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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW - Toy Story 3

Ah, Pixar. Once again I write a review about a film that was loved before it was released. Such is the case with most Pixar films. I suppose I was one of the few not totally enthralled with Ratatouille. And I don’t think the internet has enough bandwidth to relay my scathing hatred for Cars. So what of the final episode in the Toy Story trilogy? Should I praise it because it’s another Pixar home run? Should I hail it because it’s the best ending to a trilogy I’ve ever seen? Or should I just give it a thumbs up for being a solid movie? I contemplate this with such cynicism only because of my misplaced belligerence toward Pixar’s perfectionism. I don’t think Toy Story 3 is Pixar’s best film, or even the best Toy Story; but if there’s a textbook example of it’s astonishing (see: sickening) mastery over cinema—Well, here it is.

Toy Story’s finale sends Buzz and Woody on a quest to find a new home as Andy gears up for college. Though parting ways is hard on many different levels. The toys find a replacement daycare “paradise” that turns out to be hell on Earth. Meanwhile, Woody partakes in his favorite pastime (getting lost) and plans to rescue the others.

I read one film theory that claimed this movie was actually a retelling of the Holocaust. Whether that’s true is up for debate, but it’s certainly an interesting look at the story and gives it a little more dramatic weight. But if you wish to pay attention to the film’s political construct or not, rest assured Toy Story 3 has a heavy focus on the emotional aspect of its break-neck adventure. Almost immediately the film’s heartstring-plucker gets to work when we see a grown Andy and his dwindled collection of toys eager to be played with. While the Andy's coming-of-age subplot is certainly an important aspect of the story, most of the film is about moving on-- Times of change where one must let go and embrace the future. So which is more gut wrenching? Coming-of-age? Or moving forward? I suppose it doesn’t really matter since you’ll have to contend with both ideas at the movie's tear-jerking conclusion.

Not that it's perfect. I felt like the villain was too close to the previous film’s antagonist, what with his nice-guy/troubled past persona that turns out to be a fa├žade. Then there’s the fact that the toys are fretting over Andy getting rid of them. Toy Story 2 established that they knew this day would come and they act as if they’ve forgotten about that. Perhaps my cynicism is kicking in again. Maybe the point I’m missing is that accepting fate doesn’t make the process any easier. Still, while the situational focus on the toys’ relationship with Andy is intriguing, I miss the franchise-defining camaraderie between Woody and Buzz. (Whom I felt was nearly wasted.)

Yet if the Toy Story series has shown me anything, it’s that they know how to end a movie in the most poignant way possible. After Pixar’s most armrest clenching showdown of their twenty-five year existence comes another high in emotional endings. I use the word “high” only realizing that if Toy Story 3 were a drug everyone would be on it and under Pixar’s control. Maybe we already are considering the immediate love for this film. Frankly, I can’t say it doesn’t deserve it. After all, how many beloved series end this well? Any takers?

***½ out of ****

1 comment:

download free movies said...

It think it is Nice film, but not better then the other Toy Stories :). I did like the horse very much. They are looking so cute.