Toy Story 3

Review by Ailsa Caine

Directed by

Lee Unkrich

Starring

Joan Cusack Tim Allen Tom Hanks

Anticipation.

They’ve been back on form, but can Pixar really get more mileage from Toy Story?

Enjoyment.

In a word: yes. Pixar’s pixie dust has worked its magic.

In Retrospect.

By their high standards this isn’t the best, but by anyone else’s, it’s close to perfection.

The third film in Pixar’s flagship franchise is a satisfying if familiar farewell to old friends.

There’s not much Pixar tends to get wrong, serving up films that are both technologically impressive and chock-full of soul, story and character. Their latest ventures have even braved the murky complexities of life, death and relationships with heart-wrenching success. However, with Toy Story 3, we’re back on dangerously familiar territory: revisiting the characters that made them famous, the Pixar gang need to do something special if they’re not to be outshone by their own success.

Owner Andy is all grown up and preparing to leave for college. Relegated to the storage box, Woody and friends find themselves inadvertently donated to the day care centre, and so begins their quest to head back home. With villains in the shape of an overgrown baby and a bear that smells of strawberries, Pixar have definitely injected the froth back into the formula, but where Up really did have something for everyone, Toy Story 3 adheres strictly to kids-only conventions.

At least Pixar haven’t been distracted by 3D. As well as being visually stunning, Toy Story 3 still boasts acutely observed humour, alongside the nuance and detail that have always been the hallmarks of Pixar’s writing. Certainly, the technology hasn’t been used as an excuse for lazy narrative tricks.

It’s rare that a franchise survives more than one iteration with integrity intact. It’s rarer still that it does so when it has guaranteed bums on seats and a stupendous amount of cash in the offering. And yet the Toy Story brand hasn’t succumbed to a pile ‘em high, sell ’em cheap sensibility. Inevitably, the premise has lost some of its sparkle, but with the dialogue sharp and the performances charismatic, Toy Story 3 is a satisfying if not surprising farewell to old friends.

Published 17 Jun 2010

Tags: John Lasseter Lee Unkrich Pixar Tom Hanks

Anticipation.

They’ve been back on form, but can Pixar really get more mileage from Toy Story?

Enjoyment.

In a word: yes. Pixar’s pixie dust has worked its magic.

In Retrospect.

By their high standards this isn’t the best, but by anyone else’s, it’s close to perfection.

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