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FWIW, I'm not sure how much of the blame or credit for this I would put at Pixar's feet. Three years before Toy Story came out, Disney had its then-biggest hit to date with Aladdin, which featured Robin Williams as a shape-shifting genie who riffs on pop culture like there's no tomorrow. It may not have been dry and Seinfeld-ian, per se, but it was certainly bringing a grown-up stand-up-comedy vibe to the material....

Not to mention what The Simpsons had been doing for animated family fare on television for the five previous years.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

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metalfoot wrote:

: The long and short of it is: as someone who goes to see one, maybe two films a year in the theatre, and with Harry Potter already on my docket for 2010, should I go see TS3?

Gosh. There's been a new Harry Potter movie every year, or year-and-a-half, since 2001. If you see only one movie a year, then you'd have seen nothing but Harry Potter movies for this whole past decade, except for 2003, 2006 and 2008. :)

If I had to choose only one film to see this year (in addition to the Harry Potter movie), I would be inclined to save myself for Inception. But I haven't seen that film yet, or indeed any of the films that are coming out in the second half of 2010 (with the exception of Despicable Me, which opens July 9, and which I saw a few weeks ago -- but I definitely wouldn't say that THAT should be your top pick of the year!). So I can't really compare them to any of the films that I HAVE seen already this year.

If you've seen the first two Toy Storys, then you know pretty much what to expect. I don't think Toy Story 3 is as good as its predecessors, but it's still a good film (I'm inclined to agree with whichever critic compared the film to the brightest pupil in the class handing in a B paper), and if you are at all invested in the characters from the first two movies, then I imagine you might want to see what becomes of them this time around. If you have to ask, though, then I guess you might NOT be all that invested in the characters, so I dunno.

Overstreet wrote:

: Not to mention what The Simpsons had been doing for animated family fare on television for the five previous years.

I suppose, although [a] that was television, not film, so different rules apply, and I'm not sure The Simpsons was necessarily regarded as "family fare" back then; if anything, the show was held up (by some people, at least) as evidence that animation DIDN'T have to be family fare.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Who knows if this is too off topic, but regarding thoughts about the opening sequence, one of the comparisons that popped into my head, was not Calvin & Hobbes, but some recent ads put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which are a blend of Stage Coach Westerns, Lost in Space Sci-Fi, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

There is a third ad which features a father and daughter on a strange alien planet, but I can only insert two per post, so for any who are interested, here's the link: http://tiny.cc/jb2or

Edited by Michael Todd

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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I just saw TOY STORY 3. I thought it was a fine time at the movies. Consistently funny. But it's the slightest of the TOY STORY flicks, and I can't say that I thought the Sunnyside "prison break" storyline was handled with all the cleverness I would have wanted. I don't think I'd have been much worse off waiting for DVD.

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Those ads are pretty cute. Interesting, though, that the father would be the parent engaged in active play in all three of them. Do mothers not play with their kids like this?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW, it's early days yet, but Toy Story 3 seems to be following a somewhat similar trajectory to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (which, like TS3, was a Disney film released in 3D).

TS3 actually had a slightly smaller opening weekend than Alice did, but its second weekend looks to be in the same ballpark as that film's opening weekend, if not slightly bigger; more significantly, perhaps, TS3 did quite a bit better on the weekdays last week than Alice did on its first set of weekdays. (Well, school wasn't out yet when Alice came out.) On the other hand, Alice, in its second and third and fourth weeks etc., didn't have to compete with anything on the scale of Twilight or Inception.

The reason I bring this all up is because Alice has just about ended its box-office run with $334 million in North America, which places it about $5 million behind Pixar's top-grossing film, Finding Nemo. (OTOH, Alice has earned another $685.6 million overseas -- the fifth-best overseas haul ever, behind Avatar, Titanic, The Return of the King and Ice Age 3 -- whereas Finding Nemo earned $528.2 million overseas.)

