Review for Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3 is possibly one of the most anticipated sequels since The Phantom Menace (I'll ignore the bitter aftertaste of Indiana Jones) and unlike that film, this film met and exceeded all expectations. Woody, Buzz and the gang and a whole host of new characters showed us just why Toy Story and Pixar are the dominant force in CGI films and if this film doesn't win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Woody will eat his hat!
It is many years since Toy Story 2 and Andy is off to college. The toys have not been played with for a long time and his Mother has told him to put them in the attic, donate them or put them in the trash. Mistakenly they are donated to Sunnyside Day Care which is run by Lotso (Ned Beaty) a seemingly friendly, strawberry-smelling bear, aided by a number of other toys including Ken (Michael Keaton), who is not a girl's toy!! The only person who thinks they should escape this unlimited playtime is Woody, who believes they are and always will be Andy's toys. The toys soon find out that Sunnyside isn't the haven they thought it would as they are played with by kids who, shall we say, are a little boisterous. Escaping, Woody is found by Bonnie a little girl who introduces him to her collection of toys including a wonderful Mr Pricklepants (played by Timothy Dalton) and it is here that he finds out the truth about Lotso and plans to rescue Buzz and his friends and return them to Andy where they belong.
Toy Story 3 is just magical. This film is pitched a little between the heart of the first one and the saccharine sweetness of the second and it is perfect. Hearing Tom Hanks as Woody and Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear it is almost like they haven't been away and the rest of the cast old and new are wonderful, particularly Kristen Schaal as Trixy a computer obsessed dinosaur. The animation is as wonderful as you would expect from Pixar and the updates to the character's design is not as distracting as I thought it would be. Randy Newman's score is wonderful and thankfully he did not crank up the sugar when it came to the ending. One of the best parts is the reworking of 'Friend in Me' with a Spanish twang to go along with the wonderful Spanish-Buzz (You'll see!).
The three disks (one DVD and two Blu-ray) are packed full of special features and though I should be positive about all this, I really can't. This set is a mess. Three versions of the film are included (WOW I'm sure you're thinking) well, no, actually it isn't. The first disk includes the film and then the second disk includes the film again with a commentary and then with a Cine-Explore feature which shows you little pieces and extra info as it goes along. Now why they didn't include the commentary on the first disk as an alternate audio track is beyond me. This would have freed up space on the second disk for more features. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
The documentaries (though they can be watched altogether) are all five to ten minute featurettes and so it feels at times that they are really unable to go into details on some things and so much of the 'creation' is throwaway stuff. The inclusion of the Night and Day short is great and some of the other elements such as Ken's dating tips, the behind the scenes of the voice over work (again far too short) and some of the other features are great. However, the other problem is finding them as they are split into three sections and rather than including all 'making ofs' together and then all the 'kid related' ones together, but they are all over the place and you may find yourself having to look hard for a particular feature. The two commentary tracks are pretty good and full of interesting stories an d the Cine-Explore is a nice way of showing some of the storyboards and sketches and the reasons behind certain changes.
Toy Story 3 is an amazing film that is fun for all ages. Anybody who has seen the first two will love it and anybody who hasn't will want to after seeing all the fun, laughs and heart that this film has to offer. Everyone will love this… to infinity and beyond!