Thursday, December 2, 2010

Under 250: Toy Story 3

Boy am I going to get in trouble for this one. Toy Story 3 is a perfectly acceptable film that is often pretty to look at, will bring out many chuckles and tears, and that will keep kids once again at the edge of their seats as Buzz and Woody go on yet another adventure. But it’s not God’s gift to Pixar, Disney, or the audience, as nearly every person on the street and every reviewer (Wilde.Dash included) would have you believe. As the toys battle their way back to owner Andy (who’s now off to college) and come to terms with their own mortality, there are many sentimental moments that examine our connections to objects and aging that seem admirable. But as in many Pixar films (some more so than others), these emotions feel saccharine, not unlike the pouring forth of emotion that comes from watching a heartwarming Folgers’ Coffee Christmas commercial. There’s not something inherently wrong with that, as that broad connection links nearly every person and age group to the films, but for me it feels less satisfying once those moments have passed. It’s the sort of comfort food you get from a film like The Family Stone, the higher level emotional cousin to the Hallmark Channel. It serves a purpose, but isn’t on a higher plane. And while the film has some creative moments and details (my favorites include the opening homage to Silverado and the visit to Ken’s closet), it pales in comparison to the first film whose trip through the country felt as refreshing as it must have to Woody, as he ventured out of his owner’s room for the first time to experience the world. Better than most kids movies? Totally. Worth the incredible hype that seems to have reduced even the most angry, snobby, and elitist of critics to submit? Nope, not so much.

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