After 10 critically and commercially successful animated films, Pixar have established themselves as one of the foremost animation studios in the world, only to be rivalled by the likes of Studio Ghibli and Dreamworks Animation. Not only do Pixar distribute world-renowned films, but they’re also able to find the perfect mix of adult and child humour to entertain all demographics, something which some live-action films fail to achieve.
Toy Story 3’s release comes 11 years after Toy Story 2 hit cinema screens back in 1999, and finds Andy, now 17-years-old, departing for college, with his toys finding themsevles shipped off to a daycare centre known as Sunnyside. Old favourites Woody, Buzz, et al return for the final film, with new character in the form of the play-things found at the Sunnyside daycare centre, headed up by Lots-o’-Huggin’-Bear. The new toys are a perfect addition to an already wondrous line-up of toys. How Pixar keep coming up with new and inventive ideas is beyond me, but they never fail to capture, as well as dazzle, audiences around the world with their imaginative creations.
Sunnyside, despite the utopian facade, isn’t the safe haven the toys had hoped for, and it’s up to Woody to devise a cunning plan to help them escape and return to Andy before he departs for college. What ensues it a perfect quick-beat escape montage, mad-cap action sequences and hilarious setups, one in particular featuring Mr Potato Head.
Despite the heavy marketing surrounding the new Ken toy, with Michael Keaton providing excellent comic-timing, stealing the film, all characters are given ample screen-time, with a send-off that will have you wishing you’d brought tissues. It’s another example of how cutting-edge Pixar is as an animation studio, pushing the boundaries of the genre, whilst making their films funny and appealing to people of all demographics. It’s especially important with Toy Story 3, which comes 15 years after these incredible characters were first introduced to audiences. That audience, as well as the film, have moved on, so it’s wonderful to be able to see that change and growth reflected in the films tone, plot, attention-to-detail and character relations.
I was a little worried when I first read they were going to make Toy Story 3, mainly because I wasn’t entirely sure if they’d be able to match the success of the first two but, it’s with wondrous delight to say it’s honestly everything I hoped for, and more. From the ingenious opening sequences, to the final send-off, Toy Story 3 is a fitting, touching, funny and honest way to end one of the most beloved, and inspiring, franchises of all time. To this day, with 11 feature films in the bag, I marvel at everything Pixar has ever produced. Even the short, Night & Day, shown before before the feature film, displays how far animation has come in the past 15 years, and takes a nod at both 2D, the technology of the past, as well as 3D, the technology that will push directors to achieve greater things in the days and years to come. Pixar, I salute you.
Toy Story 3 was everything I wanted, and more. Funny, touching and assuring; the perfect ending to a marvellous trilogy.