I didn’t see Toy Story 3 at the cinema. I remember the hype, but I was pretty pregnant that summer, and my preferred method of watching a film was bouncing on an exercise ball, mainlining Maltesers and pausing the dvd every 10 minutes to visit the toilet. They don’t let you do that at the Odeon. I went to the cinema once, to the badly named, pseudo Love Actually ensemble fest Tamara Drewe. (Weird film. Someone gets trampled to death by a cow!) But I spent almost the entire thing standing in the aisle because my right rib ached when I sat down. And, after that, people didn’t want to go out in public with me so much.
In case it wasn’t already clear, I’m a very emotional person. I highly rate any film which has the ability to make me bawl my eyes out after multiple viewings. Armageddon (including, weirdly, the bit where Bruce Willis tells the Nasa guy they don’t want to pay taxes ever again). Pretty much all of Con Air (Nic Cage has never met his little girl, for fuck’s sake!). And Life Is Beautiful (which is frankly too tragic for me to even consider watching since having a baby). Toy Story 3 makes the list. Along with all the hype at the time, I heard there was a really sad bit. Naturally I mistook this to be Buzz, Woody, et al holding hands to face certain incineration at the refuse plant. I brushed this scene off ‘obviously they’ll be saved, they wouldn’t end it like that!’ and didn’t cry one bit. Well I had my smug face wiped out several minutes later, didn’t I? When Andy started handing his toys over to Bonnie, lovingly describing each one, and I was utterly destroyed. And still am. Every single time.
The details are wonderful, to the point where it feels like you’re being rewarded for watching, and for paying attention. And the endless characters never grow tiresome. This also helps when you’re in possession of a stroppy toddler, who refuses to watch any tv besides this, Fantastic Mr Fox, and Million Pound Drop. Sid, Andy’s evil neighbour from the first film, returns in Toy Story 3 as the air-drumming garbage man. Buster, the puppy who arrived at the end of the first film, and saved Wheezy from the yard sale in the second, is back in the third as an overweight old dog. And the remaining Green Army Men who parachute out of Andy’s window at the start of Toy Story 3 as the fate of the toys is beginning to come clear, arrive at Sunnyside during the end credits.
Andy’s drippy mum is back, naturally, to inadvertently throw away toys and generally sob about him going off to college. I have my own theories about her however, since stumbling upon one fan site which categorically stated Woody was Andy’s dad, I have given up speculation in favour of washing out my eyeballs. What is clear is that she spends the entire trilogy secretly drinking gin in the kitchen, and I do worry about her now Andy & all the toys have moved out. His little sister looks like a bit of a handful. Michael Keaton’s Ken doll has to be the triumph of the new characters. Though even Jessie, whiney annoying brat throughout Toy Story 2 and the beginnings of Toy Story 3 ‘We’ve been replaced!’, ‘I can’t breathe!’, ‘He left us on the cuuuurb!’ redeems herself by the end. Thanks mainly to her relationship with Spanish Buzz Lightyear.
Toy Story 3 is epic, no doubt. It’ll make you laugh. It’s relentlessly quotable. It’s poignant because it deals with the passing of time, and with getting older. The things we adults are all trying to avoid by watching films about a talking space ranger. And then, at the end, everyone can have a good sob. The Spanish version of You’ve Got a Friend in Me over the end credits is the perfect accompaniment to all the nose blowing.
In a world where kids are growing up surrounded by tv and computer screens, Toy Story 3 is pretty much the perfect toy to have.
‘Now Woody, he’s been my pal for as long as I can remember. He’s brave, like a cowboy should be. And kind, and smart. But the thing that makes Woody special is he’ll never give up on you…ever. He’ll be there for you, no matter what.’