Words: Alicia McBride
'Toy Story 3' (2010)
Director: Lee Unkrich
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton
A quick perusal of legendary film site Rotten Tomatoes will tell you that currently 'Toy Story 3' has a well-deserved 99% success rate, with only three ‘rotten’ ratings. I’ll let you in on a secret, those three bad reviews are from self-important twats who in their desperation to seem cool and controversial have criticised the film just to be different. They are wrong. And more to the point, their criticisms have little to no substantiation whatsoever.
'Toy Story 3' is a brilliant film. Sure, it has some very minor flaws such as the introduction of a continuous stream of new (and mostly adorable) characters who then barely appear in the film and a sometimes confused sense of direction, but the overall standard of the film is so good that these barely impact at all. The eleven years since 'Toy Story 2' disappear the instant the film starts thanks to Pixar’s excellent and consistent characterisation coupled with the familiar strains of 'You’ve Got A Friend In Me' - for Toy Story fans it feels like coming home.
The touching opening sequence fills in the gaps in the toys’ lives and will give newcomers to the franchise all they need to know to understand the third film. I daresay part of the film’s success is going to be that it is just as enjoyable as a standalone film, particularly useful for a new generation of children who haven’t grown up alongside Andy.
The film also succeeds because it is more than just a colourful, fun ‘escape from prison’ romp. There are plenty of well-crafted moments full of suspense that will leave you feeling very tense over the toys’ chances of survival. The new characters are also more threatening than those cuddly exteriors would suggest. Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear is as twisted as any Hollywood horror villain and will leave many an audience member feeling very guilty about the way they treat their toys. And if you think that babies are nothing but cute then beware, Big Baby is one of the more menacing presences to grace our screens this year. One eye sees all.
Of course, the film is also riotously funny, packed full of that trademark Pixar humour that made films like 'Finding Nemo' so endlessly quotable. Highlights include Buzz Lightyear in ‘reset’ mode (I laughed an embarrassing amount at this), Mr Potato Head’s tribute to Dali and the much anticipated meeting of Ken and Barbie, which is made all the more hilarious (and disturbing) by the fact that he is possibly the campest thing you will ever see. As always with Disney, enough of the humour is pitched at an adult level that the film is entertaining for children and but often even more so for adults. It also wouldn’t be a Disney film if there weren’t a few weepy moments along the way. I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone so I am not going to tell you how it ends but let’s just say if you are the least bit sentimental chances are you’re going to cry.
I would be lying if I said I thought 'Toy Story 3' needed to be made but I am certainly glad it has. It is a great antidote to this summer’s mostly boring releases and the perfect end to the story. It has been a pleasure to grow up with the characters and a joy to be given the chance to say a proper, tearful goodbye.
Alicia saw 'Toy Story 3' in Sony 4K resolution 3D at London's Apollo Cinema. 'Toy Story 3' is on wide release in the UK from Monday 19th July.