Toy Story 3 has it all and more besides. Brainwashing: check. Gambling dens and internet chat rooms: check, check. Anal rape: that’ll be a check. Mr Potatohead gets taken so hard from behind that his eyes pop out. “Hey kids, it’s all part of the rich tapestry of life”, will be the words on Daily Mail-reading parents’ lips up and down the land.
This being a Disney film, you can be fairly sure that things are going to work out before the credits roll. There are a few shocks along the way, though. To see these toys’ plastic eyes widen as they wait for death to engulf them, it's hard to imagine a more lucid way to explain to little Tarquin what happened to Granny at the crematorium.
Children don’t really give a crap about colouring in on Spot the Dog. Listen in on their playground antics – actually best not do that – but if you did, you’d find that their games are about life, death, honour and betrayal. The original Toy Story (1995) is a modern classic not because of its technical innovation but because it talked to children (and adults) about the stuff that matters.
Toy Story 2 was OK although we can’t really remember it. Something about a fat snoring man. Number 3 is the best of the bunch. It’s less of a buddy movie and more a probing study into the nature of mortality. Does love last forever? How about plastic?
It picks up as Andy is about to set off for college, leaving his once-favourite toys to ponder their fate. That’s some heavy shit right there, but the cast fall reassuringly into character. Woody switches to jobsworth mode, Buzz comes over all sanctimonious, Hamm gets angry-despondent and Rex has a hissy fit.
It’s great to see the old crew back on screen, but there’s some fresh blood too. Barbie‘s love interest Ken is the gayest straight man since Hugh Jackman presented The Oscars. Trixie the Triceratops is awesome simply because she’s voiced by Kristen Schaal, the weird squeaky one from Flight of the Conchords. In just a few minutes’ screen time she makes a plastic dinosaur seem playfully sexual.
Ultimately, it’s the tightly woven plot that makes this film such a success with its constant barrage of belly laughs, heart-souring excitement and abject terror. It doesn’t lay the morality on too thickly, but deep down, the message is clear: there's no happily ever after ? we're all going to die, break or get chewed up eventually ? so just make the most of life and be nice to each other. Also, a broken heart can turn you into a complete wanker, so watch out for that.
Toy Story 3 is out Monday 19th July – go see it!