Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, 2010)


[Voices] Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Joan Cusack (Jessie), Ned Beatty (Lotso). Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Directed by Lee Unkrich. Rating: U. Running time: 103 minutes.

Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potatohead, Rex… these are just a few of the adorable characters that throw us right back into our childhoods, and remind us of how magically fun the original two Toy Story films were. Like their owner, Andy, we’ve grown up now, and like him we have headed for college. But somehow, someway, hearing ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’ playing to the sound of a Tom Hanks-voiced animated cowboy doesn’t just make us happy through memory of being a kid. It also makes us happy right here and right now, as full grown teenagers. Not in my wildest dreams did I expect to be saying that, having just walked out of a Pixar film at age eighteen. And that’s credit to how stunningly fun this film is.

The premise is simple: times are changing. As Andy vacates his room, his family of old toys fret they will be headed for the bin. Andy actually intends them just to be stored in the loft, but, through an unfortunate sequence of events, they all end up destined for a play school, where as fresh donations they expect to be cherished by a group of new children. They’re all ecstatic at the prospect, except for Woody. He can’t help but look at the name of his owner written on the bottom of his boot, and realise his and their obligations lie elsewhere. They must head back to where they belong.

When daycare turns out to be far from heaven, the other toys soon come round to a similar way of thinking. Barbie might be happy now she’s met Ken, but for everyone else, not only are the new kids maniacally young, hurling them around like anarchists, but all the toys there are governed by a seemingly benevolent, but in reality totalitarian, strawberry-smelling pink bear. He tweaks Buzz’s configurations so he becomes a straight-faced prison patrol guard, and when accompanied with the monkey on watch as eyes in the sky and robots encasing the perimeter with flashlights, our favourite toys seem destined to a life in confinement. Only through a perfectly apt and crazy adventure do they flee and successfully escape, heading back, naturally, to Andy’s bedroom where he once again can decide where he wishes their services to lie in the future.

It’s all so bright and beautifully colorful like all Pixar films, but not only is this true visually speaking. Toy Story 3 also, genuinely, gives you the biggest of smiles for the length of its duration. From Woody being hurled into a play-time session in which the other toys explain they ‘do a lot of improv,’ to Buzz being programmed into Spanish mode in his post-police patrol phase, making him devilishly romantic as he dances around to woo cowgirl Jessie… it’s all just wonderfully joyful stuff.

That improv group I mentioned joked about themselves heading for Cannes. Perhaps that’s a little ambitious, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I have been to find their dream come true, when Toy Story 3 no doubt makes it to film festivals all over the world in the up and coming months. Just keep it as Toy Story 3, full stop. Not Toy Story 3 3D.

2 Responses to “Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, 2010)”

  1. 1 Up (Pete Docter & Bob Peterson, 2009) « jacob williamson | thoughts on film
  2. 2 26 for late 2010, or early 2011 (Part 1) « jacob williamson | thoughts on film

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