Toy Story 3
Directed by Lee Unkrich
Every Pixar film makes me nervous. The previews always make me worry that the film will finally be The One; the terrible one. Cars is the established black sheep of the family, followed by A Bug's Life, but those are both still very good films. Up until How to Train Your Dragon, Dreamworks would have killed to produce either of those films.
The point is that I'm always worried. I worried about Up all the way until I saw it. If regular Pixar films make me nervous, sequels practically give me breakdowns. It's on the principle of the matter. If Pixar are finally, truly going to trip, please, God, don't let it be with a cash-in sequel. I would lose respect for a company I have nothing but deep, deep love for.
So I was nervous about Toy Story 3. Was it going to live up to what's come before? Could it, is probably the bigger question. After eleven years, did the writers still have a feel for the same characters? Could they come up with a story that was worth telling all these years later? Fuck yes, as it turns out.
I'm not big on recaps, and all you need to know is that the story, much like 1 and 2, centers on Woody trying to get back to Andy. But this time, Andy's leaving for college in a matter of days, and Woody, along with the rest of the gang, have accidentally been donated to a kindercare center.
The majority of the film is very good, and would earn a very robust B+, but I want to focus on the last fifteen minutes. They are perfect. As a conclusion to the trilogy, you couldn't ask for anything more. It's impossible. Not only does the conclusion of this film end the movie in a satisfying way, it creates an emotional arc that started with the very first Toy Story. This film has made three separate movies work as a true trilogy, where your enjoyment of the first entry is increased with your knowledge of the end. I read a review earlier today which proclaimed "Bring on Toy Story 4!" This dumbass missed the whole point of the breathtaking film he just saw. I pray Pixar won't make such a thing. Certainly not while the current set remain in charge. It would break my heart, and that's not hyperbole. If you see this film, you'll understand why.
I spent the last ten minutes in a perpetual state of crying, because little moment after little moment hit me just right. I won't give any of it away, because the beauty of those last moments is in realising you knew what was going to happen the whole time, and that it's exactly what should occur. The film hits all the emotional bullseyes it wants, because it never once reaches for them. As with every Pixar film, and this is what they do so very right, there's no pandering. They aren't trying to sell you on this story, and they aren't dumbing it down for the kids. They make what they want to see, and it just so happens that the rest of us do, too.