Whenever a new feature film from Pixar Animation Studios nears its release date, there’s a foreboding fear building up inside that it just might turn out to be their very first dud. Yet against all odds, all this animation studio has managed to do time n again is to defy every expectation for it continues to set entirely new benchmarks for its medium with its unique blend of emotional storytelling & groundbreaking animation to further cement its legacy as the finest film studio of its kind on the planet.
Back in 1995, Pixar made history with its debut feature Toy Story; the first ever fully computer-generated film in motion picture history. It didn’t just change the animation process, it changed the entire animation industry. Then in 1999, Toy Story 2 followed which many still consider to be even better than the original. And finally in 2010, after 10 successful films & 15 years since their first picture, Pixar released Toy Story 3 which didn’t just outshine its predecessors but remains their best film to date.
Keeping alive the tradition of coming up with stories that are at the forefront of quality as well as entertainment, Toy Story 3 continues Pixar’s unprecedented run of critical & commercial success and is the very pinnacle of their creativity, imagination & passion for storytelling. While it also applies to their previous films as well, the best thing about this feature is the uncanny manner with which the bright minds at Pixar have balanced the emotional weight of its drama with outrageous moments of comedy & action.
Bringing back on screen what actually put this animation studio on the map, Toy Story 3 tells the story of Andy’s toys who now face a very uncertain future as Andy is grown-up & soon will be off to college. However, when the toys are mistakenly donated to a day-care center, the environment seems perfect to them at first but they soon discover that the haven-looking place is actually a prison run by Lotso & his henchmen. With one day left before Andy leaves, it is up to Woody to rescue his friends & return home just in time.
Directed by Lee Unkrich, I was slightly skeptical at first with John Lasseter not directing but every doubt was soon put to rest for Unkrich has crafted it with the same sincerity, care & dedication with which Lasseter crafted the first two. The film opens with a bang & from there on, smoothly unfolds its narrative without losing the provided momentum or its grip on the audience. The script is pretty much flawless & despite being a sequel, it has enough strength to work as a standalone film. Plus, it’s perfect in every other aspect.
The 3D animation is unquestionably the most refined of all three films & the meticulous attention given to the smallest of details is worthy of admiration. Cinematography makes fantastic use of camera angles, colour composition, lighting & shadows and everything on screen looks truly gorgeous. Editing provides an ideal pace to the plot & not a frame of its 103 minutes of runtime feels irrelevant. And finally we have Randy Newman who once again delivers a warm, adventurous & mesmerising soundtrack that seamlessly fits.
Coming to its beloved characters, it was such a satisfying feeling to discover that none of them have lost their flares even though more than a decade had passed since Toy Story 2. Woody is as amazing as ever and same goes for Jessie, the Potato Heads, Hamm, Rex & Slinky Dog but I must admit that this sequel has the funniest Buzz Lightyear of all three features. And their chemistry with each other is absolutely spot on. The new characters effortlessly integrate into the storyline & it’s safe to assume that no toy was left behind.
While it’s easy to put a label of adventure or comedy on it, Toy Story 3 is a prison drama in more ways than one & is certainly amongst that genre’s finest examples. It offers a lot of fun, laughs, entertainment & satisfaction and is a roller-coaster ride that’s got action, drama, comedy, adventure, suspense, romance & emotions, all blended into one. Plus the way its story merges with its animation, photography & music is sheer delight, examples include the incinerator sequence as well as its opening & closing moments, that are sure to leave many with profound sense of emotions.
We all have a very deep connection to our early days & that’s where this third chapter in the Toy Story saga leads us to; Back in time when toys were our best pals & meant the world to us. The time spent playing with these plastic little things is what shaped up our childhood & if this film manages to evoke those treasured moments within you & sort of makes you want to thank these playthings for enriching those days, then Toy Story 3 has done its job. It’s magical for kids, nostalgic for adults & concludes on such an ideal note that it’s a picture-perfect way for Woody & his friends to say their goodbyes.
On an overall scale, Toy Story 3 is the best film of its year, the best chapter of its series, the best that Pixar has come up with to date & one of the finest achievements of its genre as well as medium that’s extraordinary enough to rank amongst the greatest films of all time. And along with both Toy Story & Toy Story 2, it also finishes as one of the most beloved, honoured & acclaimed film trilogies of all time. Marking the final high for its legendary studio & their 11th consecutive win on both critics & box-office meter, Toy Story 3 takes Pixar’s unprecedented run of all-round success to infinity & beyond.