wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)
The most emotional chapter in the Toy Story series, this film takes Woody and Co. in a new adventure inside a daycare centre, where they must adapt to the harsh realities, or remain dumped in Andy’s attic as he prepares to leave home for a new life in college. Great moments, fantastic stunts (don’t miss Buzz Lightyear’s Flamenco dance in the end-credits), Toy Story 3 is no ordinary animated feature. Winner of the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film (2010). Nominated for Best Motion Picture, Best Animated Feature at the 2010 Academy Awards.Read more
There’s something weird about past tense. No matter how old you are, you hold your happiest memories so close to you that they seem to have unfolded only yesterday. Watching Toy Story 3 made me rummage through every cupboard in my house trying to find a Hot Wheels car that I used to play with, when was a kid. I’m 24 now and and I felt melancholic about not being able to find it. Suddenly, out of the blue, I feel a longing for all my toys. And you might feel the same, if you’ve also had a set of toys that you always played with in your childhood.
Toy Story 3 is the most emotional chapter of the series, which saw its first film debut way back in 1995. Come to think of it, like every happy memory, this too seems like only yesterday. And the third instalment’s success and acclaim (winning an Oscar nomination for Best Picture) symbolizes an important moment in animation film history. This is the second year in a row that Disney Pixar’s produced a such a good film - last year, Up was nominated in the same category.
On DVD, a single viewing of the film is enough to convince that such acknowledgment is well-deserved. Right from the film’s opening sequence (a fitting tribute to the Westerns, Jurassic Park, E.T, Superman), Toy Story 3 is an immersive experience. At times, it throws up a question that we’re often faced in life - should we be there for someone with whom we’re ‘meant to be’, or should be learn to move on as times have changed?
Director Lee Unkrich helps you find the answer through a premise that we could see coming. Andy, the child who owns the toys, is now grown-up and is about to leave home for a new life in college. Faced with a decision to dispose off or donate his old toys, his mother, mistakenly ends up handing them over to a day-care centre where a new life awaits Woody and gang.
One of the biggest strengths of the Toy Story series is that it successfully manages to help humans, empathise with the emotions of toys. Every toy wants to be played with and in the process, feel a sense of bonhomie, heroism and companionship with its owner. Every toy wants to be a character in whatever fantasy a child conjures up in its head - no matter how stupid it may be. It likes loyalty. Which is why, although excited by the colourful exteriors of the daycare centre, they find grief in the kind of treatment meted out to them. Clearly, abandonment and rejection from their owners are the biggest heart-breakers for toys.
The script weaves in these themes by introducing a new set of characters - the teddy bear Lotso (Ned Beatty) being the most noteworthy of them. He is huggable on the outside, but grim inside, and it makes him one of the most unique, cold blooded villains you’ve seen in animation films.
Toy Story 3 promises more thrills than laughs, honestly. That may hamper repeat viewing, in my opinion (I skimmed through several sequences on second viewing) but those thrills serve a purpose. For the first time, you’re confronted with the possibility of seeing these toys destroyed. It’s a poignant moment in the film, one that reminds us of how close we’ve become to Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and gang, over the years. It’s also the reason why the climax is an emotional one.
The rich collection of bonus features in the DVD makes this an almost ideal home video buy. Among the highlights, there’s an outstanding theatrical short (Day and Night) which has all the wit and social subtext that comes with Disney Pixar shorts. In other features, my favourite is a set of three videos, titled Studio Stories. They give us an awe inspiring glimpse of life and culture at Pixar - for example, a cereal bar stocks almost every kind of cereal on the planet. You’ll also learn that the crew shaved off their head and moustache before working on this film. There’s also a heartwarming tribute to the significance of editors in a film, especially an animation one. A number of editors talk to the camera to explain what they do and how they make a difference in the entire pipeline of tasks that comes with putting together a film like this. The behind- the-scenes, interviews with the cast and crew round up the extras on the DVD nicely.
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