to find a negative review for it anywhere. In fact, I began searching for negative reviews just to find a fault with Toy Story 3. After an extensive search, I was still unable to find a thing!
Heading in to the Cinema screen I had never had higher expectations for a movie. The highest grossing opening weekend for an animated movie, the longest time for an animated film to have 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, 5 star reviews by critics from Empire and Total Film and anecdotes of grown men leaving the theatre in tears. If ever there was going to be a film that was going to disappoint, this would be it.
I found myself entering the screen with my 3 year old boy and thinking “Impress Me!” The cartoon short “Day and Night” was up first. A clever, short film about the relationship between two characters, one called day, the other named night. The film was funny and well done and I could see how this could work well in 3-D. It incorporate lively music, eye catching graphics and just enough adult humour to keep the grown ups entertained as well as the kids.
Of course, the main reason the cinemagoers were there was to see Toy Story 3 and we in for a treat. The audience was gripped from the get go. A fantastic opening sequence reminiscent of the opener in the original was fast paced, humorous and, most of all, full with every character possible. It set the tone for what was to follow.
The film, released 14 years after the original focuses on Andy, now 17, as he prepares to leave for college. Now grown up and with no use for his toys any longer he has to decide what to do with all of them. Thrown them out, donate them or even take them to college with him. I won’t spoil just what happens but the movie very quickly fits back in to the style we all know and love. Toys have problems, toys solve problem, problems solved by an adventure. The format of the film is not original and does use many of the devices it did in the first and second movie but this just adds to the movies overall charm. For the youngsters it is fresh and new, for the grown ups the chance to pick out all the links to the originals. Particular highlights include the exchange with Evil Dr Porkchop and Woody’s attempt at a rescue with the aid of Buster.
Just as Andy and the toys have matured so has the story. Here we see themes such as loss, abandonment and identity all dealt with in the way only Pixar can. At times, funny, at time emotion, at times tense and even scary, this movie covers every base and more. I admit that I must have got something in my eye by the end. The way in which the rich storytelling is translated to the screen by Lee Unkrich’s direction and Randy Newman’s score is what makes this film so spectacular.
I cannot speak highly enough of what I experienced in that hour and 40 minutes. It was a cinematic delight, a truly remarkable feat and one that I will turn back to again and again. So often, movies fall as they try to enter the world of the trilogy. Toy Story was groundbreaking as the first ever fully computer animated movie that ultimately changed the future of animation as we knew it. Toy Story 2 took the storytelling we know from Pixar and added emotion and depth, some say even surpassing the original. Toy Story 3 again takes another leap. The same characters showing their same traits and flaws, the same humour and emotion shown in the others and by far some of Pixar’s best storytelling to date. For me, this is the best trilogy ever made, even surpassing trilogies such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future and even The Godfather.
If I have to be critical in anyway (and this is me nit picking) it was a little long for very young children at 103 minutes and at times a little scary for its “U” audience. I also don’t think the film needs to be seen in 3-D. The 2-D animation is superb all on its own.
If you think Pixar couldn’t get any better, think again. This latest offering is one of their best yet and I can honestly say has shot to the top of my all time favourite movies. If this movie doesn’t win the best animated Oscar I’ll be amazed. In fact, if it isn’t at least nominated for best overall picture someone has a screw lose somewhere!
Enjoy, I know I will be again!
Toy Story 3 is now open in cinemas across the UK