So if TS3 stays on this Alice-like trajectory, it could very well match Pixar's record and maybe even set a new one -- though not, perhaps, by all that much. In North America, that is. Overseas could be a whole other ballgame.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Personally, I find that conclusion rather unfortunate, just as I find the prison-escape sequence unfortunate, because both of these things get in the way of exploring what I thought was a very interesting social dynamic at the daycare. Instead of exploring this dynamic and allowing it to be what it was, the filmmakers turn it all into

a trick of Lotso's -- and thus, once Lotso is dispatched,

the film then pretends that everyone at the daycare can suddenly get along in perfect harmony. This, too, is another reason why I began to tune out of the movie once it introduced that awfully perfunctory (and highly derivative of Toy Story 2) flashback sequence.

Lotso gives a fascinating speech early on as he's showing the wonders of the daycare. It has something to do with the advantage of non-perminant owners being that the toys can avoid heartbreak. It reminded me of a quote from C. S. Lewis ("The only place safe from the dangers and perturbations of Love is Hell.")

I found that to be another interesting, under-explored element.

"Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen."
Robert Bresson

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Foolish Knight wrote:

: Lotso gives a fascinating speech early on as he's showing the wonders of the daycare. It has something to do with the advantage of non-perminant owners being that the toys can avoid heartbreak. It reminded me of a quote from C. S. Lewis ("The only place safe from the dangers and perturbations of Love is Hell.")

: I found that to be another interesting, under-explored element.

This lack of exploration is especially interesting in light of the fact that the movie seems to end on a note which basically says that yeah, Lotso was right.

*** END CREDITS SPOILERS ***

If you stick around for the end credits, they show that the daycare really IS a utopian heaven on earth, once the toys abandon the Lotso-imposed power structure and learn to take turns playing with the kids (e.g., if a kid throws one toy under the bookcase, another toy will take that toy's place when the kid starts reaching under the bookcase; in this manner, the toys come to SHARE the responsibility of being a child's plaything, etc.).

Like I say, this fits in with the film's recurring theme that the toys are increasingly taking control of their lives and, in a sense, manipulating the humans around them, by choosing who they "belong" to and who they will play with -- and this marks a radical departure of sorts from the principles that guided the first two films.

It also, alas, contributes to the sense that this film is somewhat simplistic or underdeveloped, at least compared to some of Pixar's better films. Why do we need to blame someone like Lotso for the power structures within the daycare? Why can't we acknowledge that cliques and hierarchies are just a part of life in general, and something we never really get away from? How likely is it that the clapping monkey and all the other people who worked for Lotso would suddenly find themselves living in harmony with the toys that they once oppressed? (Not that I'm saying the film should have shown the toys embarking on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission after Lotso's ouster, but... well, wouldn't that have been interesting?)

Anyway.

One of the reasons Toy Story 2 worked so well was that it truly immersed itself in the world of collectibles and what the implications of such a world might be for a toy, with all the pros and cons. (Just think of the guy who fixes Woody: his presence in the film is kind of ambiguous, because on the one hand he represents the false perfection of a life spent in a museum, and yet on the other hand he treats Woody with such loving care and takes true pride in his craft ["You can't rush art"].) But I don't get the feeling that the makers of Toy Story 3 really immersed themselves in the world of this daycare to the degree that they could have, and that's partly because it seems to have been little more than a plot point to them.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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*** SPOILERS ***

I must admit, the parallel between the daycare in Toy Story 3 and Cowslip's warren in Watership Down had occurred to me before, but until I came across the blog post excerpted below, I hadn't quite thought to connect it to my earlier quibbles regarding how hokey and perfunctory Lotso's role in this movie is.

Noah Millman @ The American Scene:

There is no internal conflict at all – only external conflict. And the external conflict is with . . . an abandoned teddy bear who turned the day care center into a prison? Where none of the toys actually want to play with the really little kids? Really? Not even the phone, who
was built to be played with by preschoolers
? What’s going on here?

