The 2010 summer blockbuster season continues with a return to Andy’s room in comedic adventure flick Toy Story 3.
After a decade away from UK cinema screens (save some fancy 3D re-releases in the past year) Woody and the gang are up to their old tricks once more.
Andy, who’s voiced by John Morris (the same chap as in the first two films and now a 25 year-old!), is leaving for college and his beloved toys don’t want to be forgotten or thrown away.
Despite their best efforts the gang can’t tear Andy’s attention away from the all-too-familiar vices of modern life and after a mix-up they find themselves being donated to a daycare centre.
Here there’s a host of new, and often familiar, characters, but things aren’t as ‘sunny’ at Sunnyside as they seem.
In typical Disney (well…Pixar) style the story unfolds as organically as a modern fairytale, with some impressive little touches showing the depth of their characters, such as Jessie’s claustrophobia from her trauma in TS2.
The climax swaps the airport setting from its predecessor for a waste disposal plant, frighteningly realised as the fiery Hell on Earth for all toys, as well as alluding to the chilling dystopia from previous work Wall.E, but on a far larger (relative) scale.
The villain of the piece Lotso’ Huggin’ Bear pushes the limit on evil as well as teaching Disney’s usual lesson about why jealousy and bitterness are bad.
Stand-out character is easily Michael Keaton’s Ken, who defines the modern ‘metrosexual’ stereotype with some unusual fashion choices, while pig money box Hamm is graced with his usual selection of cynical quips and Buzz finds a whole new level of comedy after a botched factory reset…
With the rivalry between Woody and Buzz long forgotten the team work together seemlessly as the film builds to a climax with an incredibly touching moment as they are held on the brink of oblivion.
This proves to be only a hint at what’s to come though as the final coda sets tear ducts on maximum as the characters and audience alike say goodbye to a group of characters who they’ve known for over 15 years.
While some suggest the film is merely a vehicle for further merchandising; it’s obvious writers John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich (who also directed) have put heart and conviction into this (surely) final chapter to a series which sparked the beginning of a new age of animation.
James Michael Parry