Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 has been out for weeks but we've been busy and we just got around to seeing it.

Anyway, by the third installment, series usually feel a little tired. There are exceptions but those usually had a week second installment (Pirates of The Caribbean, Back to the Future). Series with a strong second installment usually fare particularly poorly (Spider-Man, Shrek). Then there is the problem of a sequel years after the original. By that time, the excitement of the original is long gone.

It is a tribute to the Pixar development process that Toy Story 3 still feels fresh. It helps that it was constructed as a totally stand-alone movie. There are only a few of explicit references to the previous movies and can be picked up from context.

Of course the premise is the same - toys are sentient creatures and come to life when no one is around to see them. There are a few plot elements that are in all three movies - one or more toys are separated from Andy and have to return. Near the end each movie has an exciting action sequence involving danger to the toys. Also, it wouldn't be a Toy Story movie if Buzz didn't get confused about reality somehow.

The big difference in this movie is that Andy has grown up and is going to college. The toy's big hope is that they will go to the attic to a peaceful retirement instead of being thrown away and destroyed. They are accidentally donated to a day care which seems like the perfect retirement until they end up in the pre-schooler's room. It turns out that the many of the daycare toys aren't all that nice.

It all works out and comes to a satisfying conclusion.

One problem that the movie had to overcome was the lack of sophistication in the original. The toys looked fine but the humans looked like big versions of the toys. When we first see Andy, he still resembles his original version but the college-age version and the other people look much more human.

When Pixar announced a couple of sequels (Toy Story 3 and Monsters 2) it seemed like they were running low on creativity or had been corrupted by the Disney merger. This proves that they can still make good movies.

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