Review: ‘Toy Story 3’

Just a quick warning – don’t read if you’ve not seen the film and want to!

After hearing the hype and avidly watching the first two installments of ‘Toy Story’, I was incredibly excited to see the third movie. Everyone warned me to take tissues, and I’ve not yet seen a negative word said about it, and I’m certainly not going to use any negative words in this review, although while I’m thinking about it, the only unnecessary part of watching the film was the 3D glasses: the film would have lost nothing by being watched in 2D, but I definitely see this as a positive, as ‘Toy Story’ isn’t about gimmicks, it’s about getting in touch with everyone’s inner child.

Eleven years after ‘Toy Story 2’, Andy is all grown up and off to college, leaving the toys wondering where they’re animated lives are heading next. The storyline sees them accidentally taken to day care, where a disenchanted bear refuses to let them leave: the relative simplicity of the storyline left room for both the hilarious and the touchingly bittersweet moments that really gripped your imagination and your heart, as well as making you feel thoroughly disgusted with yourself for ever throwing a toy out. My favourite line had to be “Quiet, musical hog!”, serving as both a reminder of how effortlessly funny ‘Toy Story’ is to all ages.

Tom Hanks, as ever, was fabulous in his role, and allowing Woody to be the hero and Buzz (Tim Allen) to go from obnoxious spaceman to charming Spaniard to our favourite space-hero saw the characters to do a full circle, linking the beginning of their union to the end of Andy’s childhood. I genuinely thought Woody would be off to college with his owner, but Andy’s touching farewell to everyone’s favourite cowboy showed just how wrong Lotso had been: you’re never abandoned, people just have to learn to move on.

I also appreciated how they bent stereotypes: Barbie and Ken in particular were examples of this, moving seamlessly between their blonde and camp surfaces respectively, to being both the intellectual and the prince charming/bodyguard figure, showing no one is as simple as they seem on the outside, a message previously seen in characters such as Jessie, (Joan Cusack) with her loud exterior and quiet fear of being alone.

The ending, as expected, had the tears running down my cheeks as I struggled to cope with the emotion of the incinerator and of Andy giving up his childhood friends. It resonated particularly with ┬áme when Andy’s mom saw his empty room, as both me and my mom had our teary moments when I left for the first time, and having seen the series of films triumphantly storm the cinemas, it felt like the end of an era. I’d always imagined the toys being forever Andy’s, but the realism of the third film reminded us that we all have to grow up, but that despite that change, our childhood’s still define us. The decision to wait to produce the third film in the franchise was one of the best Disney/Pixar have ever made, allowing them ensure the toys were back in town with a resounding impact. I know exactly which DVD will be at the top of my Christmas list, and I can only imagine that I’ll love those toys for infinity, and beyond.

Review: ‘Shrek: Forever After’ 3D

Once in the cinema with the daft glasses on, my friends and I realised that none of us could remember what on earth happened in the third ‘Shrek’ film, all we could remember was the Justin Timberlake was in it at some point. Despite this, we were prepared for the fourth and final installment to be as brilliant as the advertising had made it out to be, and this time, we weren’t let down.

The plot was touching and simple, which allowed the writers to build around it with new characters, fantastic 3D effects, and, of course, the ritual comedy aspects. The best example of the latter was definitely Puss in Boots’ obesity: in fact, I’m sure I love the fat cat much better than the regular one, and Antonio Banderas’ suave voice was comically mismatched to his hilarious exterior. Eddie Murphy, I feel, was underused: he’s an incredibly funny man and very talented in that respect, and I don’t think I can remember a point at which he really did or said anything that reflected that. Mike Myers was good, although because Shrek was carrying the storyline on his back, he didn’t have much opportunity to provide any light relief outside of the plot. One of the best sideline comic moments was definitely a little boy repeatedly going ‘Do the roar!’ to Shrek, as well as the massive Goose that accompanied Rumplestiltskin in his wrongdoings.

The 3D effects were brilliantly done, and while there were moments when you knew something had been shot differently to accompany this (like the camera panning from a side view of a carriage to the front, so the horses were galloping towards you), but the film hadn’t been fitted around the notion of it being 3D, which is definitely the hallmark of a successful movie.

‘Shrek’ is a film I heavily recommend, particularly in 3D, as it is a remedy for the forgettable third film and provides a fittingly sentimental end to an otherwise brilliant series of films.