As the Toy Story franchise rides off into the sunset, we say goodbye to the characters that helped blaze the industry trail, with a few upgrades along the way.
With many of the same people involved as in the earlier two films, Toy Story 3 was a Pixar family event. Director Lee Unkrich, who has worked on the Toy Story franchise for the past 16 years, made his solo debut with Toy Story 3. "I was hired as an editor on the first Toy Story, the first animated feature to make use of computer digital non-linear editing using the Avid editing system. It was a bold move: everyone else was cutting on film. I was known in southern California as an expert on the system, so they hired me to come up and help them for six weeks. If you had told me in 16 years that I would be directing a sequel, I never would have believed you, but here we are.
While the other directors at Pixar had good instincts cinematically, Unkrich feels that he finished the puzzle while still bringing a live-action sensibility to the studio. "John (Lasseter), Andrew (Stanton) and Pete (Doctor) were creating animation that felt more like live action than animation, yet they were allowing themselves to be bound by the rules of traditional 2D animation, not exploring the idea of staging in depth and being more cinematic. Since I came from a live-action background, not only editing but directing, I brought that component to the table and helped them make Toy Story and subsequent films as cinematic as possible."