Toy Story 3
(PG) Voice talents of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack
Excellence in storytelling has always been Pixar’s raison d’être. CEO John Lasseter has been reported on many occasions as saying great storytelling has been the key to the unbroken success of the studio.
Pixar is the studio Buzz and Woody built. The first Toy Story film began a revolution in animation which has informed every family entertainment film since.
Although sequels are often greeted with a sort of stoic acceptance these days and the realisation that diminishing returns water down the original, the last Toy Story sequel was able to top the first with new characters and themes.
It has been ten years since we’ve caught up with the gang. This latest instalment has everyone moving on and is a fitting bookend to the franchise.
Over the years the toy gang has thinned, but the old faithfuls remain: Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bullseye, Rex, Barbie, Slinky Dog, Hamm the piggy bank, Mr and Mrs Potato Head and the Alien zealots are hanging out in the toy box in the hopes they will be noticed by Andy.
When Andy’s mother instructs him to clean up his room and mistakenly puts the bag of toys in the garbage clean up, the action really starts for the gang.
They narrowly escape being landfill only to end up at the Sunnyside Day Care Centre; a place ruled by the furry fist of Lotso Hugs Bear. At first Sunnyside seems like the place they can spend their retirement happily until they discover Lotso sends new toys into the toddler room in the complex where toy mangling and chewing is the order of the day.
Suffice it to say whereas previous outings have been rescue missions, this time around the story seems to be more of a prison break.
Woody’s loyalty to his friends and Andy seems torn as he has to decide what lies ahead: should he go with Andy to college or embrace his uncertain future?
It’s here the film finds its emotional heart — Woody has always loved Andy and the fact that he would want to spend years in the attic waiting to be played with by Andy’s children speaks volumes about the relationship that’s been developed over the course of three movies.
Just like Andy’s need to hang on to the toys that he grew up with, the film celebrates the child within and the need to move on with life, but it especially highlights love and loyalty through Woody’s strong bond with Andy.