Celebrating Great Films

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Toy Story 3

#9 at time of writing.

Wow. I haven't laughed out loud so often, and cried so hard, since... well, since Up. But if you exclude Pixar, since ever.

That's right. I'm a grown man and I bawled my eyes out.

Pixar are the masters - nay, the gods - of story. With Toy Story 3, they once again excel themselves. There is not one moment that allows your attention to flag, and the plot masterfully achieves that most challenging of goals (as taught by Terry Rossio): it's decisive, set-up, inevitable and yet genuinely unexpected.

This wonderful threequel complements and augments the first two films beautifully, whilst simultaneously laying a fair claim to being one of the best animated movies ever. Indeed, IMDb voters have propelled it into the top 10 movies of all time, of any genre. (With Inception currently at #3, July 2010 is proving to be a month of astonishingly high-quality film releases, at least as far as IMDb voters are concerned.)

The emotional core of Toy Story 3 is provided by the question: What happens to Andy's toys when he grows too old to play with them? A typical Pixar mix of loss, jealousy, hope and high-jinks follows, with an ending that will reconnect you to your inner child - and perhaps have your real children wondering why you are sniffling and teary-eyed over a bunch of toys.

Thank goodness Pixar and Disney made up. When they split over creative differences in 2004-2005, Disney started up an animation division titled 'Circle 7 Animation,' which would have been in charge of churning out sequels for Pixar films without consulting Pixar. The original plot for Toy Story 3 was going to be about Buzz Lightyear having a defect and being shipped to Taiwan to be fixed, and the other toys shipping themselves to Taiwan to rescue him. Judging by Disney's decidedly mediocre record with sequels, we should be grateful that Pixar are back in charge.

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