I can’t remember the last time I cried in the cinema (I watched ‘UP’ at home), but any film that can make you laugh your arse off all the way through and then have you wiping water from your eyes (the 3D glasses make this downright awkward) at the closing scenes – well, it’s more than just a film for Cubs.
The plot of Toy Story 3 is swift, bright, clear – beautifully wrought. It's continuity is wondrous - the smallest dropped fragment (Woody's Hat) becomes a demoniac device for later in the story. It can be predictable - but that's no bad thing. While we know what’s exactly going to happen to the toys in the daycare centre, for example, the tension is built so skilfully that the shock and horror are still genuine. The wheeler-dealing of the bad guys in the roof-club of the snack-machine, the final fate of Lotso – in each case, you know what's coming, but the scene-setting, the references, the symmetry are all flawless. The entire script is absolutely stuffed with sly adult gags – my favourite being Ken throwing open the door before a love-struck Barbie with the words, ‘Baby, this is where is all happens!’ – and it’s to his wardrobe… words fail me.
In fact, there just wasn’t a weak character. The dastardly, strawberry-scented bear, voiced to villainous perfection by Ned Beatty, is more iniquitous than any plush toy has a right to be – but the perfectly dovetailed flashback by the sinister clown just tinges his soft menace with sympathy. It also wins us to the side of the lumbering-simple Big Baby, tormented by the one thing he trusts. Assisted by the truly scary watch-monkey and a scattering of sinister side-kicks (we liked the two faced robot), Lotso is absolutely a genius evil.
And props for the silent Totoro. I wonder if he was on an exchange visit?
This is a film that carries you along regardless. (The Claw!) Made for a younger audience or not, I challenge any adult to watch it and to not have their heart touched. What was your favourite toy as a child? What happened to them? The closing scene of the teenage Andy introducing little Bonnie to his friends was what reduced me to tears – and not only me, I suspect, from the snufflings next to me.
It’s a reminder that, for all we’re supposed to be adult, are we supposed to be grown-up?