Toy Story 3 (U)

5.00

Let's hear it for the toys

Is Pixar the saviour of family entertainment? It's hard to know how else to describe a studio that consistently knocks all competitors into a cocked stetson. It takes a kind of genius to combine a children's movie for grown-ups and a grown-up's movie for children in one glittering digimated package, yet the folks at Pixar have done it time and again. If they had only made Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wall• E, and Up it would be a staggering achievement. But that doesn't take account of its star player, Toy Story, spearhead and prince among movies, returning here for a third and probably final go-round. It is the film of this summer – of any summer.

Its U certificate belies the fact that Toy Story 3 is a meditation on ageing, impermanence and mortality. Yet it's also a dizzyingly funny romp that honours and extends the glorious invention of the first two films. With more than a decade gone since Toy Story 2, the filmmakers (John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and the director Lee Unkrich) have pushed cowboy Woody, space ranger Buzz and the rest of the toys towards a crisis of transition: their owner, Andy, has outgrown them, and is now about to leave home for college. Will they be packed off to the limbo of the attic or, worse, flung into a black bin bag for the trash collection? (The toy soldiers have already scarpered). "Oh, this is just sad," says Mr Potato Head, and you'd have to agree. After various misadventures the toys fetch up in Sunnyside, a children's day-care centre, where a huggy bear named Lotso (voiced by Ned Beatty) is the apparently benign steward: "No owners means no heartbreak," he says, though he omits to mention the marauding toddlers that will kick, chew and drool over them. Too late do they twig that they're locked up in a place of "ruin and despair" – the toytown equivalent of Alcatraz.

The scriptwriter Michael Arndt (who wrote Little Miss Sunshine) gets full value from the old favourites, turning Buzz at one stage back into a deluded martinet and later into a flamenco-dancing Latin lothario with the hots for cowgirl Jessie. But he also has fun with new characters such as preening clothes-horse Ken (voiced by Michael Keaton) and his Barbie; Lotso's prison enforcer Big Baby (with a sinister eye droop); a Monkey watchguard with clashing cymbals and a hedgehog, Mr Pricklepants, who fancies himself a thespian. The drollery is in the detail, which sometimes comes so fast it's gone before you have time to chortle. I loved the moment Buzz, anticipating the stampede of terrible tots, smoothly flips up his spaceman visor for protection. And I sniggered at the scene in which Woody, trapped in a toilet cubicle, puts a square of bog roll on the seat before he climbs on to it and makes good his escape through the window. Hardly a sequence goes by without something that delights, or exhilarates, or amuses.

Or indeed provokes to wistfulness. The first and second Toy Story movies dealt with setbacks that could be put right. As the producer John Lasseter says, "When you're broken, you can be fixed; when you're lost, you can be found; when you're stolen, you can be recovered. But there's no way to fix being outgrown by the child." What the film does so beautifully is to twist the existential crisis of a toy into a reckoning of our younger selves. It understands how we attach fond significance to those things that have been mute companions – and witnesses – through the years, and have measured our lost time. It is a poignancy that gathers such force by the end that my eyes, already moistened at the edges, started brimming helplessly. Discarding my 3-D specs I fled the cinema via the echoing stairwell of the emergency exit, hoping to hide my face away. "You're a grown man crying over a film about toys," I chided myself. But oh, what a film; what toys.

Have you seen Toy Story 3? Our Culture Club is looking for short reader reviews for the paper - leave your thoughts below

Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
Crime watch: Cara Delevingne and Daniel Brühl in ‘The Face of an Angel’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
News
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss