Thursday, June 17, 2010

Review: Toy Story 3

He was a panda bear. In a fit of childhood creativity I named him "Panda". Though he was neither particularly big, as many coveted stuffed animals are, nor particularly soft like those extra huggable toys, he was mine and much loved. I cried every time I lost him and took him everywhere including, I admit, to college.

I share this to illustrate the universal appeal and manipulative genius of the Toy Story concept. Who didn't have a favorite inanimate companion in childhood? Who doesn't think back to their favorite toy -- be it stuffed animal, plastic monster, or doll -- when watching Toy Story?

After two joyful funny movies with Andy and toys one could argue that it's time to move on. To its credit TOY STORY 3 deftly harnesses that argument for its very plot...


I'm eager to hear what you think of it.

26 comments:

Nicholas said...

I don't have a cherished toy, I was a nerd. I had cherished reference books. Is that sad?

James T said...

Nathaniel - I'm so glad you (among many others) liked it a lot. I enjoyed the review but I tried to avoid what seemed to me like "too much information" which is not the same as "spoilers". I have to say though, you didn't have to describe the ending the way you did. I'm too weird, I know. I'm sorry. It's just that I like to know absolutely nothing about he ending. Well, I knew it is supposedly moving but that was the limit for me. You gave away the tone of the ending which was kind of unwelcome. Sorry for being so difficult :)

Nicholas - Did you love your reference books? That's what counts :p

Nate said...

I agree with Nicholas, I had dolls, toys etc I played with but none greatly cherished.

Rae Kasey said...

My beloved plushie was a panda too! I got him when I was 6 and named him Oreo. I'm 22 now and still take him with me whenever I go out of town. :)

Agustin said...

I didn't have a cherished toy
in fact, I don't really remember what I used to play with. (it took me various hours of therapy but I still don't know what I really liked to do when i was a kid!! sad i know..)
Left the theater some hours ago... Loved the previous ones, seen them way more than 20 times each.
Went with my mother, twin brother and 3 year old brother.
I'm afraid it was too intense for the little one. Even if I had read your warning nat, I would have gone with him all the same.Toy Story 1 and 2 are probably his favorite movies.
He is sleeping and he hasn't had bad dreams til now but the night isn't through yet.
VERY INTENSE.
In the end I had to bite my lips as not to cry too hard, I was crying, but I didn't want to cry any harder. If I wouldn't have bit my lips I would've cried like a 4 year old girl. Both my mom and brother cried. Not the little one.
The thing is, I hate manipulative movies. It does manipulate by pushing it to the limits, by certain moments which maybe aren't really necessary to the story. But the Toy Story franchise is different. At least for me. I'm not saying everyone has the same connection I had with these films.
We have followed their story for 15 years (only 2 movies but tons of repeats!) and you just feel for them, you know what they've been through.
Maybe I'm really overeacting.
But I definetely will see this again at the theatre.
This is an A for me.
oh and yeah, I really didn't like the looks of the other toys when they saw Ken's more feminine side.
Yin & Yang people!

Austin said...

I loved Toy Story 3- I was lucky enough to catch the full trilogy tonight at the Ziegfeld. What a pleasure to sit through all three at once. It's incredible seeing how the technology has improved, how the previous films remain so great, and how the whole saga plays out together.
The third movie could've had more- more of its wonderful new characters, etc. But it focused so wonderfully on the established ones, the ones we came for. The last act of the movie, as mentioned, does tackle some deep stuff- the furnace sequence especially. But the actual ending of the film is sublime and incredibly moving.
I don't think there will be a film trilogy as strong as Toy Story. A trilogy as funny, charming, and epic. But it's epic in a disarming, small way- sure, there are action sequences and chases, but across the street, down a shopping aisle, or over a playground. The films, all three, find the epic in the emotional power of attachment and love, and how that defines us. That's what makes them work so well.

Glenn Dunks said...

It's a really lovely movie, isn't it? I was kinda thinking it might get a PG rating due to that climactic sequence, but how beautiful is that moment with the hand holding? I admit I had to hold back tears. At least Toy Story 3 earns its tears instead of shamefully wringing them out in the first five minutes by throwing sad and tragic things at an unsuspecting audience. Manipulation always loses out to organic emotion, I say. (sorry, I had to dig at Up).

As for cherished toys? I think I had one, but I don't really remember what? I was big on lego, Thomas the Tank Engine and matchbox cars with my driving mat (a sort of map with streets and such that i'd use to drive my cars on). Curiously, that's the extent of my driving knowledge since I never learnt how to drive an actual car.

NATHANIEL R said...

James T -- thanks for the feedback. I always try not to give things away but i feel like tone is important to describe so as to share an opinion on the movie. But, anyway, ya can't win in this regard. But i seriously can't believe how many spoilers are in most every review of most every movie. Even Ebert, who everyone cherishes, tends to describe at least half of a movie's plot. I only like to describe the kick-off but then i get letters like "this review told me nothing about the movie!" like people DO WANT plot summaries.

hmmm.

