I’m not sure where to being with a review of the new entry in such a beloved series. It’s hard to believe that it has been 15 years since the original Toy Story. The original is a film that was truly revolutionary and kicked off not only a string of monster hits for a little design studio known as Pixar but also changed the face of animated films forever. Much has changed since then; Pixar is no longer a fledgling independent shop after basking in the glory of hit after hit, then being purchased by Disney a few years back. Of course 3D computer animated films are the norm instead of the exception these days. Fortunately one thing that hasn’t changed: our favorite gang of misfit toys.
I truly adore the characters of Toy Story. It’s funny how I hadn’t realized how much I’ve missed them until the family and I revisited Toy Story and Toy Story 2 when they were released in a 3D double feature last year. That was a great day at the theater but it left me wanting more. After all I had already seen those two films at least 10 times each. I knew Toy Story 3 was in the works but part of me wondered if the Pixar touch would wear off.
It brings me great joy to report Pixar has done the franchise proud and has stuck to the most important thing of all, story. A directive that Pixar’s head, John Lasseter, has always preached and I believe the true reason Pixar has never had a flop.
As I’m sure as you know by now Toy Story 3′s plot revolves around Andy growing up and heading to college and thanks to a series of unfortunate events the “gang” end up at a daycare. Suffice to say there’s a lot more to the story and in the spirit of not spoiling anything that’s all I’m going to mention about the plot. Okay one small detail; I’ll just say you’ll never look at a flour tortilla the same way again.
Animation wise Toy Story 3 delivers everything you’d expect from Pixar at this stage in the game. They continue to adhere to the now familiar Pixar style but 15 years of new technology has been good. Most notably changed are the human characters, what a huge difference between 1, 2 & 3. Concerning the 3D visuals of the film I’m very thankful that Pixar continues to do 3D viewing justice. Just like UP and the first 2 Toy Stories (which were redone done in 3D) Pixar wisely stays away from the usual 3D viewing gimmicks (mostly stuff flying towards you). Pixar’s approach to 3D viewing seems more natural by adding depth to the film while avoiding those 3D pitfalls. I think this approach is the best type of 3D for the viewer because it does not pull you out of the story by screaming, “hey look at me, I’m a cool 3D shot.”
Toy Story 3 really pulls out all of the stops. From a visually breathtaking and exciting opening sequence to the heartfelt story that speaks to the grown up kid, as well as parents raising kids, Toy Story 3 is a rare gem that manages to be equal to the first 2 films while reminding us of the specialness of childhood no matter your age.
Bottom Line: 3rd times a charm, bring a hankie if you’re easily touched by sentimentality. Yes, that means I cried… just a little.
Rated G: In theaters now.