These are not toys

29th June 2010

Toy Story 3 has not only been pulling them in at the box office – it’s tipped to become Pixar’s most successful movie ever, having taken over $500m in its first three weeks – but it has also wowed the critics.

Rotten Tomatoes, a website which aggregates film reviews, reported a staggering  99% approval (from 214 reviews) with an average 8.8/10 rating.

One major reason, of course, is a storyline that, to paraphrase some of those reviewers, illuminates the impermanence of the human condition, is told skillfully enough to make grown men cry as well as laugh, and is executed so well that they forgot they were watching animated bits of plastic. That’s a trick that you can only pull off if your production values are consistently high, as Pixar’s – witness its string of academy awards – always have been. And with that applying to the soundtrack just as much as the visuals, it’s no surprise that AMS Neve-equipped facilities were, as usual, picked for the music and post production.

As he did for the previous Toy Story movies, Randy Newman wrote the original music, also taking on the roles of lyricist, conductor and orchestrator. Both the scoring stages – at Sony, where the score was recorded, and at Warner Brothers, where it was mixed – are fitted with Neve 88RS consoles, as indeed are all Hollywood’s major scoring studios.

For the final soundtrack mixdown, Skywalker Sound’s dubbing facility, home to AMS Neve DFC consoles, was again the choice, with sound designer Tom Myers joining Michael Semanick as re-recording mixer. Pixar may know how to make a movie about toys, but it also knows that when it comes to post production, the toys have to make way for the serious kit.