Volvagia said...

Yeah. It's A Wonderful Life earned the tears and the uplift, Eraserhead earned it's fear, WALL-E earned it's uplift. Up spewed: CRY NOW and although well made, it's a bit boring the second time you see it. (For me, it's a fight between Up and Cars for Worst Pixar Movie. I need to see the first two Toy Story movies again.)

dinasztie said...

Just got back from it. Heartwarming experience and brings back such beautiful memories. It's unfortunately not as good as Wall-E, but that's impossible, so it was truly great.

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Kev said...

100% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes! HoT! I wonder how long it'll be able to keep it up.

I really want to see this b/c it could be a big Oscar contender, but I haven't seen the first two films. Will that put me at a disadvantage, or does it really matter with a film like this? Help!

karaokequeen said...

I'm looking forward to this *so* much (have to wait till Sunday, though!) it almost hurts.

lylee said...

When I was a kid, I slept with EIGHT stuffed animals, at least a couple of which would end up on the floor every morning. I was ridiculously devoted to them. I still remember the trauma I went through when my dad, who was furious at me for what I'm sure was good reason, took my two favorite stuffed kitties and threw them out the door into our snow-piled back yard, knowing *full well* how much they meant to me. Of course he retrieved them later, but at the time, I thought he was the cruelest man on earth.

Anyway, can't wait to see TS3. Sometimes I think the critics are a little too quick to fall all over Pixar, but "Toy Story" is still, in my opinion, the best of their films (though "Ratatouille" comes close, with "The Incredibles" just behind).

NATHANIEL R said...

lylee -- i actually agree with that. Some of the reviews of this thing are out of control. You'd think it was Citizen Kane. But it's very good and a worthy sequel which is just such a relief. Plus it's quite moving in the end.

But it's not like it's brand spanking new. It's Toy Story, you know!? I still think the first one is the best because it introduced me to all these beautiful characters.

Volvagia said...

Could we have a winner with Toy Story 3? I would think the Academy would wait for Brave, but maybe as a surprise that everyone but the actors love, Toy Story 3 will get it. (If they don't even vote for Andy Serkis as Gollum, there's no way a "voice only" performance will get a nomination within the next fifty years. A motion capture performance? Maybe within the next 20.)

NATHANIEL R said...

you mean for best picture?

nah. it's a sequel and no animated film has ever won (or even come close to winning)

and i still believe that since the foreign film category and animated fiml category no foreign or animated film will ever win best picture. they gave them their own ghetto categories.

Arkaan said...

Kev, Armond White hated it. Well, that's not entirely true. He told himself that since Pixar is acclaimed and popular, and that since Toy Story 3 would likely fit that bill, that he needed to stand against the crowd (meanwhile, he reminds us he loved Transformers 2).

It just rather insane.

NATHANIEL R said...

kev & arkaan -- i wonder why everyone always want a movie to hit 100%. No knock against you if you do. But sometimes... as was initially the case with THE DARK KNIGHT it seems almost like people don't want their to be any critical discourse about movies they love. which i think is a shame.

but i agree that armond white is ridiculous. his reviews always emerge after the fact and it does rather feel like this happens because he needs to suss out the critical reaction and charge against it for shock value.

NATHANIEL R said...

and by "their" i meant "there" ugh.

vg21 said...

Just got back from it, what a great movie!! Truly, there are so many good ideas in it, the creators didn't allow themselves one lazy moment. I really appreciate it since, in my opinion, this is the most demanding aspect of doing anything creative. In addition, the story is very clever and riveting, some dialogues are really funny and the animation is brilliant.

I have only seen Alice in 3D so I don't really have much experience to compare Toy Story to but because Alice happened to be one really bad 3D, I think Toy Story 3 is a quality one. I can only recommend it to everyone, young or older.

Philip said...

I saw this tonight, and I was literally fighting back from just bursting into a pathetic baby-like sob. Gosh. It was soo freaking sad! Well, bittersweet. Plus I'm the same age as Andy in the movie and I actually went to see it with my mom, so when Andy's mom got upset about him going to college, I felt really bad for my mom (sadface). That'll be her in about a year! I really enjoyed this movie though. A+.

Kev said...

I don't "need" anything to be universally acclaimed, and I haven't even seen "Toy Story 3" yet. It was just a cool statistic that I wanted to acknowledge. But of course Armond White and his garbage would be what would help ruin the perfect record.

Syhila said...

COOL ! how i love this movie alot ! pixar did well with this movie, hope next year they will create another boom!

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James T said...

I liked it quite a bit. I just wish it wasn't as hypped as it was.

The short was brilliant though.