Saturday, June 19, 2010

Review: Toy Story 3

This review is posted over at OK Magazine:

To me the most commanding sign of the power of this great and beautiful film is the way it managed to make my 3-year-old son cry. Luke is not a sensitive child. It takes a lot to get to the boy. You usually have to deny him ice cream or clip his fingernails against his will. To get to this child abstractly, using only images and sounds, takes a tremendous amount of emotional heft.

Toy Story 3 accomplished the task with just a line of dialogue and a whimper. I don't want to spoil the scene beyond identifying it as one that involved one of the movie's more distant and funny characters -- a noise-emitting baby doll. And damned if it didn't have me clutching my son and willing my lower lip to stop trembling as well.

This movie is by far the best I've seen this year, and I'd be willing to bet my laptop that it snags one of the best picture Oscar nominations and is a strong contender to take home the best picture prize, no matter what other works of genius come along this year. Toy Story 3 feels like a once-every-five-years confluence of perfection in tone, delivery, timing, humor and drama. The movie dwarfs the two awesome previous films in the series and somehow manages to elevate Pixar's stratospheric reputation even higher.

Like Up, last year's Pixar masterpiece, Toy Story 3 stares the concepts of love, dedication and mortality in their dagger eyes, refusing to blink as it sends you down a difficult and wrenching road, coaxing you along gently with humor and understanding. The toys are no longer a rascally gang of wise-cracking buddies who get into misadventures suitable for a sitcom, but are rusted, worn-down tools passed over by life, staring into the existential void.

Woody runs around like a revival preacher, trying to convince his friends that their owner Andy will still have some sort of use for them at some point down the road. The movie cleverly prods at humanity's need to rationalize death with concepts of an afterlife. Things only get deeper from there. The movie analyzes the march of the time in a way Ozu or Kurosawa do, taking on a feel you'd expect to find in a Miyazaki film in terms of plot development, as the toys wind up in part of a day care center that becomes a prison camp.

As Woody plans the toys' great escape, you wonder along with them to what end their best laid plans will reach. Even if they win, they lose, and will surely end up discarded by the only owner who has ever loved them.

There are bad guys who stand in the heroes' way, but as in a Miyazaki movie, they have their reasons for behaving the way they do, and may or may not be willing to see things the way the heroes do, even when they inevitably wind up in the same mental place.

The movie starts off fantastically, gets better as it rolls along and reaches an apex at the end, with betrayals, tearful partings, terrifying dilemmas and swashbuckling rescues.

It ends predictably, but only because this is a great and unique story with an epic footprint that could only finish one way -- the way you knew it would when you walked into the theater. Don't expect foreknowledge to make it any easier to choke back the tears, no matter your age.

Starring the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. Written by Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich. Directed by Unkrich. Rated G. 103 minutes.

5 comments:

Mitchell said...

I could not agree with your review more. I just went and saw Toy Story 3 with my friends. I am a 17-year-old high school student, that is going to be Student Council president next year. What this movie has left me with is the power to have integrity in all aspects of your life. Just think about it...in terms of your own life, if you know someone who has a dark past that takes it out on you and your friends pushing them to a near death experience - would you have the integrity and will power to stand up, and save that persons life?

Woody is truly and inspiration for the world. And for leaders and people who go out of their way to make ethical choices. Everyone in the world should watch this movie..they would learn and be inspired just like everyone who sees it..truly is.

峻龍 said...

要持續更新下去喲!!祝你心情愉快.............................................................

Mitchell said...

I could not agree with your review more. I just went and saw Toy Story 3 with my friends. I am a 17-year-old high school student, that is going to be Student Council president next year. What this movie has left me with is the power to have integrity in all aspects of your life. Just think about it...in terms of your own life, if you know someone who has a dark past that takes it out on you and your friends pushing them to a near death experience - would you have the integrity and will power to stand up, and save that persons life?

Woody is truly and inspiration for the world. And for leaders and people who go out of their way to make ethical choices. Everyone in the world should watch this movie..they would learn and be inspired just like everyone who sees it..truly is.

Dr Fierce said...

I agree with your review, save for the part about Up being a Masterpiece. It's far from it and is by far the weakest of the Pixar movies. Goes to show that no one can step up to the plate and hit a home run. In the case of Pixar, Up was a hit and a miss (despite what the Academy said).

longge said...

But just like the original Viagra , the herbal Viagras work in two ways: Viagra UK improve the circulation of blood to the penis and Cheap Cialis alter the hormones so that the male has better libido.