Posted by: Paul | August 5, 2010

Toy Story 3

We had our first cinema visit in about a year last night, but couldn’t have picked a better film to see right now.

I distinctly remember going to see the first ‘Toy Story’ – I was at Uni, and went in a little skeptical – would I enjoy this? Wasn’t it a film for kids? We all obviously know now what Pixar are capable of in terms of sophisticated storytelling and compelling characterisation in addition to the incredible visual quality of their movies, but back then it was all new. The first ever feature-length completely CGI movie. It looked amazing – but amazing has now become the norm for Pixar. Even so, compare the original Toy Story with the new movie and it’s clear how far things have moved on. The humans are necessarily still stylised, but the detail of everything else is incredible. Can’t wait to see it on a proper HD setup rather than slightly fuzzy cinema projection.

Anyway, Andy, owner of Woody, Buzz and co is now on his way to college, and putting away childish things. With mixed emotions he bags up his old friends, except Woody (who he intends to take to college – he’s clearly not quite ready to leave childhood behind completely), where they await a graceful retirement in the attic. A mix up leads to the gang being first thrown out, and then donated to a day nursery. At first it appears like a shangri-la, and I love the parallels between the nursery and a retirement community. I’m sure there’s at least one in America called ‘Sunnyside’. But quickly it becomes apparent that the ‘Caterpillar Room’ to which they are assigned by kindly old bear Lotso Huggin’, is purgatory for toys – it’s populated by two year olds!

I can relate here – the sight of Buzz Lightyear’s head being used to hammer pegs is very familiar! Adam is learning to treat his toys better but they are often thrown with force around the lounge.

When I heard Pixar were making TS3, I immediately thought it was a cash in. But, as much money as they are going to inevitably make for the Disney empire, it’s still a charming way to spend 100 minutes and rounds off the series in an eminently satisfying fashion. As usual there’s cleverness, there’s poignancy and there are hearty laughs aplenty – Spanish Buzz and Mr Cucumber Head are two particular highlights – but it’s in the consistency of characterisation where I found most enjoyment. The Toys, once again, are just fun to be around.

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