The anticipation built around Pixar's latest, a sequel to one of the most loved series of all-time, is intoxicating. From the introduction to Toy Story back in 1995 to the equally-as-brilliant sequel in 1999, the toy box full of creative, amusing and all-round captivating characters has charmed audiences worldwide. Eleven years later and we have Toy Story 3, welcoming Woody, Buzz, Jessie and co. back into our lives with outstretched arms.
The latest chapter sees our beloved characters in a state of unknown as Andy -- voiced once again by John Morris -- is off to college. Their owner has moved on, therefore the impending realization of being left behind is hard-hitting. Accidentally dropped off at Sunnyside -- a day-care centre, the toys form alliances with the seemingly innocent Lotso and a cavalcade of other throwaways. Once their true form is discovered, the gang decide to plot their very own great escape, with every intention of returning home to their owner.
It's an undoubtable fact that Pixar create their animations in a God-like manner, with great care, heart and humor. Their astounding ability to reach out to audiences of all ages with a story so rapidly fused with both child and adult-like behaviour is renowned, all of which is easily conspicuous in the third outing. An ability which also accounts for changing a possibly inessential entry to something which appears entirely relevant -- and for fans of the series, overwhelmingly essential. A certain dependancy has been formed upon these characters, all thanks to John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, the writing team behind every Toy Story feature.
The brilliance of their writing never undermines, merely entertains all ages with their quick witted one-liners and, gearing more towards the final segment, beautifully poignant and incredibly heartwarming scenes. A choice to introduce a series of new characters thankfully also works tremendously, with Barbie's counterpart Ken -- the camp, well-suited girl's doll -- stealing almost every scene he's featured in. The new, however, never overshadow the old. Woody recreates the charm and leader figure we all grew up watching, and Buzz, as always, stands firm as the vivacious space ranger, all of which are aided by the traditional side-splitting humor.
From opening the film with an unexpected nod to the original -- an extravagantly intense, explosive heist sequence -- to ending with a string of heart-wrenching moments -- one of which involving the gang transcend into a sense of acceptance -- which culminates in an ending that borders on the overly saccharine, but fuses intellect with heart. An ending which, despite leaving most audiences weeping into their sleeve, sets you off wishing to revisit Pixar's phenomenon all over again.
Toy Story 3 truly defies the 'threequel' curse which most have suffered from. Pixar boasts their unimaginably perfect, luscious animation once again with each and every character, making the absolute most out of the possible last chapter in this one of a kind franchise.
Bidding farewell to these characters is a mission which won't be accomplished without heartache, but director Lee Unkrich has brought us a film which will be remembered by most for years to come, to pass on to children in the future and will stand as a true testament to animation, and an undoubtable milestone in Pixar's resumé of projects. An utter masterpiece.