In the film industry above all others, even the music business, the battle between creative awareness and the need to make money is a hugely unbalanced one. Every summer we find ourselves faced with a series of sequels that are mostly shadows of the original idea. This year we’ve already had a fourth Shrek film utterly devoid of spark and wit. Pixar, however, are perhaps the one studio for which moving forward is a raison d’Ãªtre, not only in terms of technology but also in the stories they seek to tell and the characters they create. They haven’t been as faultless as some might suggest but at their best they have raised the bar for filmmaking of all genres, not just children’s movies.
Toy Story has presented the only exception to this march of progress. It has been their most enduring creation, the perfect example of how to pitch a family film to young and old without pandering to either. Both chapters so far have been masterpieces and thankfully, Toy Story 3 doesn’t let the side down.
The care taken in every department is clear. It looks gorgeous (although the 3D is unnecessary), has a proper story that engages throughout and a wealth of characters that are far more than just a vehicle for another hammy celebrity turn. There are laughs, genuine thrills and ending that leaves you misty eyed behind your plastic glasses. Best of all it shows an awareness that nothing has to last forever and that concluding a story in three acts can be a worthy, if heartbreaking, act. Pixar will make genius movies again, that’s for sure, but they’ll be hard pushed to match the impact of these particular playthings.