Sunday, June 20, 2010

Toy Story 3

The Film: Toy Story 3

The Voice Talent: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn, Estelle Harris, Don Rickles, etc, etc.

The Dealio: Andy is headed off to college. After years of neglecting his toys, his mom issues an ultimatum: pick out the toys you want to save and retire them to the attic. The rest are destined for the trash/donation to a preschool. Through a series of misunderstandings (par for the course when dealing with attempted communication between teens and their 'elders'), most of Andy's (and our) most beloved toys wind up entering the third ring of Hell- AKA The Sunshine Preschool, a bright, promising-looking place, which masks a suppressive dictatorship run by a seemingly benevolent toy.

The Grading Session: 5.19 pengies out of 5. Yeah, you could say I was moved by this film...just a skosh. We caught this in 2D- but I could see the areas that lent themselves to 3D effects- especially in the last 1/4th of the story. This was not a case of shoehorning in effects for the heck of it, and to jump on the 3D gravy train. The script remained true to the original, and even advanced it. The voice characterisations were inventive and consistently superior, as was the artwork. I am in awe of the devotion to detail that goes into PIXAR productions, and this one was no exception. Extra points for the Spanish-language version of Buzz (which prompted tons of laughter in our audience) and back-referencing previous Toy Story movies. A great job was done in toy selection, too. With the exception of Woody and Buzz, all were actual 'vintage' toys from our youth- or aliases for the same. This is animated film-making at its very best and touches all the right notes- not for one instant does the tale misfire, condescend or hare off in meaningless directions. And the audience was right with that storyline: laughing, nudging our next-seat neighbors, shedding some tears and enjoying the 'catch up' furnished by the over-the-end-credits scenes. (I always award extra points when the film-makers go to the trouble to do this)

Lessons Learned: Toys have feelings, too. And when those feelings get hurt, some toys turn to the dark side. So- watch out for that strawberry-scented stuffed animal, if crossed!
Also- always suspected that that monkey banging cymbals was absolute evil in a toy chest. The first 'siren' from the one in today's movie sent me straight up out of my seat. Hair-curling.
Not all clowns are evil. OK, so, I will probably have to repeat this about 1000 times before I actually accept that novel notion).
Oh, yeah, and Ken has girl-y handwriting.
Miss this heart-strings-tugger (and funny bone tickler) at your own peril.

1 comment:

  1. There were so many things correct about this movie it's almost impossible to list, but I completely agree in the "over and above" rating. Beyond the standard pixar game of "spot the pizza planet truck" (Alex always wins) were plenty of "oh my god...I had that toy" from adults and kids. All 4 techno-geeks (me and the boys) had a rousing convo after the film about what the skill upgrade was. (monsters = heavy weight mapping, nemo = water, incredibles= hair, Up = colored light). We're all torn. Was it the emotion in the eyes (something that all animation seems to have struggled with) or was it the high speed camera effect of Ken modeling his fringed vest? Maybe both.

    Stole a brief glance at my boys during a particular heartbreaking scene (okay, was reaching a greasy paper napkin to pass for a tissue) and saw looks eyes wide open, mouths open, hands clenched and legs spring loaded as they would jump into the film and stage a rescue. What I really, really, loved was that everyone remained true to their original character. No one had to be "redeemed" for the sake of a story. It was, and will always be, about friendship.

    I'd go back, with one caveat. I wouldn't have worn mascara and I would have brought a decent pack of tissues. Concession napkins are fail.

    PS: loved Sid's cameo...