Toy Story 3 is a highly entertaining film for people of all ages. It is also one of the best final films in a trilogy series. Given the marketing campaign and release date, it is bound to be one of the biggest grossers of the year.
As Andy gets ready to leave for college, Woody, Buzz and the rest of the toys are uncertain about their future. A mistake leaves them stuck in a daycare centre, with Woody insistent that they should return home to Andy before he departs…
As ever, the animation from Pixar is superb. The 3D aspect to the film works well as it is unobtrusive. It adds extra life to the animation without being distracting, indeed you quickly forget you are watching a 3D film.
The usual suspects are back for this third instalment, as well as a number of new characters. These new additions are well-written overall, although understandably some of the minor characters fall into recognisable archetypes. The idea to introduce a Ken doll is inspired; his scenes are some of the funniest in the film.
Unsurprisingly, considering the Pixar back catalogue, the film combines comedy with action, suspense and drama. Numerous critics have discussed the emotional depth to the film, suggesting its ability to tug at the heartstrings. There is a universalness to the themes of maturing and the abandonment of childhood that entails the film will have an emotional effect on most, if not all, of its viewers.
In some ways, it is more of a film for adults, particularly younger ones who grew up with Toy Story as a child, than for a very young audience. Whilst there is enough action, comedy and pace to entertain the youngest viewers, the onus is very much on the notion of the toys being abandoned, rather than the narrative of their quest to find their way back. This is particularly pertinent in the last section of the film.
Toy Story 3 works so well as it errs on the right side of sentimentality. It is emotional without becoming cloying. Interestingly, with the end message of the film, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich and Andrew Stanton appear to propagate the idea that growing older necessitates the end of childish pursuits. A message that seems at odds with the Disney ethos. But with the revenue brought in by both ticket sales and the abundance of merchandise, it is unlikely Disney will worry too much about this.