If there is one word that comes to mind when I hear about the movie studio Pixar it is consistency. For a company that has a cumulative domestic box offices gross of over $2.5 billion from just 11 films in a short 16 years you would think that I could come up with something a slight bit flashier but to me it is the best compliment I can hand them. Every time I have left the theater after viewing one of their films I have been consistently happy that I made the trek out to see their film. There is no other film studio that has me excited by the prospect of them working on a project and if I had to limit myself to going to the theater to just one time a year, I would wait for the Pixar release.
Like many others, my love affair with Pixar began in 1995 when the studio released upon the world their parable about friendship told with animated toys. It has been eleven years since the iconic characters of Buzz and Woody have gone on a grand adventure and many of those that grew up with the two characters as their best friends have moved on to what they probably feel is more mature fair. Pixar’s latest film, Toy Story 3, was made specifically for them.
Toy Story 3 sees Andy (voiced once again by John Morris) heading off to college which leaves him with the unenviable chore of cleaning out his room and deciding what he wants to keep and what he wants to give away. Woody (Tom Hanks) gets selected to go with Andy to college but Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of the crew get tasked to go to the attic. An unfortunate misunderstanding plants the attic bound toys on the curb as trash and Woody sets out to save them with all of them ultimately ending up in a box of donated toys heading to a day care center.
The day care introduces viewers to an all new crew of toys headed by the strawberry scented bear, Lotso (Ned Beatty) and everyone’s favorite anatomically incorrect male, Ken (Michael Keaton). Things are not exactly what they seem at the day care though and a grand adventure featuring espionage, daring rescues, cunning plans and a Spanish speaking Buzz all take place. On many levels Toy Story 3 is as much a homage to classic, The Great Escape as it is a touching conclusion to a much loved series.
As much fun as the adventure at hand is there is an over hanging feeling of unease during the entire film. It was hard for me to nail it down but it kept increasing exponentially as the inevitable ending raced closer. It all culminated with Pixar playing with my heartstrings like they owned the. There truly is no company in existence that can play the emotional trump card like Pixar can and they play it numerous times over the final ten minutes of Toy Story 3 to great effect.
I have always been surprised by how Pixar has consistently been able to release not just enjoyable family entertainment but to also have each of their releases be fantastic films that transcend their chosen medium and genres and with Toy Story 3 they do so again. Toy Story 3 is without a doubt a great film and where it places amongst the pantheon of Pixar’s films will be hotly debated for years to come but one thing that should not be debated is the fact that you should go see it, enjoy it and relish it because films like this don’t come around all that often even from a company as consistent as Pixar.
5 out of 5