Toy Story 3 review

It has been a good year for animation. Up took it to a new emotional level with its fable about friendship, love, living-for-the-moment and helping/relying on others. Anyone who didn’t cry in the first 15 minutes has a heart made of granite. Then came Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – a wittily scripted and truly madcap comedy about raining hamburgers. The latter was, in fact, winning the race to be film of the year at Bobby Six headquarters (not just animated film of the year, film film of the year), until, one rainy afternoon in early July, Pixar dropped their latest bomb. And not just any bomb. Toy Story 3.

Because Toy Story 2 was so close to perfection, it was always going to be tough for this third instalment to live up to expectations. And it has been a really long time coming too… surely it wouldn’t be worth the wait. Well, gloriously, the toys are back in town and their adventures are every bit as good as the two films that came before. In fact, Toy Story 3 might just be the best of the bunch.

Seeing the likes of Woody and Buzz on screen again offers the warmth and familiarity of delving into your own childhood toy box, and there are also new characters to enjoy, not least a vacuous Ken doll voiced, brilliantly, by Michael Keaton. Visually, the movie is stunning (at times you have to remind yourself that Andy is not a real boy, so lifelike are his skin tones and the way he moves). The story whizzes along at pace, with moments of humour punctuating exciting and inventive set pieces. There is laugh-out-loud hilarity (and not the tiresome in-gags that have littered other animated movies, but, rather, well-crafted and perfectly-delivered jokes) and, importantly, there are tear-inducing moments too.

Like the aforementioned Up and Cloudy…, Toy Story 3 has clearly been crafted with genuine loving care, rather than having its dots joined by accountants and marketing executives. It is a work of art, and as perfect an example of storytelling with a heart as you are likely to find.

As an aside, because I chose to see the film in 2D, I found myself having to attend an afternoon showing as there were no evening screenings on that or any other day, whereupon I was herded to a tiny room at the very far corner of the multiplex. The screen was the size of a postage stamp and the audio seemed to coming through speakers with the same power as a pair of ipod headphones. I’m sure those who paid double to see the film in 3D watched it on a massive screen and with beautifully clear surround sound, but, if cinemas are going to charge exorbitant prices for 3D movies, then surely they have a duty to provide as good an experience as is possible for those who can’t afford it. Am I wrong?