Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Toy Story 3: The perfect end to a fantastic trilogy

Pixar is known to not do sequels unless the creators themselves are confident that they can reproduce the same quality. In fact, they stuck up their fingers to Disney, who really wanted to milk the popularity of the original film with a second and third film. There were false starts, and fights over who was in control. Pixar studios, though legitimately bought and owned by Disney have maintained their own autonomy and continued to produce films that have not experienced failures. I've not seen Cars or The Incredibles (yet! don't hurt me!) but I'm not oblivious to their success.

After Up and Wall-e, there was the worry amongst some that Pixar wouldn't be able to make this 'threequal'' match up. But that worry is gallons of water under the bridge.

The Plot

Barring some of the love interests and extra toys from the previous two films, either cause of voice actor deaths or for whatever reason, all the main characters were there and sporting their familiar voices. However their environment is about to change; Andy is 17. He's got weird music posters covering the nostalgic cloudy sky wallpaper, and a mobile phone, and the dog, Buster, is oooooold and fat. Molly has an iPod and is a sulky little sister. Mum has a sensible hair cut and is a good head shorter than Andy. The toys have been in the toy box for years, and are getting anxious as Andy prepares to go to college.

After a mix-up, the toys are donated to the local day care centre, which is a magical looking world, perfect for play-longing toys such as these. However one day in the day care with under 3s and their view of the day care is quite altered. As is the behaviour of the toys that allocated them to the under 3s room.
It is a prison run by the at-first cuddly Care Bear that smells of Strawberries, Lotso.

Woody helps to save the day, with twists and turns in his way, as he and the other toys make their way back to Andy, whom they realise didn't mean to donate them in the first place.

The Effects, Delivery and Script

I saw it in 3D. Had to, what with it being the final film and promised to be amazing. And it was. Ok, it'll probably be just as good in 2D, but with some of the effects, it was really worth seeing at least once in it's 3D glory. I genuinely winced when the toys got battered or splattered by toddlers, or when Woody fell from a hang glider.

It's delivery was perfect, and there was nothing forced or ''it's the last film'' feeling as the actors, creators and characters all went through their experiences. There were inter-trilogy jokes and references, and I was grateful I'd watched the first two films last night, since I'm sure some of them I wouldn't have remembered. The start of the film witnesses a very similar play of Andy in the first film, but pre-Buzz, Mrs Potato Head, Pizza Planet Aliens, Bullseye and Jessie. The words were otherwise pretty much identical, with the Dog-with-an-in-built-force-field and the Dinosaur that eats forcefield dog, and One-Eyed Bart and Evil Porkchop. Instead, though, of the hands directing this scene in the Grand Canyon, we had the amazing film-style scenery and effects, as imagined by Andy as he directed the exchange.  Buzz even warns the newly donated toys to be wary, as the day care toys "might be jealous of new toys".
They mention Bo Peep (no longer there) and Etch, and Wheezy. The aliens also maintain their reverence of The Claw, and their eternal gratefulness to Mr Potato Head, who saved their lives.

The script was humourous and touching. There was enough of it to go on so that the action scenes did not appear to be packed in, using the fondness of the previous two films to carry it through to a block buster hit.

And what scenes there were. It was amazing, and I personally particularly enjoyed 'The Great Escape' from Sunnyside - no, it wasn't like that old war film, fortunately. It was more like Mission Impossible, but with more gags and less dynamite and Tom Cruise. It is somewhat amazing that they executed the feat on such limited plan time.

Overall Impression

It was fun, nostalgic and funny. It contained romance, danger, conviction and even an Hispanic moment.
It was well worth seeing, if you liked the first two films, and definitely suited for anybody of any age. Though I guess maybe some of those under 10s might have found one or two scenes a little disturbing.

By the way, watch out for the Easter Eggs - one is a Totoro, symbolising Disney's relations with Studio Ghibli, and also Pixar founder John Lasseter's personal friendship with Hayao Miyazaki.
But there are many more, which can be spoiled here.

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