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Toy Story 3 review

by Andy Gibbons

Alright, I know it isn’t out here for over a month but, with Toy Story 3 opening in the US this week, the review embargo has now been lifted and I can’t wait any longer to tell you what I think of it. I’ve tried to keep things as spoiler free as possible so here we go….

What is it?

The third (and final?) part of Pixar’s flagship franchise in which aging Cowboy doll Woody must face up to the fact that his beloved Andy is growing up and moving on.

Set the best part of a decade after Toy Story 2, it’s obvious that the years haven’t been kind to Woody, Buzz and their friends – those who haven’t been given away or sold at yard sales lie abandoned and seemingly forgotten in a trunk in Andy’s room. And to make matters worse, the toys sense that the end is very much nigh as their teenage owner starts to pack for college. But just as it seems they’re all set for an eternity in the attic, a mistake sees the toys donated to Sunnyside Daycare centre where a lifetime of being played with is all but guaranteed. But it soon becomes apparent that the kids in the Caterpillar Room aren’t as loving as Andy while some of the other Sunnyside toys are less cuddly than they first appear…


What’s good?

Just about everything. As well as most of the characters we know and love from the first two films, there’s a whole host of newbies to enjoy here from the plush and soft Sunnyside veteran Lotso (voiced by Ned Beatty) to the vain and wonderful Ken (Michael Keaton), whose blossoming relationship with Barbie is a joy to watch. And the older characters certainly get their moments in the sun too – Hamm is as dry and off the bone than ever and Spanish Buzz’s dancing provides a nice distraction. But the real triumph here is the heart that comes across both in the story and production – you can feel the passion the folks at Pixar have for their work and that certainly helps give things a real emotional depth.

What’s bad?

I guess the only real problem here is that given the film’s 100 mins or so running time, some of the characters get fairly short shrift such as Timothy Dalton’s Germanic thesp Mr. Pricklepants. Also, and this could either be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view point, Toy Story 3 can get rather dark at times – Sunnyside’s enforcer Big Baby and the all-action finale may be a bit much for very young viewers.

So basically…..

There must have been a huge amount of pressure on director Lee Unkrich’s shoulders to keep the Toy Story series on top of its game and fortunately he’s done Pixar proud. He’s interwoven an exciting host of new characters with an, at times, epic adventure but manages to never lose sight of what is at the core of these films – the relationship between Woody and Andy. I’d be lying if I said a little tear didn’t creep out towards the end of the film and you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved during the final ten minutes. It may have been 11 years between Toy Story 2 and 3 but it’s certainly been worth the wait.


Toy Story 3 is in UK cinemas from July 19th.


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