Broad enough to please a wide age-bracket (from current kids to adults who have grown up with the characters), the third adventure nonetheless touches on unsettling themes – mortality, regret and moving forward with life. It makes sense that the film was penned by Michael Arndt, whose Little Miss Sunshine provided a similar balance of mirth and melancholy. There’s a new character, in particular, whose desperate bitterness would feel right at home in a Coen brothers flick.
Taking the guise of a prison-escape scenario, the plot offers plenty of opportunity for miniaturised hijinks, chugging along with momentum until a genuinely surprising climax (not yet revealed in any advertising). This takes the characters into unsettling, armrest-gripping territory that might upset the very young.
A trilogy that has spanned 15 years understandably wraps up in a moving way (bring tissues) but let’s not suggest that this movie is anything but a riot. A highlight is Michael Keaton voicing Ken (the glittered yin to Barbie’s yang) – his every line and gesture is pure gold.
As to where this one places in Pixar’s repertoire, well, it might not be as ambitious as WALL-E or Up but it builds on a strong base and reaches new heights. Clever animation, inventive direction, and canny comic timing means Toy Story 3 is hugely satisfying. Hide