Monday, January 24, 2011

On Further Review: Toy Story 3 (2010)

This week I'm taking a look at both a bunch of potential Oscar contenders and two Oscar winners. When this week was put together none of the nominations were known (the nominees are tomorrow). The first five films (The films today through Wednesday) are to me are some of the over rated films of the year. Thursday I take a look at last years Best Picture and Friday is a look at the original Rooster Cogburn, who is actually found to be deserving of his award.

(Warning this post will contain spoilers)

I know this is going to get the brick bats thrown at me but I really don't see what is so great about Toy Story 3 out side of a nostalgia for visiting old friends. Yes, it has a few moments, primarily at the end, but for the most part this film is a what were they thinking film. I could probably let it go and chalk it up to a matter of taste but with this film angled toward getting both an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Film, as well as one for over all Best Picture when they are announced tomorrow I have to take a few moments to say very loudly You must be joking.

The plot of the film has Andy grown up enough to be heading off to college. His toys are boxed up and put away...or should have been and instead they are sent to a day care center which is ruled by an evil bear and his cronies. Woody, who was going to go with Andy to college and who can't really deal with the changing times has to find away of rescuing his friends and finding them a new home.

Pixar has made a dark little film about growing up and growing old. On a certain level they should be applauded for actually thinking that audiences will not run from a dark film. I personally never thought I'd see a Disney (okay Pixar) film with scenes as touching or as bleak as the hand holding as the toys wait for death in the conveyor belt finale. Of course they chicken out and they don't actually kill anyone off, but it's nice that they tried.

Unfortunately I have problems with the film.

The first thing I dislike is that the film seems artificial. I suspect that Pixar has wanted to do something daring and different for a while and that they saw their opportunity to do that with this film. I think they felt safe using the Toy Story characters because it allowed them a safety net. People will give them a bit of leeway they might not have allowed them other wise. I suspect that this drive to do something dark made them come up with a plot that is set up to hit certain points. Perhaps they said "We need to get across what its like to grow up and let go" and they went with it. But at the same time they had to make it family friendly. To me it would have been really ballsy to have the ending less certain, that maybe there is no happy ending over the hill and that sometimes people we love die. That never happens, there is a happy ending.

The up shot is none of it feels real. The plot feels as if its being manipulated.

No where is this more evident then in my biggest problem with the film, the total mentally diseased change in Woody. Where did this some from? How did Woody become so psycho? Every other character in the film seems to be on an arc from the first film, Woody seems to have gone off the rails. He's screams and runs around and acts as if someone has taken away his meds. Granted Woody has always been a bit high strung but here he's so much more tightly wound he seems about to explode at any second.

Why? What brought this on?

Its never really explained.

Had any of the other characters changed this might have made some sense, but they haven't so the attitude change makes no sense. Why has only he gone round the bend? I could have seen it had the toys been whittled away but they are more or less all there, and all in one piece.After all these years none of them have gone missing? Yes I know its only a movie but it's still pretty amazing that almost every toy from the previous films are still around and in good condition (it shouldn't have been like that)

Hasn't anyone noticed any of this? Hasn't it bothered anyone but me?

Apparently not, this is the most successful animated film of all time.

Okay, I'm nit picking but for a film that is trying very hard to tell a great emotional truth it can't get the surface details right, worse it has to radically stack the deck to get to that truth.

This is not the Best film of 2010, nor is it the best animated film.

(and yes I know the picture is from the second film but its the LGM's and they make me laugh so the picture went up)

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it is not the best animated film ever, and since I haven’t seen “How To Train Your Dragon” it could be best that year, but I have a feeling I would like the “Dragon” film better. I wanted to laugh and feel good more watching this movie and I only got sad and cried, or almost died in suspense. I rented it with my employee account for my kids and they watched it 4 times in 24 hours. I let them rent there because there are over 3,000 titles and some of them are free.