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Toy Story 3

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FWIW, I've whipped up a quick blog post on the role of the dog (whose name is Buster) in the three Toy Story films. If you check it out, note the screen-caps from TS2 and the above TS3 trailer in particular, and how the level of detail (in Buster's fur, in the hardwood floors, etc.) has greatly improved over the last 11 years!

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MattPage   

FWIW I've mentioned before that in TS2 the dog's appearance is a moment where the filmmakers seem to be trying to show off: "Look what CGI can do".

Matt

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Note to those who do not want to know this film's main story beats, including how the movie ends: Do not flip through this colouring book, which has apparently been out there for almost four weeks already. (I flipped through this book at the store tonight, and I have to say, they do seem to wrap things up on a reasonably satisfying note. Hopefully it all works out in the execution.)

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Richard Corliss @ Time magazine gives away a major spoiler or two (he doesn't reveal anything we haven't already seen in the colouring book that came out a month ago, though) and draws an interesting parallel with the current stage of Pixar's corporate history. Kind of reminds me how Greg Wright argued, one or two movies ago, that all (or most?) of Pixar's films can be seen as stories about Pixar, for better and for worse.

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Peter Debruge @ Variety:

Andy outgrows his anthropomorphic amigos Buzz and Woody in "Toy Story 3," the franchise's third (and final?) installment -- and as it turns out, 15 years after launching the computer-animated toon revolution, Pixar has outgrown them, too. Whereas "Toy Story 2" treated auds to a character-based sequel that handily justified its existence, this tertiary adventure delivers
welcome yet nonessential fun
, landing well after its creators have grown up and succeeded toying with more sophisticated stories. Nevertheless, the stereoscopic 3D release, which reportedly out-tested all of Pixar's previous efforts, should dominate summer playdates. . . .

Pixar has essentially set an impossible standard for itself, having previously delivered the rare sequel that improves on the original, then followed that up with a run of exceptional work. This latest script, written by "Little Miss Sunshine's" Michael Arndt from a story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Unkrich, feels more gag-driven than the studio's previous efforts -- essentially borrowing a page from DreamWorks Animation, chasing snappy humor over heart-on-their-sleeve sentimentality, within a few months of DreamWorks going the Pixar route with the sincere storytelling of "How to Train Your Dragon." . . .

I gotta say, I wonder how this film's portrayal of "the military" will come across to some people. This review mentions a minor plot twist that also comes up in the colouring book, and it leads me to wonder, well, "Where's your honour, dirtbag?"

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Todd McCarthy @ IndieWire:

Does “Toy Story 3” break the jinx? Pretty much so, yes. Attended to in every creative department with all the care that one has become accustomed to expect from Pixar, the new film, after a slam-bang action teaser, takes perhaps a bit longer than necessary to put all its pieces in place. But once it kicks in to unexpectedly become a prison-break thriller, it fires on all cylinders all the way to the finish line.

The main reason Pixar has established itself as the best film company in the world is that its top priority is story, story, story. No matter how dazzling the technique (the 3D is perfectly judged here), how funny the gags or how sly the characterizations, the narrative superstructure is as sound as the engineering for the Eiffel Tower or a 747, the plot as satisfyingly consummated as in a novel by Dickens or Hammett. There are visible formulae at work here, to be sure, especially with the emotional injections administered at the beginning and end, but they convey honest and valid sentiments lying at the heart of the attachments of characters that now have long histories, both with each other and the audience. . . .

The one slight indulgence is the running time; at 103 minutes, (not including the new 3D short, “Day & Night,” that precedes it) “3” is 11 minutes longer than its immediate forerunner and 23 minutes longer than the original. While scarcely excessive, the film still feels a couple of pounds over its ideal fighting weight.

That last comment is... interesting. There are three other Pixar films that are longer than this, and while, yes, Pixar's worst movie (i.e. Cars) is the longest of them all (at 117 minutes), one of Pixar's very best movies (i.e. The Incredibles) is second-longest (at 115 minutes). So length, per se, isn't determinative of anything. (The other longer film is Ratatouille, at 111 minutes. The only other Pixar film to break the 100-minute mark, maybe, is Finding Nemo, at 100 minutes -- but is that rounding up or down? And just for the record: WALL-E was 98 minutes, Up was 96, A Bug's Life was 95 and Monsters Inc. was 92.)

