You know, I was a little disappointed when I learnt that this was to be Pixar’s next film. Sure, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were huge achievements in both animation and the kids’ movie genre, and a great substitute for the ailing Disney 2D animation that was becoming less and less interesting throughout the 90s, but then they made brilliant original films like The Incredibles. And Wall-E. And Up. And even Ratatouille, to a lesser extent. To see Pixar returning to the well was a bit of a letdown. And whilst watching Toy Story 3, I felt the same way. I mean, it’s really good, possibly on par with the first two (and this franchise surely sports two of the best sequels ever made), but it just felt like more Toy Story, something which I hadn’t ever craved.
Then, in the last 20 minutes, this film blew me away. As with Up and Wall-E, this film had me in tears, and it’s astounding just how emotive Pixar can be when they put their mind to it.
Of course, the animation is great. I honestly couldn’t be bothered paying extra for the privilege of 3D, so I just saw this in regular D (surely this gimmick isn’t going to last. Aren’t we at saturation point now?). In keeping with the style of the first two films, this Pixar feature is probably the least visually interesting since Cars, but one can see the advances made in other areas such as character physics and expressions.
I suppose I could tell you that this film takes place a fair while after the second – their owner is 17 now and the toys are wondering if there is Life After Andy – but then again, people are going to see this film regardless of the plot. There is a huge collection of new characters in Toy Story 3, though I never felt swamped because the characterisations are so clear cut (I just can’t begin to imagine the amount of work that goes into getting legal clearances to use the trademarked toys).
Some of the wonder may have dissipated, and after two previous films, the creators have to work harder to impress us with the amusing acrobatics employed by toys moving around a human world, but Toy Story 3 is still a solid feature. Basically, the last section of the film made me glad that they made a third entry for the franchise.