Monday, July 12, 2010
Toy Story 3
Directed by: Lee Unkrich
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty
There’s something about the Toy Story franchise that is universally emotive. Presumably that “something” is the fact that everyone had toys as a child. Toys taught us how to love. Not loving someone because they are related to us, or because they live on our street and happen to be our age, but because we feel a connection to them. Now, as grown-ups, we all know that toys are only toys and our love is wasted on them. I suppose that’s what is so haunting about these films. They remind us all of that part of ourselves that left us many years ago, and dredge up guilty feelings about old Rebecca the Christmas Bear who now sits, dusty in the attic somewhere...if she’s lucky.
Toy Story 3 deals with just that idea. It is about what happens to the toys when Andy grows up. The film begins with the toys in a typically epic adventure. It is complex, it involves teamwork and it could be dangerous. As it turns out, the toys are plotting a very complicated ploy to get Andy to play with them. He is 19 now, and headed off to college. The toys have been sitting in their chest for years now, without being played with at all. When a chain of events see the toys accidentally donated to a day-care facility, the race is on for the toys to be reunited with their owner before he leaves for college.
If the first film was sci-fi, the second was a western then this is a prison movie. Their “great escape” is just as exciting and fresh as the previous two outings and certainly just as hilarious. However, what makes this film special is that it balances heartbreak and loss with warm-hearted sentiment so it never feels depressing, but certainly has a sense of tragedy looming throughout. We know there can be no happy ending and that whatever comes our way in the third act will make us sad, but the journey there is so joyous that the tone never gets too blue.
Writing about Toy Story 3 is difficult because it is not about the little bits of clever writing and brilliantly realised characters or perfectly balance sense of humour. This film is so much more than the sum of its parts. It accomplishes what so few children’s films can. It gives equal pleasure to children and grown-ups. It manages to entertain but also make the audience feel truly invested in the fate of these characters...these toys! No easy task!
This is perfect popcorn viewing for all the family and I dare you to sit through this film without at least a small lump in your throat. If this film doesn’t make your heart simultaneously jump for joy and burst with emotion, you’re made of stone!
- Charlene Lydon