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SDG   

There are three other Pixar films that are longer than this, and while, yes, Pixar's worst movie ... is the longest of them all

Or the second shortest, depending how you count.

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SDG wrote:

: Or the second shortest, depending how you count.

I think you mean fourth-shortest. (I didn't mention the lengths of the first two Toy Storys because McCarthy had already covered that.) :)

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SDG   
: Or the second shortest, depending how you count.

I think you mean fourth-shortest. (I didn't mention the lengths of the first two Toy Storys because McCarthy had already covered that.) :)

...only if you do math.

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: Or the second shortest, depending how you count.

I think you mean fourth-shortest. (I didn't mention the lengths of the first two Toy Storys because McCarthy had already covered that.) :)

...only if you do math.

Eh, who has use for math anymore?

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Mike D'Angelo: "Toy Story 3 ('10 Unkrich): 68. Unnecessary rehash of 1st 2, but still a lot of fun, esp. as mock prison flick. Schmaltz overload at end."

Hmmm. I wonder how the "mock prison flick" aspect will compare to, e.g., Chicken Run.

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SDG   
Mike D'Angelo: "Toy Story 3 ('10 Unkrich): 68. Unnecessary rehash of 1st 2, but still a lot of fun, esp. as mock prison flick. Schmaltz overload at end."

Hmmm. I wonder how the "mock prison flick" aspect will compare to, e.g., Chicken Run.

I had time in between reading these two sentences to come up with the thought of the second after reading the first. :)

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SDG wrote:

: I had time in between reading these two sentences to come up with the thought of the second after reading the first. :)

You're either a fast thinker or a slow reader. ;)

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David Poland:

What struck me after seeing Shrek Forever After and Toy Story 3 was that these films, based on extremely successful franchises, were secret reboots.

I don't want to review Toy Story 3 here, but reading the Variety review, it occurs to me how this trend is not yet understood. Like Shrek 4, TS3 doesn't do what Shrek 2 and 3 did... or what Toy Story 2 did... which is to extend what we liked about the original, add a couple of characters, and basically, do a thicker version of what we had.

Toy Story 3 takes our familiar family of character and asks an entirely different set of dramatic questions. The series focused on a magical idea of toys being alive and built a mountain of incredibly pleasurable kitsch around it. In this film, the Toys don't just go out into the world... they have to deal with the constant urge of the world to oppress the weak and vulnerable. As simplistic and heart-tugging as previous emotions in the series were, this one forces the Toys to make choices that are uncomfortable for adults, as well as teens, as well as kids... and thus, toys. Becoming irrelevant is scary, but here is a family movie that directly deals with death, very much in the way the Star Wars movies do... and not just as a "I am your father" joke. . . .

FWIW, I'm not sure Poland does the new film any favours by essentially belittling Toy Story 2 and its "simplistic" emotions. If THAT'S the prism that you have to look through in order to appreciate Toy Story 3...

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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Christy Lemire @ Associated Press:

This is what happens when you're good at your job: Everyone expects excellence from you, and anything even slightly short of that feels like a letdown.

"Toy Story 3" is a gorgeous film — funny, sweet and clever in the tradition of the best Pixar movies — but because it comes from that studio's nearly flawless tradition, including two "Toy Story" predecessors, the expectations naturally are inflated. Excluding "Cars," Pixar has a perfect track record of animated classics, with the innovative "Toy Story" starting it all in 1995. And so the pressure's on to come up with a tale that makes a sequel worthwhile. . . .

It raises the kind of deep, existential question you don't often see in a kids movie: If no one acknowledges you, do you still exist? . . .

Unkrich, who was a film editor on "Toy Story" and co-director on "Toy Story 2," plays the petite prison elements of the situation for tons of clever laughs. There's also a beautiful, sepia-toned flashback that explains the origin of Lotso's anger, as well as the back story of his chief enforcer, a creepy doll named Big Baby. But then "Toy Story 3" turns unusually dark as it heads toward its climax — it might be too intense for littler kids — before turning heavy-handedly sappy at the absolute end. . . .

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Persona   

Peter, at this point you have 58 of the 99 posts in this thread. Enough is enough with the toys already.

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