Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, 2010)

Can you recall a movie with "3" in the title being stand up honourably along side, or even better than the precedence? I enjoy Indy and his dad's adventures in The Last Crusade (Spielberg, 1988) vastly, or the sci-fi/western theme in the underrated Back to the Future Part III (Zemeckis, 1990), the often misunderstood Alien 3 (Fincher, 1992), not forgetting the stick-out-like-a-scary-bladed-glove of Nightmare on Elm Street part 3: The Dream Warrior (Russell, 1987). However The Return of The King (Jackson, 2003) does not count as I always think The Lord of the Rings Trilogy are one huge movie split into three parts.

I was there on the big screen showing the first of Toy Story (Lasseter, 1995), outlines the rivalry tension between the leader of Andy's toys, Woody the Cowboy and the new kid on the block, Buzz Lightyears. At that time, apart from marvelling at the Pixar's avantgarde non hand-drawn animation, I was immensely delighted by the heart-warming storytelling with witty scripts, and there are plenty of jokes aiming at audience of all ages to become a true success. The sequel of it, Toy Story 2 (Lasseter, Brannon, Unkrich; 1999) bring out the spirit of carpe diem and hinting on the theme of all great things (means being together) will come to an end.

So now here comes the long awaited final hurrah of Woody and the gang. Andy is a grown up teenager now, who is leaving his home for college life soon. While he is packing, he stumble on his abandoned toys and decided to put away in the attic. Due to a mishap, Woody and the gang end up at Sunnyside Daycare, where they are warmly greeted by the toy leader, Lotso the hugging bear with new toy friends. Except Woody, all the ex Andy's toys like Buzz, Jessie, Slinky Dog, Mr and Mrs Potato Head, Hamm, Rex are convinced that they will forever adored by the kids in the daycare centre, will Woody be able to persuade them otherwise? Even if they manage to go back to Andy, there is nothing they can do to stop Andy from reaching adulthood; and things will never be the same again because Andy has outgrown his toys, no longer cuddle on his toys anymore, has he? Is he?

Toy Story 3 introduced some new toy characters such as the metrosexual but campy Ken (yes, that Mattel's doll adored by billions of little girls worldwide), as love interest for Barbie. Lotso the hugging bear with a tragic past, the scary cymbal-banging monkey. Not forgetting a cute little girl, Bonnie who is Andy’s neighbour. By the end of the emotional, bittersweet trilogy finale, the young audience will wonder why their older counterparts are shedding a tear or two. What they do not know is a lot of us have been going through phases of life: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, parenthood…. We always understand the good notion of change, yet dreaded when it was time to let go. Just like Andy’s mum seeing his boy going to college. Or Andy’s reluctant parting with his toys that also correlatively gesture the end of his childhood.

"No amount of technique can fix a bad story", is always the motto of Pixar Animation Studio. That is why once again, they have done it, even though they raised the bar so high, and you wonder whether the latest installment will keep up to the standard. Rest assure it is a monumental achievement by any standard, even for a pedigree in the name of Pixar. My only complain comes from Woody's repetitive reminders to his fellow toys to pledge their loyalty to their human owner. Other than that, Toy Story 3 is a fitting conclusion to a great trilogy. If you wonder how do plastic playthings or cuddly toys presented in a computer generated animation could generate so much compassion, then look no further than Pixar distinctive label, and be awed at its underlying richness of storytelling.

1 star = Pathetic, SowYau feel ashamed of watching it
2 stars = Off the mark material, approach with caution
3 stars = Generally good, you should watch it if it's your favourite genre
4 stars = excellent, strongly recommended
5 stars = A classic status? only time will tell. But it is definitely in SowYau's Hall of Fame List