Tuesday, June 22, 2010

‘Toy Story 3’ these are Toys that I hope to keep forever!

Can the geniuses at Pixar do no wrong? Can they possibly make a bad movie? If ‘Toy Story 3’ is an indication, their current streak of unparalleled filmmaking continues to march on strongly. In a summer that is filled with bad remakes (ugh – do I need to mention ‘The A-Team again), sequels that will not live up to its hype (although I am hopeful for ‘Eclipse, the Twilight Saga’) and completely unimaginative filmmaking (‘Prince of Persia’ – I mean it was a 16 bit video game at one point!) – ‘Toy Story 3’ rises above it all with humor, heart and stunning animation. If you go to a 3D movie this year – make sure ‘Toy Story 3’ is at the top of your list. The animators at Pixar know how to take advantage of the technology – it is no gimmick here – it adds to the story and depth of the characters!

It has been over ten years since we have had the pleasure of dipping into the toy box and enjoying these lovable characters. It is that passage of time that becomes the center of the story in this wonderful conclusion (hopefully not) to the ‘Toy Story’ tale. Things have changed a lot in the ‘Toy Story’ universe, some of the toys from the earlier films are now gone, donated or simply thrown away and we find that Buzz and Woody (& company) have been in the toy box for quite some time. Andy is now 17 and headed off to college with no room left for the toys in his life. Of course the toys feel unloved and long to be played with – after all, that is what a toy is for! Rather than toss the toys out – Andy opts to pack them into the attic, with the exception of his beloved Woody of course, but due to a mistaken action by Andy’s mothers, the toys: Buzz, Mr & Mrs Potato Head, Hamm, Rex, Slinky are placed on the curb with the rest of the garbage pick-up. Saved from the clutches of the trash man – the toys are unknowingly donated to the Sunnyside Day Care Center, along with the newly introduced Barbie, where the toys are lead by the very folksy and Care Bear like Lotso.

To the Toys – this is heaven; children always around – children wanting to play with them. But not everything is as it seems, and what follows is a fantastic send up of every prison movie from ‘Stalag 17’ to ‘Cool Hand Luke’. Filled with powerful emotions, more than a few moments of absolute genius comedy, the Toys go on a final adventure of a lifetime; proving once again that love and friendship overcome all hardships. What is especially gratifying for me is that this 3rd installment has not gotten stale; the irresistible charms of the first two films are intact and present! Adults and kids alike will be filled with wonder watching this film – especially if you see it in 3D as it is truly meant to be seen.
As usual, Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz) and the other veteran actors making up the cast prove their voice talents are equal to their visual acting talents. Often, animation is that much more difficult as the actors need to convey more emotion through their voice than their expressions. Director Lee Unkrich, who had a hand in the previous installments, does an excellent job building the film and bringing us all to a very wonderful conclusion. Even knowing this was an animated film, I could not help but well a little at the end, this is truly the end of a terrific film series. Go grab a viewing of this 4 star effort in 3D – although it will be just as powerful in 2D!

I wanted to keep my Redbox Rental pick in line with ‘Toy Story 3’ – so I thought about Tim Burton’s 2 star ‘Alice in Wonderland’ effort, that even Johnny Depp could not save; or even the 2 star yawner ‘Remember Me’ with ‘Will I be remembered for anything but a vampire’ Robert Pattinson; or perhaps the 1 star dude ‘Valentine’s Day’, the movie even Julia Roberts could not save – but then I thought: “It’s Redbox! They are all $1 anyway!’ So you can’t win them all in what has been a pretty dull year for movies until ‘Toy Story 3’.

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