When I was a kid my all-time favourite toy was a plush Pluto dog that was brought over from America when I was about six or so.I used to love that dog and there was many times I would just walk around with Pluto tucked under my arm.
But as it goes, I used it less and less, until one day it was simply picked up in a garbage bag and packed away, done with such casualness you instantly forget how much you loved it merely months ago.
And just like the toys we all used to love as kids, when they are no longer there we don’t think about it, but when the bag is brought back down we experience a sense of nostalgia of great moments, the which can also be said about revisting the Toy Story universe in Toy Story 3.
It has been almost 13 years since most of us experienced our first adventure with Woody and the gang, and almost 9 years since we last saw them on the big screen, and while none of us really missed them while they were absent, the fact they are back, and in full 3D makes a lot of fans re-experience the brilliance of the first two episodes.
Of course most of us know the story of the Toy Story franchise, how it was the first film ever conceived by animation giants Pixar, how the CGI animation wowed us and brought a brand new world of animated films, but most of us forget that Toy Story blended story, character development and action so seemlessly it instantly became fine for any ages to begin loving animated films again.
It has struck gold in both cases, but sometimes when its a long time between drinks for a film franchise, it can be hard for us to fall back into the universe so seemlessly.
Luckily, Toy Story 3 has no such qualms, simple because once again Pixar have treated the franchise which has made them such a dominant company with such trust and respect, instead of shamelessly shelling out a sequel to catch onto the 3d craze, that this easily holds it own against the previous films.
Toy Story 3 knows it has been a while since we have been with Woody and Buzz in Andy’s playroom, and does not shy away from the time, as now Andy has grown up and about to head to college, and has since lost any interest in playing with the toys that kept him occupied as little kid.
With Buzz (voiced by Tim Allen) and the gang worried about becoming trash, it is up to Woody (Tom Hanks) to take control and make ensure them they are all Andy’s toys, and when he needs them again, they will be waiting for him.
But when a mixup occurs, with Woody packed to go to college while the rest of the toys find themselves in danger of becoming trash, they decide to take their chances elsewhere and pack themselves off to Sunnyside daycare where there are more kids to play with them.
But while Sunnyside seems like paradise, slowly the toys learn that not all is at it seems, and with time once again against them, they have to try and get back home to the safety of Andy before its too late.
Now some of you might be thinking, wait that sounds a lot similar to what we have seen before in Toy Story 1 & 2, and you are not half wrong, but lets face it it is the characters and charm of the franchise that keeps us coming back, and this time it is done in spades.
From the very first scene, which can be very aptly described as a blockbuster version of the first time we ever saw the toys at play, to the return of classic one liners from minor characters such as Hamm and Rex, even to subtle references of characters past, including the baby head from Toy Story and, if you keep your eyes peeled, a much grown up Sid.
But the best part is that the characters we have loved for so many years come back in full glory, and they have not changed a bit since last we saw them. The whimsy and charm between Woody, Buzz, Jessie still exists, and how they interact with the new gang of toys, including old bear Lotto and Ken (voiced by Michael Keaton, who finally emerges into the franchise after knocking back the chance to voice Woody so many years ago) is as sharp as it was more than a decade past.
As a whole the Toy Story franchise has always been strong, and luckily they have not missed on the last chance to view the franchise. Ranking up there with the first two attempts, but it really the ending that will always get you. Making it certain that the end is a good bye to many characters we have loved, this is one franchise that will start and end on a high note, always going from strength to strength.
For fans of the franchise, this is up there with Toy Story 1 and 2, and I defy anyone who has fallen in love with the characters to not feel a bit emotional when it’s time to say goodbye.
And for the criticism that as adults now shouldn’t have that much fun with kid’s films, I just have to say this. A few weeks ago I was at my brother’s place when a family friend’s daughter came down clutching the Pluto dog, given to her as a present a year or so ago. Seeing that dog again (which was a lot smaller than I remember) it brought back a flood of memories as a kid, and if remembering the joy of being a kid is wrong, then there is something wrong with the world. Toy Story is exactly like that, as all it does is bring back to mind the brightness we have experienced with Pixar before, now in the full glory of 3d.
Rating: 4 1/2 reels