Friday, June 25, 2010

Toy Story 3

What's unique about the Toy Story trilogy as a whole is its consistency with the lives of those who saw the films as they were originally released. The original Toy Story was released in 1995, when I was six years-old, which I saw in theaters. Andy, the main driving point for all of the toys in all three films, is also about six. Toy Story 2 was released 4 years later; Andy is a little older, as was I. Now fifteen years later after the release of Toy Story comes the third and final chapter in the series, Toy Story 3. Andy is now leaving for college, right up to date with the events in my life, once again (almost, at least). The growth of Andy is entirely parallel with mine, so each film strikes a chord with me no other film has, and I know for a fact I'm not alone, as all my friends grew up with it as well. Besides the timeline, the film is also consistent with it's characters; every reoccurring character is always voiced by the same actor it was in the film before it, even Andy. For a trilogy that spanned over the course of 15 years, this is an amazing feat (and good luck).

In the second sequel, the toys know Andy is going away, and that they have one of three fates: he will take them with him, put them in the attic, or get thrown out. Instead, after a big misunderstanding, they donate themselves to a daycare. At first, they see this place as a heaven, where they will by played with for the rest of their lives (being "played with" seems to be an addiction for these toys). Since whenever the children get older, new children come in to replace them. "No aging, no heartbreak", as said by Lot's-O'-Huggins Bear (one of the film's new major characters). Of course, everything turns out to be a lot more horrible than expected, since they are stuck being played with by infants, who have no sense of how to use the toys in any respectable way. The film takes a sudden, hilarious turn into a prison break story, when they realize they are indeed taken prisoner by Lots-O.

I've realized that what makes Pixar such a great studio is all the little touches they put into everyone of their films. Incredible detail is put into every single frame of their movies, and Toy Story 3 is no exception. Every location feels so natural and organic, from Andy's room to the daycare. The animation is terrific as well, and I don't mean just graphically (the opening cinematic is both gorgeous and genius). The way Ken (the other major new character) walks and how his elevator slides up and down his house is hysterical. Mr. Tortilla Head was also brilliant; in theory, it doesn't sound so great, but the way the studio handled it is what made it so fantastic.

Despite how great the film is, the plot itself isn't entirely original; it is very similar to the sequel before it. The toys are sent away because of a big misunderstanding, and are instead sent to a place where they are falsely lead to believe that could be better than Andy's, only to find it is not better, but much worse. The antagonists in the films are very similar as well; they give the impression they are gentle-hearted people with Southern accents, but really they are evil people with Southern accents. This isn't a horrible thing however, nor is it uncommon to do this in a film series. However, the film by itself is still fantastic, so it isn't very relevant to it's overall quality as a film; I'm clearly nitpicking.

What makes Toy Story 3 so special is that this movie can have anyone from the ages of 3 to 95 laughing, gasping and crying (myself included) all in the span of 90 minutes. The third act has one of the most heart-wrenching scenes I've ever seen in my life. To then see children of 3 years-old walking out of the theater, and realize that you are in fact watching a G-rated film is an incredibly strange feeling. Pixar is the only studio that has ever achieved this, and that is what makes them one of the best groups of talent to have walked the surface of the Earth.