Directed by Lee Unkrich
About a year ago I probably would have never gone to see this film. Ever since hitting the double digits age wise (i.e. 10… yeah, I know, so old) I threw away my childish things. And by childish things, I basically just mean cartoons. As soon as I started watching R rated movies (which was only a little bit after the age of 10) I thought to myself “why the heck would I ever go back to watching films that are composed of nothing more than gags and juvenile humour.” Okay, so that’s probably not what I thought to myself when I was 10. I probably thought something more along the lines of, “it sure is cool to watch that guy bleed so much when he gets shot. And did he just say the F-word? What’s that woman taking off her top for… oh. Well now, I’m definitely never watching a cartoon again.” Regardless of my exact thought process, cartoons were put on the back-burner with me for a long, long time. And even when I would venture off and give one a chance, they’d almost always disappoint me. “Finding Nemo”, “Ratatouille”, “Wall-E” the list goes on. They never really stood out to me. Then I saw “Up” last summer and something changed. It was the first cartoon I had seen that actually moved me since I had been a young, young boy. It didn’t speak down to its audience, if anything it asked everyone to look up and to meet each other in the sky. It was a work of art. And since then, there have been a number of very well received (and most of them, deservingly so) “children’s” films. “How to Train Your Dragon”, from a few months ago, is probably still one of the top films of the year so far. And now enter summer, which means yet another Pixar film, but this time it’s something a little more familiar, “Toy Story 3”.
The original “Toy Story” is one of the last cartoons I ever enjoyed growing up. “Toy Story 2” came out when I was a little older and starting to disown the genre, so even though I saw it, to this day I barely remember any part of it. But “Toy Story” I remember. I think I might have seen the movie twice in theatres. I also remember going to Euro-Disney and eating at the “Pizza Planet” restaurant that they had built there with Buzz Lightyear all over the place. So even though I might not remember the sequel, the franchise holds somewhat of a special place in my heart. This caused me to both anticipate and dread this sequel’s release. Considering the roll children’s films have been on for the past year, I really shouldn’t have worried so much.
Is “Toy Story 3” the best film of the year? No. It’s not even the best animated one (“How to Train Your Dragon” still gets my vote) but it’s a very endearing film. I think there’s a very real chance that I am becoming less cynical the older I get, (cynicism, I believe, played a large part in me not enjoying animated films for the past decade) and watching Woody, Buzz, Rex, and pals come together for one more adventure struck a pretty emotional chord in me. I still think the movie could have been a little faster, had a few more jokes, and a slightly better ending, but most of the time, it was very fun to watch. The climax of the film, taking place in a garbage incinerator is particularly powerful and hardly even a word is spoken in that scene. (And since that was the greatest moment in the film to me, the denouement with Andy came across as slightly hokey.)
“Toy Story 3” is a film that everyone can enjoy and since that statement is coming out of the mouth (or typed out of the hands, whatever have you) of an admitted cynic, (maybe not as much as I once was, but I am still) you can take that to the bank.
P.S. I’m sorry, and this is purely that evil cynic in me talking, but throughout the entire film I did have one question. Namely, what the hell happened when Andy had to have some… shall we call it “alone time” at his more advanced age in this film? Considering how the toys seem to study and analyze his every decision, when Andy started doing that, it must have scared the hell out of them… Especially his Woody. Okay that one was too easy and juvenile… oh my God, I could write an awesome kid’s movie!