The edited version of the following review was published in iMAGES on the 4th of July 2010
To Infinity and Beyond – Perhaps for the Final Time
By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
"Toy Story 3" opens with a drastically fast-paced world of Andy’s imagination, built on television shows and wild fantasies – a feeling best evoked or explained when one used to play with his own toys. This sheer, unequivocal joy leads us down the years. Andy’s grown up now, heading for college. His toys would either be donated to the day care center or put up in the attic. Has Andy outgrown Woody, Buzz and the others? Would they learn to live under the delusion that Andy would play with them once again? I think I cried. Twice.
The plot device about shifting the toys to the Sunnyside Day Care centre works better than it looked in the trailers. The day care centre could be a paradise where they toys would be played with. The ultimate desire of being a toy is to be played. But the day care is run by a mafia of older toys, run by an old-timer purple teddy (Ned Beatty). Newer deposits are put on the section usually run through by toddlers. The pounding, scratches and paint splashes isn’t a bright, promising, future by a long-shot.
I’d rather not talk about the story in detail – like most Pixar movies, there is too much emotional involvement to properly spell it out in any case, save for this: The final climax, including its closure, is one of the best in Pixar history.
Director Lee Unkrich and Screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) working on the story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Mr. Unkrich, utilize the toys-lost-in-the-real-world formula without tuckering it out. The last "Toy Story" was a grand spectacle. A big-budget sequel that honored the aesthetics of its parent franchise. It established a familial-bond, complete with hardships and heartaches. "Toy Story 3" tops the second movie easy. Last year, I had my doubts whether "Up", which came out in mid-summer season would be a strong Oscar contender. This is year I have no doubts about "Toy Story 3". This is the stuff live action should look up to.
Mr. Unkrich directs with subtle film movements that Pixar is slowly pushing into its films. Each subtle close push, each steady pull-back, each dissolve looks like a meticulously crafted work of a master filmmaker who’s sure of his aesthetic and his technicality. And the best part, there’s a child still inside Mr. Unkrich as he makes the movie. That’s complement enough for a lifetime I think.
"Toy Story 3" is rated G. It stars the voices of Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack as Jessie, Ned Beatty as Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Michael Keaton as Ken, Wallace Shawn as Rex, John Ratzenberger as Hamm, Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head, John Morris as Andy, Jodi Benson as Barbie and Emily Hahn as Bonnie.