I remember, at the end of
Toy Story 2
, that Stinky Pete was left strapped to a backpack with a Barbie doll who says to him he’ll really like her owner, because she’s an artist – and then she turns her head to reveal the hideous drawing on her face. Stinky Pete recoils in horror, but we’re supposed to laugh that he’s getting his comeuppance – he’s been afraid to be touched, and now boy is he going to be touched, good and hard. In the first movie, Mr. Potato Head complains about being gummed by “Princess drool” (Andy’s baby sister) and that he’s only supposed to be played with by children aged 3 and up; again, it’s a laugh. But now, we’re supposed to believe that the toys really hate to be played with rough by kids who aren’t old enough to play any other way? Sid was a sadist – that’s why he didn’t deserve toys. But what’s wrong with these two-year-olds?
Why are they cast in the role of the monster in this movie?

Of course, we get a good kid to contrast with these little hellions – the aforementioned Bonnie, who is truly adorable. And alone. Hmmm. And people complained that
The Incredibles
was elitist because part of its message was that exceptional individuals should be allowed to excel, not held back to salve the rest of our feelings. But the message of
Toy Story 3
is that in a world populated by no-neck monsters, only one little child really
deserves
to play with these toys we’ve grown to love.

Andy gives a speech at the end of the movie, as he donates his beloved toys to Bonnie, that absolutely made my flesh crawl because of its utter and complete inauthenticity. I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie where a character so obviously stood up and delivered the author’s message point-blank to the audience, and in a fashion so completely implausible for the character in question. (Actually, does Andy even have a character? He had one at age seven. Does he have one at age Seventeen? Not that I can see.) In any event, the speech is about how terribly important it is for Bonnie to
appreciate
his toys. If he’s going to give them to her, that gift is a sacred trust. These toys are
special
. She needs to
take care
of them. They are
important
.

Let me quote somebody who knows better:

YOU! ARE! A! TOYYYYY! You aren’t the real Buzz Lightyear! You’re – you’re an action figure! You are a child’s play thing!

Bonnie is important. The toys are props. They owe her loyalty and devotion. She doesn’t owe them anything.

At the end of this movie, the boys at Pixar come off like the protagonist of The 40-Year Old Virgin with his six-million-dollar-man action figure that he can’t give up. They may be scared of giving up their toys, worried that the next owner won’t take proper care of them. But why should we care?

For whatever that's worth.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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One, not only is Lotso's back-story somewhat perfunctory, but I think it may be TOO perfunctory given how murderous he turns out to be. I'd say it's even more perfunctory and less convincing than the back-story given to the similarly murderous Christopher Plummer character in Up. (Was anybody in either of the previous Toy Story movies this evil? I don't think so.)

Er ... ah ... how about Sid?

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mrmando wrote:

: Er ... ah ... how about Sid?

Father, forgive Sid, for he knew not what he was doing.

Lotso, on the other hand, knew. Oh, did he know.

Besides, Sid never quite "killed" anyone, even unintentionally. Perhaps, by mixing parts of one toy with the parts of other toys, he destroyed the "identity" of the original toys, which might amount to a kind of death. But the Toy Story movies are pretty vague about how that stuff works.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Besides, Sid never quite "killed" anyone, even unintentionally.

Uh ... I thought his intentions toward Woody and Buzz were pretty unambiguous ... and those intentions definitely entailed destruction, not vivisection. I think the vivisected toys in Sid's room may date back to an earlier time, when his destructive tendencies were tempered by childlike creativity. By the time we meet Sid, he's moved on from that stage to become a full-scale destroyer.

But Sid doesn't understand that the toys are actually alive and aware ... so from that angle, I guess you're right: Lotso knows exactly what he is doing and Sid doesn't. (Interesting: throughout the trilogy, Sid is the ONLY human who ever gets a glimpse of the truth about the toys.) On the other hand, is servitude at Lotso's paws a worse fate than destruction at Sid's hands?

