Fifteen years after the release of Disney Pixar’s hugely popular Toy Story the much-anticipated Toy Story 3 stormed into cinemas worldwide carrying a weighty level of expectation with it.
Without giving too much away, Toy Story 3 follows favourites from the previous two films when they are faced with the prospect of their owner Andy going away to college. After several mishaps they find themselves on the way to Sunnyside, the local day care centre.
A warning must be given to the multitude of die-hard fans who have grown up with the Toy Story franchise; there are heart-wrenching scenes from the off, including one which sees the toys plant teenage Andy’s mobile phone in the depths of their toy box in a desperate attempt to make him play with them again. Several scenes throughout the film, as well as the last twenty minutes, all signal that this film marks the definite end of the Toy Story line.
Having said this however, Toy Story 3’s tale is not wholly depressing. True to form the toys provide many a laugh-out-loud moment and the franchise is refreshed by the introduction of a whole host of new faces. Despite the popularity of the story’s key characters the introduction of new toys does not feel like an intrusion and the delicacy with which the story is dealt with means that the audience doesn’t feel uncomfortable laughing at the toy’s reaction to their new home.
Some of the best movie villains seen in cinema this year, if not in the last decade, are found in the toys of Sunnyside, namely in Ned Beatty’s Lotso, but watch out for Big Baby and the truly terrifying cymbal-bashing monkey who monitors the CCTV footage of the centre (see right).
When being introduced to the toys of Sunnyside you may find yourself wondering why it took the filmmakers three films to recreate the romance between Ken and Barbie. If it weren’t for Mattel’s decision that the first film was destined for failure Barbie may have taken Bo Beep’s role in the series. Thankfully due to their hesitation not only were we met with a hilarious satiric character in the form of tour-guide Barbie in Toy Story 2 but we are refreshingly given the blossoming on-screen romance of a couple who have conquered toy charts for decades.
The balance between story and visual effects is perfect and the friendship between Andy’s toys (namely that held between Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen)) haven’t weakened or strained in the eleven years since the last addition to the trilogy. The toys’ very real fears of rejection and loss offer viewers of all ages ways of finding solace. Is there a happy ending? We won’t spoil it but what we will say is that Toy Story is an unmissable treat for fans old and new.
Best performance: Either Woody (Tom Hanks) or Ken (Michael Keaton).
Best new toy: Bonnie’s toys are loveable as soon as they are introduced but the sinister Lotso is perhaps most memorable.
Best line: Similarly the whole film is splattered with witty dialogue and multiple film references for all ages, notable funny lines come from Mr. Potato Head, including ‘you would not believe what I’ve been through tonight’.