Jun 28, 2010

[Movies] Toy Story 3 (2010)

Toy Story 3 (2010)Like most geeks (and pretty much most people on the planet), I love Pixar and I'm quite the fan. There's just something about their combination of animation and humor that just gets me. Plus their movies naturally have some sort of lesson or message that they manage to present in a way that's not necessary overbearing or preachy. So yeah, that totally works for me.

When you think about it, Pixar was really one of the first to hit it bit with CGI-animated movies. Not only that, they also made sure to address a wider audience of both young and old moviegoers, thus increasing their appeal and marketability. So yeah, not only are they quality movies, but they're good for the studios and thus we're all happy.

Of all the Pixar titles, we always have to come back to Toy Story, the one that started it all in terms of their big screen features. It's hard to explain how this movie worked for so many people right out of the gate, but it did quite overwhelmingly. To day, it's the only Pixar movie to develop actual sequels and the characters involved have become some of the most iconic in popular culture. A lot of credit goes out to this movie and it seems only fitting that the Pixar folks make efforts to sort of tie up loose ends for these characters with this third installment.


John Lasseter cropped 2009Image via Wikipedia
Toy Story 3 is the third and potentially the last movie in the Toy Story franchise. This is also the first Toy Story movie that was not directed by John Lasseter, the man behind the first two installments. When you think about it, as much as this movie was about transitions and moving on to different things for the characters, it performed a similar role for the folks at Pixar as they're now making room for new directors and talent.

The movie begins with the toys enjoying the years together until finally Andy (John Morris) is now about to head off to college. As he's aged, the toys have been played with less and less until they've been pretty much neglected in Andy's old toy chest in his room. Despite a few attempts to get his attention, it still wasn't enough to hook him in. With Andy leaving on Friday, there was a very real chance that they'd get retired somehow or even thrown out and naturally the group is in a bit of disarray. Once Andy finally gets around to sorting his toys, he decides to gather all the others for storage in the attic while bringing Woody (Tom Hanks) with him to college. However a mix-up leads to the toys thinking that they're about to be thrown away.

Thus in order to "survive", they decide to put themselves in a box meant to be donated to Sunnyside Daycare so that they get to be played with by other kids, thus fulfilling their roles as toys. Woody tries to convince them that their purpose is to be there for Andy in case he needs them, even if that means being in the attic, but even his best friend Buzz (Tim Allen) decides to stay in the daycare. Plus the warm reception they received from Lotso (Ned Beatty) and his group over at Sunnyside wins the toys over. But all is not as it seems and the toys soon realize that Lotso runs things quite differently than they expected and soon the decide to make plans of escaping while Woody tries to get back home to Andy before he leaves for college.

I worry if that little synopsis already crossed over into the realm of spoilers, but then it's hard not to be enthusiastic about this movie. I walked out of that theater rather emotional, a bit teary-eyed and definitely eager to discuss it with friends. It was definitely one of THOSE kinds of movies that really get to you, especially if you've ever been passionate about toys during your life. This definitely felt like a nice way to end the franchise (should that be the goal) and a nice send-off for all these characters that we've grown to love over the years.

I was initially scared that the movie's story would feel forced and that perhaps Pixar had finally bitten off more than it could chew with this sequel but I was delightfully proven wrong. The story was quite the logical extension of the lives of these toys given all toys have to deal with the day that their owners grow out of them and they need to get disposed in one way or another. It was also an added touch that the boy who has been voicing Andy all these years has been the same since the beginning, so he too has grown with the franchise. There's definitely a strong message about moving on in this movie and it rings true both on and off the screen. But that's how good movies should go, really - they should be able to speak on multiple levels.

As much as it was sad to see a lot of the other toys absent from the movie, the core cast was still there and that made sense from a toy perspective. You don't really keep every single toy that you've ever owned - you end up whittling down that number over the years until you're left with your favorites. But it was definitely nice to see them all together in Andy's fantasy world at the start of the movie - I don't want to give too much away but if you remember the kinds of playtime stories Andy came up with as a kid, then the fantasy scene will definitely make sense. Yes -  we all have to love the Evil Dr. Porkchop!

The movie was filled with little references to past productions, as is the tradition of all Pixar movies. At the same time, the movie did make efforts to connect to previous Toy Story plot points such as Buster the dog being a lot older now and even Andy's sister Molly (Beatrice Miller) being older as well. It was slightly odd that Jessie (Joan Cusack) made no reference to the chance of becoming a collectible again as a way to survive Andy leaving them behind but that's a minor point for me. In the end, the toys were still the toys and they certainly made sure to remind us of their rich history.

Toy Story 3 was a very emotional addition to the franchise and one that will probably make more adults cry as compared to kids. There's still the addition of new characters of interest (watch out for the Ghibli reference!) but in the end it was still about the core cast. The ending was just wonderful in so many ways and it's definitely the kind of movie I've love to see again. 3D isn't necessarily required not because it was done badly, but because the story was a lot more important than just a cheap special effects gimmick. This movie gets 5 toy trope references out of a possible 5.
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1 comment:

Niki said...

This movie is the most I've cried in the theater... EVER!

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