The (Hopefully) Never-Ending 'Story'
Review, Walter Lopez
Jul 08, 2010
I recently checked out the newest installment in the Toy Story saga, and as someone who has seen the first two at different intervals in my life, I was thoroughly pleased. I marched on over to my favorite movie theatre, and as usual, was treated nicely by the friendly staff. Upon entrance I noticed throngs of people waiting in line for the film. The people in line were a melting pot of gender, ethnicity and age. The eager crowd served as proof that Toy Story 3 transcends generation gaps that most movies cannot, and rightfully so.
The throngs of people paced and chatted eagerly as the lines spilled over into the aisles. Security and police were on hand just in case, but proved unnecessary in my time there as everyone was in too good of spirits to ‘start something’ with their neighbors. As the time ticked away, the moment grew near and the crowd was let into the dimly-lit theatre.
The movie commenced with an interesting short cartoon titled Day and Night. The short ‘toon was an interesting juxtaposition of two different times of the day manifested as translucent little ‘guys’ that showcased the benefits and shortcomings of their time respectively. The daytime had bikini-clad women (much to the liking of the ‘Night’ character) and the night time showcased a brilliant fireworks show (leaving the ‘Day’ character awe-struck).
Soon enough, the ‘toon ended and the feature film was slated to start. Here we were, my childhood all over again. I was antsy. Would my hesitation prove just? I didn’t want to watch the movie originally for fear of it being ‘less than stellar’ or just another reiteration of the previous films.
The familiar characters made their way onto the set, and poor ol’ Bo Peep was missing—apparently sold, broken, or donated (Woody does not say too much about her in the film). Other favorites such as RC, Lenny, Wheezy, and Etch were left out save for archival footage—the reason cited was the same as the above.
This film was much darker than the first two. The hated antagonist of the film calls upon ‘Big Baby’ to perform his strong-arm duties. The normally loveable baby doll is represented as a mean ‘Baby Doll’ that had been accidentally discarded. With one of its broken eyes, it stalks the halls of Sunnyside Daycare—the place where the protagonists end up after a climactic sequence of misunderstandings and coincidences that siphoned a series of belly-laughs and worrisome sighs from the audience.
The action continues and we are introduced to are a new variety of characters, the main one (and my favorite new character) Ken is amongst the most dastardly and hilarious. Ken proves to be the fresh, new element that any trilogy needs in its third installment. He is at the butt end of many jokes, among them being the more ‘adult’ jokes that revolve around his wanting of ‘love’ as well as his ‘metro-sexual’ way of life (which had me holding my sides with laughter).
Laughs were plentiful in this Toy Story, and several of the jokes paid a deserving homage to the prior films. The ‘Squeezy Toy Aliens’ constantly cried “Craaaaaane” in unison at first sight of any structure with a movable claw (which was a delightful combination of cute and funny) and of course the mentioning of the Bo Peep situation (which may have been more sad than funny) were among the humorous flashbacks to parts one and two of the trilogy.
While the ending was one that left the possibility of a sequel, there are currently no plans to make another title of the beloved franchise.
The movie was beyond technically sound—the voice acting was convincing, as it should be given the uber-talented cast, which includes Tom Hanks and Michael Keaton. Although I watched the movie in ‘regular-D’ I do plan on watching it in ‘XD’ as soon as I have the time. The action sequences will no doubt thrill the audience being as they were acted out seamlessly. Every moment of the film had an opportunity for hilarity, being as the toys were putting themselves in very real situations (which lead to very funny results).
Andy, like much of the audience watching the film, had grown up alongside the toys, and was on the brink of saying goodbye to his childhood friends. Is this a metaphor for ‘us’ saying goodbye to the Toy Story saga? Perhaps, but in his saying ‘goodbye’ to the toys, a new child inherited them. If the metaphor for Andy leaving the toys behind can work to say this is the end, it can also work to say this is the start of a new adventure for Woody and Buzz.
Overall, the movie proved my initial hesitation wrong -- by a ton. The movie lived up to its billing and refurbished my childhood for me. I walked out of the theatre nostalgic and happy. Funny, sad, heartwarming—this movie did it all. I recommend this move for all age groups, with the only problem arising being the creepy ‘Big Baby’ character. There are enough jokes to make the adults laugh, and more than enough to make the child in everyone do the same.
Technology: 9 (the cartoons were beautifully rendered and the colors exploded off of the screen, even in ‘reg-D’)
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