Friday, June 25, 2010

Pixar Toys With Perfection Again

Toy Story 3 seems like a strange choice to present to the indecisive moviegoer, since I predict that almost everyone could find a reason to see this movie. However, if you truly are an indecisive moviegoer, perhaps this review will come in time to save you from not seeing it.
It's probably a good thing that Disney bought out Pixar. Ever since their founding with the first Toy Story they have proved themselves to be leading the pack in the creation of kid's movies. Pixar's mission is to create classic films. Toy Story 3 may not be the best film of the trilogy even if it makes a strong argument for it. This won't stop the franchise from becoming a new American classic. It hosts a cast of instantly recognizable characters that have stood the test of time. After all, Toy Story stepped onto the scene a whole fifteen years ago and they hardly needed to advertise to move to a $110 million weekend.
Pixar's film make the case for continuing the production of computer animated movies. These days they're becoming a dime a dozen. The Shrek franchise is now on it's fourth film and there's always the occasional title that slips quickly out of memory like the Tim Burton produced 9. The same beauty and attention to detail that Disney made famous in their classic fairy tales is what helps make Pixar's movies exceptional. Toy Story sports vivid colors, attention to lighting, physics and "high-def" details. While pencil-drawn animation purists will always criticize computer animation, Disney's old films could never capture the lifelike details that Pixar's films do, down to the pores of an old janitors face. Only computer animation could capture the humor in a stuffed doll's awkwardness while trying to run across a lawn. Lotso, a giant purple teddy bear who is introduced into the series, is detailed down to the individual fibers of his fur coat.
One of the things that make the Toy Story films great is that the writers seem to understand the drama in the lives of toys. For a long time films have been made about the lives of things that are kept secret from humans. There are movies that focus around aliens, ants, babies and sea creatures. Pixar is the only company brave enough to tackle the subject of toys. They seem to know so well how toys think, act and feel. They not only do this, they do it really well. While films about pets and babies tend to get stuck in the realm of poop jokes and bad puns, the Toy Story films not only delight children but entertain the intelligence of their parents. Pixar has been marked for their political commentary before, most noticeably in the post-apocalyptic Wall-E. It's interesting to watch Toy Story and see how a child's rather simplistic adventure tale can make the viewer think about society. The dialogue is rife with the idea of aggressive expansion and how when we may assume we are wanted, we sometimes aren't. The unspoken commentary in Pixar's Mise-en-scene lies in the background world's obsession with Ipods and video games. Perhaps the movies greatest triumph though, lies in the fact that in a complex drama about the lives of toys, they come off so terribly human.
The series owes a lot of that to their fantastic cast. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen once again bring their talents to the voice cast and there's not a weak link in the whole lot. It's the hard work of the animators and the voice actors that bring the characters to such full and vibrant life. It takes only a second to fall into the world of the movie. To be honest, I can hardly remember the details of the past two films, and the third one stands on it's own as an impressive movie. Save yourself the money and see the movie in 2-D. There will be less strain on your eyes and you'll have more time to focus on the little details. Pixar is all about finding the treasures in the little things. On that note, be sure to show up on time to catch the animated short at the start, and to stay during the credits for the "outtakes." All these things work together to make a complete package of a film.

Consensus: See

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