Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toy Story 3

Go see this movie. Why?

1. Classic story telling. It’s an escape movie at heart and pays homage to the standard bearers of escape films like Escape from Alcatraz and The Great Escape.
2. Satisfying and touching without being emotionally manipulative. The story is filled with humor and suspense; I can’t recall an animated movie that’s kept me so enthralled with the fate of its characters.
3. The return of the original cast – no knock offs. With the exception of Slinky (originally voiced by Jim Varney, who passed away shortly after the release of Toy Story 2) and the kids that voiced Andy and his sister in the first to movies, the original and recognizable voices are back. The writers and the director were all involved with the first Toy Story and bring their passion to finish the story in a way that is both final and true to its origin.
4. The quality of the animation. Pixar proves why it’s the leader in digital animation, and the combination of Disney and Pixar is movie magic.
5. Buzz en Español. You’ll have to watch to see what I’m talking about (I don’t want to ruin the plot). While we’re on the topic of Buzz Lightyear, Buzz is Tim Allen at his best.
6. The tortilla. And the pickle. And Mr. Potato head. Again, I won’t spoil the plot, but the use of the tortilla in the escape from the daycare is one of the funniest moments in the movie – and possibly the most hilarious of all three Toy Story films.
7. The new characters. They’re not just there as filler and their characters are fully developed with unique personalities that add to the value of the story. Ken is shallow, Big Baby is creepy, and Lotso is manipulative and maniacal.
8. Sunnyside Daycare. This is a fantastic new setting for the toys and serves as an ideal prison. The interactions between the kids and the toys at the daycare are priceless and more true to life than the way the toys were handled in the previous films.
9. It keeps kids engaged. More than that, it involves the kids (I’m speaking on behalf of young children as my oldest is 5). Most movies serve as a mindless stream of motion and sound to distract the youngest demographic, but Toy Story 3 brings those with single digit ages into its universe. As Andy waved his last goodbye, my daughter waved back. When Ken’s astronaut outfit was employed in the escape, she asked why Ken was wearing Barbie’s shoes (rather loudly, in the theater, during a quiet moment in the movie).
10. Valuable themes. The movie focuses on loyalty but also touches on the themes of unity and teamwork, faithfulness, determination, kindness, fair treatment of others, and generosity.

If you take young kids to see this movie, be forewarned, the climax of the escape is intense. The final moments at the dump can be frightening. My son (age 5) was not disturbed. My daughter (3 ½) managed to remain in her chair up until that scene – thanks to the distraction of popcorn – but the scary dump led her into my lap to seek comfort and safety.

We went to see the 2D version, so I do not have any testimony to the value of 3D. However, I did not see any place where the extra dimension would add any value to the film other than to increase Disney/Pixar profits. 2D is satisfying enough to make it difficult to justify the more expensive price of 3D.

So go. Trust me, you’ll enjoy yourself.

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