Sometimes, trying to review a film is a pretty easy exercise because everything you need to know can be summed up in a few simple sentences. The whole franchise is wonderful. The third installment is pretty much perfect. Hamm the piggy-bank gets the best lines. It’ll probably pick up a Best Picture nomination. You should go see it right this minute.

But I try to write a few hundred words for these things so …

It’s 15 years since Toy Story. 11 years since Toy Story 2. Understandably, Andy, the boy who owns the toys, has done a lot of growing up in that time and he’s about to head off to college and his mother, seemingly keen to get his room cleared out, needs to get him to decide what to do with all his old toys. Over the years, he’s kept hold of Woody and Buzz. Somewhat more inexplicably, he’s also held on to a plastic dinosaur that looks like a Happy Meal toy and Mr & Mrs Potato Head. Kids are weird, I suppose.

To some extent, you know what you’re going to get with a Toy Story movie — the gang are going to get separated and spend the next 90 minutes getting back together again. Toy Story 3 doesn’t exactly break new ground but the fact that it sticks to the formula is never a disappointment because the genius of Pixar means it’s kept fresh and has enough new elements to ensure the magic stays alive. It feels new.

In a massive nod to movies like The Great Escape, the gang are sent off to Sunnyside Day Care Centre when the resident head honcho toy — Lotso the Bear, wonderfully voiced by Ned Beatty — promises that they’ll get the attention they’ve sorely missed in the year’s that Andy’s been growing up. Things, however, aren’t all they seem and a grotesque giant baby doll might just be the start of their troubles.

It’s all just so effortlessly magical. Advances in technology help the 3D become the deeply immersive experience that it is, but more importantly, the weaker animated aspects of the previous films — the humans and animals — finally work as well as the toys. Avatar’s 3D wasn’t as good as this. Shrek’s certainly wasn’t (and nor was it as funny). While I’d need to see it in 2D to decide if the extra dimension really adds anything, it didn’t feel like wearing Elvis Costellos took anything away from it. I suspect, though, that the visuals are so strong, it’ll be an equal delight no matter how it’s seen.

For me, the real winner is the script. I think we take it for granted that it should be inclusive, that kids and adults should be equally entertained, sometimes for different reasons, sometimes not, but both groups should be captivated throughout. It’s something we expect from Pixar titles and although this is by no means an exception, it’s good to take a step back to appreciate how effective it is when it works as well as it does here. The masterful understanding of plot and pacing and emotion is simply a joy.

All objectivity aside, if you do go to see it — and I strongly recommend that you do — keep your eyes and ears open for Hamm the piggy-bank and then reminisce about the majesty of John Ratzenberger’s voice and comic timing. That pig’s going to keep me chuckling away for some time.

A triumph!

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