As for cartoons being loaded with pop-culture references, that may be a relatively new thing in full-length features, but in other forms it's been going on for years. Classic Warner Bros. shorts were originally created to run between newsreels and main features in movie theatres, and many of them clearly appeal to grownup sensibilities and bring in pop-culture references. (To cite just one example, 1950's "8 Ball Bunny" has a recurring reference to the opening scenes of Treasure of the Sierra Madre.) And "The Flintstones" was originally a prime-time series, based on "The Honeymooners." It too had plenty of pop-culture references (Betty and Wilma's infatuation with "Stoney Curtis," for example).

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mrmando wrote:

: Uh ... I thought his intentions toward Woody and Buzz were pretty unambiguous ...

Y'know, you may be right about that: If nothing else, the movie does pretty much begin with Andy's toys looking out the window and watching Sid blow up a soldier toy. So yes, some toys have been outright destroyed.

But that still doesn't make Sid a murderer. Not like Lotso, who gets extremely cold-blooded in the end -- and right after his intended victims have saved his life. Like, if anything, that's even MORE evil than what the Christopher Plummer character did in Up.

: (Interesting: throughout the trilogy, Sid is the ONLY human who ever gets a glimpse of the truth about the toys.)

Yeah, and in a way that raises questions about "the rules" that toys are supposed to follow throughout the entire trilogy.

: On the other hand, is servitude at Lotso's paws a worse fate than destruction at Sid's hands?

I'm not talking about servitude, I'm talking about outright betrayal and murder. (It might be a sin of omission rather than commission on Lotso's part, similar to how King David told Joab to leave Uriah exposed to the enemy, but a sin -- and a murderous sin -- it is.)

: As for cartoons being loaded with pop-culture references, that may be a relatively new thing in full-length features, but in other forms it's been going on for years.

Oh, very true. And you can find isolated references in earlier films, too, e.g. the singing Liverpudlian vultures in The Jungle Book are pretty clearly a nod to the Beatles (even if they sing barbershop quartet rather than rock'n'roll). But The Jungle Book isn't exactly FULL of those kinds of references, the way that current cartoons tend to be. And like I say, when it comes to TV shows, we're looking at a whole different ballgame.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I'm not talking about servitude, I'm talking about outright betrayal and murder. (It might be a sin of omission rather than commission on Lotso's part, similar to how King David told Joab to leave Uriah exposed to the enemy, but a sin -- and a murderous sin -- it is.)

Gotcha. Yes,

spitting in the eye of redemption

and knowingly

consigning Woody and his friends to a fiery doom

-- that's the most evil thing done by any character in the trilogy.

Sid, however, is the only other character who intentionally destroys toys. If, say, Andy's mom put some toys in the trash without knowing what would happen to the toys when they got to the landfill, she would be at least indirectly responsible for their destruction ... but not directly culpable in the way that Sid is.

There's a nice irony at the end of the third film: an older Sid is now a garbage man, and the toys hitch a ride on his truck to get back to Andy's house.

But The Jungle Book isn't exactly FULL of those kinds of references, the way that current cartoons tend to be. And like I say, when it comes to TV shows, we're looking at a whole different ballgame.

Sometimes in older Disney films, casting is a type of pop-culture reference. King Louie in Jungle Book is a whole-cloth invention (he's not in the book) created as a way of getting Louis Prima into the film, is he not? Scatman Crothers and Cliff Edwards also played cartoon versions of their own pop-culture personas in Disney films, did they not?

Edited by mrmando

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Two, I'm not sure what to make of the opening sequence.

IIRC the same device appears in Finding Neverland, doesn't it? There's a sequence on a realistic-looking pirate ship (the action is seen from within the characters' imagination), and then there's a sudden shift in perspective: now we see objectively that Barrie and the boys are just playing pirate.

I don't mind the toys having a shared imagination with Andy. True, the other films haven't gotten inside the heads of either Andy or the toys in this way, but I'm not aware that it breaks any rules to do so. There's a nice contrast in starting at the center of what must be a happy memory for the toys, then pulling back to see that Andy's mom also cherishes this memory, then pulling further back to see that the toys are now boxed and Andy has other things on his mind. We can see that the toys were once what the Skin-Horse calls "Real," which may explain Woody's undying loyalty to Andy. And of course, this scene is nicely bookended by the Andy/Bonnie play scene at the end.

