Film Review + trailer: Toy Story 3 (U)By Kim Francis
July 21, 2010
Stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shaw, Timothy Dalton, Michael Keaton
Audiences wait with bated breath for Pixar animations. Arguably, the most keenly anticipated of all is the latest in the Toy Story series of animated features.
Toy Story 3 lands at UK cinemas this week and is as eagerly awaited by grown-ups as it is by the youngest of whippersnappers.
The computer-generated cartoon opens with a captivating sequence from Andy’s imagination. Caught on home video, we see a young Andy act out a far-fetched playtime sequence with his toys that captures perfectly what it’s like to create child-like invented worlds and how immersed in those mindscapes children can become.
It’s a stark contrast to Andy now. He’s 17 years old and about to head off to college. When his mum insists he clear his room of things to throw away, things to take with him and things to store in the attic, he reluctantly bundles up all his old toys for storage.
But his mum mistakes them for trash and the toys – Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Slinky Dog (Blake Clark) et al – find themselves put out for the garbage truck. The toys evade the gnashing jaws of the dust cart but, feeling abandoned, they hitch a ride to the local day care centre where they hope to find feelings of joy and usefulness in the hands of a new set of caring children.
Little do they realise that they’ve just jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
As Woody finally makes them see that they were not unloved, they embark on their journey back to Andy.
See more film trailers on getreading.co.uk
Most second sequels fall way short of the original but for many animated films, the standard of any follow-up remains high.
Pixar animations in particular have a high strike rate and Toy Story 3 is no different.
Obviously crafted with love, each Pixar release is imbued with the heart and soul of its creators, giving the unmistakeable impression that each film is made first and foremost for themselves.
With target market and box office takings seemingly secondary, Pixar always come up trumps with a finely detailed, cleverly and wittily scripted piece that is universally admired and adored.
But although Toy Story 3 is, as expected, a wonderful film, it doesn’t quite hit the standards set by previous works. With characters and a concept that has already been stretched for an initial sequel, it’s inevitable that original ideas are going to be harder to come by and as such, Toy Story 3 feels a little tired and a little less smart.
However, some entertaining new characters – English thesp-a-like hedgehog Mr Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), the scary-looking Big Baby and Barbie love interest Ken (Michael Keaton) bring humour and entertainment value while the 3D format also adds something new, even if it doesn’t quite work (colours are deadened, while 3D glasses act as a barrier between audience and story, slightly lessening the story’s emotional impact).
The film’s final 15 minutes are nevertheless tear-jerking as themes of loss, acceptance of change, transition to adulthood and the relinquishing of childhood things are brought to the forefront.
Whether or not Toy Story 4 is on the cards remains to be seen but while many will love to see Woody and co return for a fourth time, you can’t help but think that Pixar’s creative juices would be best applied to a whole new adventure.