TOY STORY 3: BEYOND AND BACK AGAIN

By on August 4th, 2010

Woody and the gang are back, but playtime is over.

TS3

If you’ve had a look at my archives you’ll have noticed that only two of the films I’ve reviewed have garnered 5 stars. It’s A Wonderful Life and Saving Private Ryan. I am delighted to say I can now add TS3 to that number (I can hardly call it a list).

There are a few criteria I usually consider when deciding whether a film was ok, well-made but not my cuppa tea or excellent and a high scorer on the watch-it-again-o-meter. The latter usually displays the skill of the filmmaker and the best of a genre, assuming it can be slotted into a genre. If anyone has any ideas as to what genre I am supposed to tag my Inception Review under, answers on a stamp addressed envelope please.

These criteria include the garden variety hooks like: story, dialogue, humour (very important to me, it doesn’t have to be a gag-a-minute job, but it should make me smile) and the special effects, like POW! Ghetto visuals! (a la Inception). Every once and a while though, something happens that I don’t expect. I am surprised, and I love to be surprised. Well, surprisingly enough, Toy Story surprised me, which probably says more about PIXAR than about me. They set my expectation so high that I was convinced they couldn’t possibly top the first two films. Boy was I ever wrong. Though I do hope they leave Toy Story at 3 because Infinity sounds nice, but I think anything beyond would be pushing it.

Ok, so on with the serious film criticism, this is a movie blog afterall… it is isn’t it? Or have I just woken up in level two of my Inception-like blog within a blog lucid web-dream?

woody

DETAILS
Tagline: The Breakout Comedy Of The Summer
Dir. Lee Unkrich
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton
★★★★★

PLOT
When Andy’s toys discover he is off to college in a matter of days and that their destiny is suddenly uncertain, naturally, it’s a perfect time to panic. Initially unsure of their fate, the toys seem content to be resigned to the prosect of a life in the service of generations of new children at the Sunnyside daycare centre. They soon discover however, that all is not as it seems at Sunnyside, and a serene life of service becomes a life sentence at the playtime penitentiary, as they are left to the not so tender mercy of a psychotic purple bear and a group of toddlers with an apetite for, well… just about anything with removable parts. Wishing they had been kept out of reach of children, it’s left to Woody to launch a great escape to save his friends from a fate worse than garage sale, and Buzz from a trauma worse than salsa!

REVIEW
I loved this movie, so naturally this will be a very positive review, not that it needs any pretty words to flatter it, its merit is plain for all to see. The quintessential feel good film, telling a simple story of adventure, tempered with the uncertainty inevitable when life as we know it changes. What is certain however, is the confident assurance with which PIXAR get back underneath the skin of all our favourite pixelated protagonists, as though they’d never been away, allowing them to dvelop naturally and simply with the appropriate step up in maturity.

The story, the freshest plot of the lot, is strengthened further by the approach of its tellers, allowing the characters we have grown up with to reward our faithful patronage by committing even more of themselves to a worrying, often frightening, though always fun and exciting new set of circumstances in which they find themselves. This is not story-telling for its own sake, its story telling for inspiration sake and our interest is well rewarded with a positively inspiring final act.

VERDICT
By measures sweet but not overly sentimental, consciencious but never preachy or patronizing and satisfying without feeling cheap. The toys are back in town. Bring on the DVD Trilogy collector’s edition! Off the chart on the ‘watch-it-again -0-meter’. I can’t wait to watch it again.

andy

13 Responses to “TOY STORY 3: BEYOND AND BACK AGAIN”

  1. 1 Irina
    August 4th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Woody- You’ll be okay in the attic?
    Jessie- Of course I will.Besides, I know about Buzz’s Spanish mode.
    The third one is the best one!

  2. 2 Ronan
    August 4th, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    @Irina I agree, the first two have some great set pieces and some great one-liners but the third one feels more rounded, it has a little of everything and alot of charm. :-)

  3. 3 Andrew - THEfilmBLOG
    August 5th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Think time will tell whether the third is the best, but I very much agree with the review! Wonderful film, as you say, roll on the blu-ray Trilogy collection! :)

  4. 4 Phil O'Kane
    August 5th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    If it makes me cry it’s a winner in my book…

  5. 5 Castor
    August 5th, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Glad that you highly enjoyed it (who didn’t??) Certainly one of the best movie of the year so far (not hard I know), it makes me want to rewatch Toy Story and TS 2.

  6. 6 Ronan Wright
    August 6th, 2010 at 11:52 am

    @Andrew It’s a very personal thing, I think people probably repsond to different things in the films. I respond to TS3 because it had the conviction to deal with serious issues but is clever enough not to take itself too seriously. It is always aware of its audience, PIXAR respect their audience and it shows.

  7. 7 Ronan Wright
    August 6th, 2010 at 11:58 am

    @Phil Haha Amen to that brother. It’s seems silly to get so emotional over toys, but I guess that is the power of good writing, it makes you care and that’s good for the audience and the box office.

  8. 8 Ronan Wright
    August 6th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    @Castor I can’t wait for the box set, there is a Christmas day trilogy if ever there was one. Maybe the first while dinner is being prepared, and the other two after 😉

  9. 9 rtm
    August 6th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Hi Ronan! Great review, I love love love this movie. Toy Story’s definitely one of the best movie trilogy ever, but the real star really is the script. The characters have the power to move and engage you better than a lot of human actors could bring. It makes me cry as well as laughter, I nearly doubled over laughing (which is tough to do in a theater) in the Spanish Buzz scenes, that’s a classic!

  10. 10 Ronan
    August 8th, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    @Ruth Thanks Ruth, it was fun to write. I have to agree with you on the script, it brings the characters to life and makes you care about their story which makes the rest of the film more satisfying. Nothing in TS3 feels throw-away or for the its own sake, it all goes to serve a fantastic story which I was sorry to see come to and end.

  11. 11 Dan
    August 11th, 2010 at 11:44 am

    It sounds like a lot of fun. Pixar seem to always draw a great balance between character and story. I suppose it was easy to get the first part right with film number 3 in the Toy Story franchise but it looks like they got everything else right too. Looking forward to seeing this.

  12. 12 Ronan Wright
    August 11th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    @Dan I agree, I think PIXAR’s imaginative stories give character to their exemplary animation. They are so fun to watch, so you don’t notice when wrap something wholesome into the mix. Knowing this makes me appreciate their films all the more.

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