172 of 217 people found the following review helpful
A worthy completion of a classic trilogy
, June 12, 2010
This review is from: Toy Story 3 (DVD)
I went to the San Francisco Film Festival screening at Pixar Studios last night not really knowing what to expect. Toy Story has been with us for 15 years now (20, in terms of actual development) and I had a sinking feeling that maybe all the character potential had been used in the first two and this was some shameless plot by Disney to exploit the franchise ("Little Mermaid 3", anyone?). Well, shame on me for underestimating the capabilities of Pixar, who once again have shown how a small studio in Emeryville is a storytelling powerhouse that leaves the rest of the industry in the dust.
Toy Story 3 is the tale of Andy, the toys' owner, going to college and their quest to determine their future - headed between the attic or a daycare center. If you've enjoyed the way the first two films blend character drama with innovative action and humor, this cocktail hits its stride in the third film, which draws on everything we already know about the characters and then adds two new entire sets of toys to the plot. There's a new villain, two very amusing romance sub-plots and a litany of visual gags that push the envelope even further. I'm not allowed to go into any details but the second half of the film is a familiar set piece performed in a completely new way that will forever change your view of certain toys and day care centers.
Apart from a level of animation that sets the bar in the industry and an attention to detail that makes you wonder what most "real" films actually do in pre-production, the real genius of the third film is to provide a satisfying conclusion that gives every character a completed character arc. About 20 minutes before the end, I was wondering how they would do this since there were some fairly dark moments (similar to those in Wall-E and Up), but naturally they manage to pull it together. There's literally not a single wasted shot, let alone a wasted scene, and the pace quickens throughout to keep the tension mounting.
Overall, this is another Pixar classic that easily has enough for both kids and adults (and movie aficionados). It's not difficult to see why each of their movies takes five years to complete - yet despite the technical wizardry, the success of their movies is fundamentally routed in their stories, a fact which most other studios seem to forget these days. As to whether the stage is set for Toy Story 4, I suppose they could always pull it off given the creativity at work here, but I think there was a deliberate attempt to make this the last in the series.
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