Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty
Director: Lee Unkrich
Few sequels live up to their original films, but the ‘Toy Story’ movies seem to get it right each time. ‘Toy Story 3’ is not only one of the best films you'll see this year, it's also the finest third instalment in any movie series since ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’. If the first two films were about Andy's attachment to his toys, this final one in the series is about the toys and their destiny without Andy.
Left in a chest for years, the toys know their fate is about to be decided when Andy, now a teenager, prepares to leave for college. Only Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), his oldest and favorite toy will accompany him to campus.
Fearing they might be thrown away into a dump truck, or left forgotten in Andy's attic, the rest of the toys sneak into a box of things that Andy intends to donate. So Buzz Lightyear, Jessie the cowgirl, Mr & Mrs Potato Head, Hamm the piggybank, Rex the dinosaur, and Barbie land up at the Sunnyside Daycare Centre for children, where they know at least they'll get attention from the little ones. The daycare center, as it turns out, is more like a prison camp where the older toys bully the newcomers until they plot a stunning, dramatic escape.
Funny, thrilling, scary and sad, ‘Toy Story 3’ packs in a countless number of impactful moments and scenes that arouse every conceivable emotion. The key themes of the ‘Toy Story’ films have always been friendship and loyalty, and this movie takes it further. The toys are confronted with the troubling dilemma of having to choose between their loyalty to Andy who doesn't need them anymore, and their resolve to stick firmly by each other's side through thick and thin.
The ‘Toy Story’ movies have always had some dark undertones, and that continues here. In one fantastic, edge-of-the-seat sequence, the toys find themselves staring death straight in the face; and while that scene is likely to disturb very young audiences, it also reveals just how much we have come to care for these characters.
Don't be embarrassed when your eyes brim with tears in the film's final 20 minutes, the most moving climax I've seen recently. To be fair, it's hard to think of a more satisfying ending to this series.
While ‘Toy Story 3’ isn't as groundbreaking and edgy as ‘Wall-E’, or as wildly unpredictable as ‘Up’, it's hard to deny how utterly convincing and engaging the story is, despite being fairly conventional. We're introduced to a bunch of new characters, my favorite being the seemingly jovial stuffed bear Lotso at the daycare center, who turns out to be the chief tyrant there. You also have Ken, the preening, fashion-conscious male doll who's rewarded with a hilarious romantic track opposite airhead Barbie.
Like the earlier two films, this one too I suspect will work for both kids and older audiences, who will embrace different things in the same film. It's been released widely in 3D, but the movie works perfectly without the extra dimension.
I'm going with four out of five for Pixar's ‘Toy Story 3’. You leave the cinema content with the way things have ended, but also a little sad that you're never going to meet these characters again.
Rating: 4 / 5
Review Winners: Bharat Kumar, Chennai and Nalain Qureshi, Thane