It’s been a while. To be honest, the cinema has been vomiting up some pretty poor fare over the last few months. But over the last week, I saw what will probably be numbers one and two on the top 10 list of 2010, so I figured I should say something about them. The first film on the list is the latest from the greatest studio now in production. Toy Story 3.
It’s been fifteen years since Woody and Buzz first hit the big screen, kick-starting the Pixar revolution into gear. Since that time, Pixar have gone from strength to strength. And in one way, Toy Story 3 is a fitting bench-mark to see just how far the studio has come. Both in technical ability, and in terms of story-telling.
Andy, the human key to the Toy Story world has grown up. He’s finished school, and is about to leave home for college. And by doing this, he must leave his childhood toys behind. But what is to come of Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and all the rest of the toys? Woody, Andy’s most cherished toy, will accompany him to college. But the rest of the toys will go to the attic, a sort of rest-home for toys until they are rediscovered by Andy and given to his own children. But a mix-up in packaging results in the toys being sent to day-care, a seemingly heaven for toys. But all is not what it seems in day-care. And the toys must escape, while Woody struggles to reach his friends and help them escape.
Being the final part in the Toy Story trilogy, Toy Story 3 packs quite the emotional punch. Like Andy, we’re leaving the characters behind. They’ve given us some cherished memories, but like all good things, they must be fondly remembered, and passed on to the next generation. Toy Story 3, really does make you laugh, but it’s laughter tinged with sadness. As with all Pixar movies, the film’s strength lies in it’s story. There are many studios that produce technically brilliant animated films, but few reach the heights of Pixar’s films. It’s Pixar’s ability to pack an emotional punch that has made films such as Toy Story, Wall-E and Up such incredible films.
And yet, I find myself going against the general consensus. I don’t think it’s the best of the trilogy. Don’t get me wrong. Toy Story 3 is both technically astonishing and brilliantly written. But there were parts of the film when I though I’d seen it before. There are some recycled story elements. Sometimes these work as winks and nods to what came before. But it is nit-picking. Toy Story 3 is (Buzz) Light-years ahead of it’s competition. In fact, it’s light-years ahead of most films. The voice-work is as usual, brilliant. In particular, the addition of the Ken doll, voiced by Michael Keaton is hilarious in both vocal performance and animation.
Toy Story 3 is probably the best closing chapter of any trilogy. And the Toy Story trilogy itself is near-perfect. The Pixar team are just awe-inspiring in their ability to craft stories that assault your emotions as well as your eye-balls. And with Toy Story 3, they really have knocked it out of the park. Again.