Friday, August 13, 2010

Must Watch Friday: Toy Story 3

After a ten year wait, Modern Heat author Heidi Rice took her now much more mature munchkins to see the return of their old pals Woody, Buzz, Jessie and co. and discovered a  movie that not only has the potential to make grown men cry, but can turn your little darlings from terrible teens to wide-eyed children again...

After the sublime wonder of Toy Story 2 way back in 1999, Toy Story 3 has been eagerly awaited in our household for over a decade with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. We all wanted to spend time with Andy's intrepid toys again... But we were all wondering what more there could possible be to say about a bunch of toys that come to life when no one's looking...

Um, turns out quite a lot actually.

Yup, the perfectionists at Pixar have done it again. The only predictable thing about Toy Story 3 is it's title - and after watching this beautifully crafted movie I can't help wondering if that generic tag was supposed to be ironic.

My boys, one of whom is now the same age as the college-bound Andy, came out of the cinema declaring it one of the best films ever made! Forget 12-year-old bravado. Forget the jaded cynicism of today's teens. For one glorious minute... Or 108 of them to be exact (including the sweet short Night and Day)... They were wide-eyed, wonderstruck children again. And their mum wasn't far behind.

I'm not going to go into too much detail about the plot, because that will spoil all the fabulous surprises this film has in store for you if you haven't seen it already. But, without giving too much away, Andy is now 17 and headed for college. Woody and Buzz and the gang have seen their numbers dwindle to all but a few over the years, until their forlorn little band spend their days languishing in the toy box and devising schemes to trick Andy into playing with them one last time, so they can relive their glory days when they were the centre of Andy's universe.

But Andy's not interested in them anymore, and while the ever faithful and doggedly optimistic Woody insists they must always be there for Andy, the other toys have realised that a journey to the terrifying undiscovered land of Sunnyside Daycare might actually be better than the prospect of spending the rest of their days in a darkened attic or, worse yet, a quick trip to the dump.

Thus begins an adventure that will test the toys loyalty not just to Andy but also to each other and challenge everything they have ever known or understood about themselves and their existence.

Sounds deep doesn't it? Well, actually it is... Because behind the facade of this sweet, shiny, funny children's movie is a poignant and occassionally dark and edgy tale packed full of life lessons about friendship and loyalty and growing up, about second chances and past joys and so much else besides.

All right enough with the deep and meaningful, cos let's not forget this is also crowd-pleasing entertainment. Adding new sparkle to the stellar voice cast of Hanks and Allen et al, are Timothy Dalton's Shakespearean hedgehog Mr Pricklepants, Michael Keaton's smarmy, conflicted Ken doll ("Stop calling me a girl's toy") and Ned Beatty's larger-than-life Lotso Bear. Plus there's a chilling pastiche of Cool Hand Luke, a prison break worthy of The Great Escape, the side-splitting discovery of Buzz's spanish-language button (this one's for you Ms Kate Hardy!!) and a show-stopping, heart-wrenching, all-action finale that has been said to make grown men cry (and certainly made this woman of a certain age choke back a sob or two!).

Maybe Toy Story 3's not the best movie ever made, but it's certainly movie-making at its very best.

It's official Pixar rules ok! At least in our house.

Heidi's latest Modern Heat Unfinished Business with the Duke is still available in the UK. Is out in Australia and New Zealand this month as a Sexy. And will be out in the US as a Presents Extra in October. Her next book, about a  sexy former surfer turned Xtreme sports billionaire and a fiesty female lifeguard in North Cornwall is out in the UK in December with the rather apt title Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger.

Come have a natter on her blog, on Facebook or on her website, she loves to hear from readers as well as aspiring authors.


  1. Great review, Heidi, but oh, dear - 'poignant'? Not for me then, at the moment. DD is off to university in a few weeks time. The first to fly the nest...

  2. Took my 10 year old and 6 year old to see the 3D version of this. Did I cry? Of course I did, 3D glasses hide a multitude of sins. Thought it was a great end to the story, but definitely don't want a Toy Story 4!

  3. Yep, we did the 3D version - 13yo declared it awesome and one of the best films ever; 9yo loved it; and DH and I were both misty-eyed.

    And yes, I *loved* the Spanish mode. (Goes off with happy thoughts about Mr Banderas - unless my ed is reading this, in which case I am working very hard on my revisions *g*)

  4. Oh no christina, you may want to avoid this film then till you get over any lingering 'empty nest' moments...

    Susan, can't see a TS4 on the horizon somehow as this story effectively takes the toys full circle. So no worries there then.

    And Kate, had a sneaking suspicion you'd love Buzz in full-on Banderas mode!

  5. My girls saw this on summer break (sadly I wasn't with them) and both said it was AWESOME and even my stalwart youngest admitted she was "on the brink" of crying (eldest admitted right away that she wept).

  6. Aw Donna, of course neither of my sons would admit it afterwards.... But I saw the evidence.