Wednesday, 4 August 2010

FILM REVIEW: Toy Story 3

There's a moment during the original Toy Story which makes me wring my hands and twist my arms because I can't control the flood of emotion that overwhelms me when a) Buzz sits in the van and puts his seat-belt on (the 'awwwwww' factor is through the roof) and b) when Buzz realises he can't fly. It's this moment that I look back on and realise how unstoppably penetrating Pixar are in reducing you to pieces by a single look, or event - they've done it since with Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, Up - and they've done it again with Toy Story 3. There's something about neglecting a friend, the nostalgia surrounding a toy, the sentimentality attached to years of memories that runs so deep you're not only crying for the characters on the screen but for your own puny self as well. Ohhhh the bawling. But we'll talk about that achingly beautiful end scene later. Let's get onto the rest of the offering.

Ken was by far the best thing about this film. Spanish Buzz was also a treat - as was the back story of Chuckles the Clown - but it was Ken who stole the show as the shallow, spangly-wearing villain of the Dreamhouse. He was relentlessly hilarious in his movements, motivations and his relationship with Barbie - it was a great inclusion from Pixar who seem to have gone through all the classic toys in the series of films. Michael Keaton is brilliant putting the voice to him as well.

The story itself was cleverly put together - I love how they obviously spend a great deal of time imagining the key moments of a toy's life, just as you would identify the defining moments of a teenager. The evil toys, even though they were selfish and unkind, had a heart to them as well because of their back story of being abandoned and then replaced. I did like how they attempted to redeem Lotso, but then revealed that he hadn't changed at all and gave him a deserved ending. Pixar don't just play by the storybook rules and that's why adults and kids alike adore all their films. (for the record, I loved Big Baby! I thought he was misunderstood and needed loving...not scary at all!)

The ending was so lovely it was unbearable! Not only was lil Bonnie the cutest thing, but seeing a 17 year old lad sit down and play with her hit every soft spot in my body, and I blubbed. A LOT. Damn Pixar for knowing all our weaknesses! But even before that, when the toys are about to fall into the furnace and they all stare at each other and without speaking clasp hands - that got me going even then!

It was great to have the gang back, and none of it felt tired, or recycled, or unnecessary. It's just as good as the previous two, and a great way to finally end things with Andy going off to college and the toys finding a new home with Bonnie. I did however have times of feeling I was getting a bit old for this - especially the chase scenes, and some of the more predictable twists. But it still made me laugh and cry in equal measure, and that's more than most other live action films can achieve.

Lots of fun and a credible treequel, Toy Story 3 is everything you would expect - plus Ken and his snazzy shirts and sunglasses. Campaign for Ken to get his own TV spin-off begins here!

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