Sunday, June 20, 2010

Toy Story 3 - Pixar's Brave Little Toys

I didn't like the first Toy Story. Despite being penned by Buffy's Joss Whedon, I thought the film borrowed heavily from the long forgotten Raggedy Ann and Andy Musical Adventure movie and Jim Henson's The Christmas Story. Toy Story 2 I thought was a billion times better with a unique story and characters that you could really care for. Try to not cry when Jessie has her flashback. Just try. When Toy Story 3 was announced, one couldn't help but be sceptical.

Toy Story 3 appears to borrow heavily from the animated film The Brave Little Toaster: Animated inanimate objects and their owner who's going off to college. What's going to happen?

Andy is all grown up and has to decide what to do with his childhood toys. Or at least the ones he still has. Fan favorites like RV, Etch and Bo Peep (sad face) are absent from this movie aside from cameos in the opening credits.

By mistake, the toys are sent to a daycare center where they meet many new characters. This movie has a lot of characters, but it never gets confusing and the characters are always charming and intriguing. One of my favorites is the appearance of a Totoro Doll among some of the new friends of our core cast.

One thing I found lacking in the first two movies is strong female representation. I loved the character of Bo Peep, but she was never really part of the main action. Jessie didn't really have room to grow in Toy Story 2 and Mrs. Potato Head and Barbie were merely cameos. 

In Toy Story 3 I was surprised to find how well written Mrs. Potato Head was. She actually outshines her male counterpart in this movie. There is a sequence with Mr. Potato Head and a tortilla that got the biggest laughs in the theater, but one can clearly see that Mrs. Potato Head is the top spud. Barbie is surprisingly very empowered in this film and her story arc becomes one of the most interesting among our characters, aside from Woody of course. 

Where Toy Story 3's strength really lies in of course is the story itself. In this one film we have a very multi-layered story about letting go that never loses it's focus or beats you over the head with it's lesson. It doesn't just tell it's story, it's shows it's story, and that's really what film is all about.

A highly recommended movie that will no doubt be dissected and discussed.

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