Edited by mrmando

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As for cartoons being loaded with pop-culture references, that may be a relatively new thing in full-length features, but in other forms it's been going on for years. Classic Warner Bros. shorts were originally created to run between newsreels and main features in movie theatres, and many of them clearly appeal to grownup sensibilities and bring in pop-culture references. (To cite just one example, 1950's "8 Ball Bunny" has a recurring reference to the opening scenes of Treasure of the Sierra Madre.) And "The Flintstones" was originally a prime-time series, based on "The Honeymooners." It too had plenty of pop-culture references (Betty and Wilma's infatuation with "Stoney Curtis," for example).

Not to mention the things like Edward G. Robinson impressions and Gone With the Wind references in the old WB Looney Toons episodes.

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Richard Brody @ The New Yorker:

In the most villainous line spoken by the villain of “Toy Story 3,” Lotso, the big fuchsia-hued plush bear who is the dictator of the day-care center, exhorts the toys who have just landed there to yield to “the good of the community”—to which Woody, the hero, responds with an appeal to “family.” It’s no surprise (nor a disappointment either) to learn that there are no Marxists at Pixar; but there are no Freudians there, either, and, most of all, to all appearances, no readers of newspapers, with their all-too-inconvenient accounts of evils visited upon children by close family members. In “Toy Story 3,” evil is what befalls toys who make the mistake of leaving home, because they fail to trust in the love of their owner, Andy, who, now seventeen, is about to leave for college. . . .

“Toy Story 3” is a narrowing, reactionary, pathologically clean movie. It isn’t a movie that shrinks from frightening children (at a movie theatre on the Upper East Side yesterday afternoon, children cried as the toys, trapped in a garbage dump, approached the flames of a crematorium-like incinerator), but all its scares serve to teach children to stay home, and only stay home, and escape into fantasy with their toys. Nonetheless, children’s fantasy—indeed, Andy’s fantasies—provides the movie’s one truly charming aspect: the suggestion that the kid who invents an elaborate imaginary world around his or her toys, and who never really leaves those fantasies and toys behind, is the one who will grow up to make “Toy Story 3”; the movie gains much from the implicit reminiscence and self-portrait of its own confectioners. . . .

mrmando wrote:

: I don't mind the toys having a shared imagination with Andy.

Hmmm. I wonder if the toys have a "shared imagination" with any of the other kids that have played with them (starting with Molly, and continuing on through other kids until we get to the daycare). I mean, Andy had actual friends in the first movie -- people who came to his birthday party, for example (indeed, if it wasn't for one of those friends, Buzz Lightyear never would have joined the gang in Andy's toybox). Presumably Andy didn't always play with these toys by himself; presumably his friends played with them too. (And, as I noted at my blog a while ago, if Woody has been Andy's favorite since kindergarten, and if some of the other toys have been Andy's since even earlier in his life, then it stands to reason that Andy was once a rampaging monster with his toys just like the kids at the daycare are.)

It would be interesting to know how the toys experienced being played with by THOSE people.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Podhoretz strikes again!

One of the things the clockwork Toy Story 3 reveals is just how flaccid Pixar’s most recent efforts, Ratatouille and Wall-E and Up, have been. There’s no fat here, as there wasn’t in Finding Nemo and the flawless Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Christian wrote:

: Podhoretz strikes again!

: One of the things the clockwork Toy Story 3 reveals is just how flaccid Pixar’s most recent efforts, Ratatouille and Wall-E and Up, have been. There’s no fat here, as there wasn’t in Finding Nemo and the flawless Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles.

Huh. Whereas I, like Noah Millman, believe Toy Story 3 suffers from some of the same problems that have plagued Pixar's recent efforts -- and, if anything, it adds a problem or two of its own. I still like it, though. I think.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Angela Walker @ Christians in Cinema sounds less rhapsodic than some:

I went with friends to see it this weekend, and it does have its share of fun moments. You expect that with Pixar. But does it have the emotional impact of Up, last year’s animated hit? I don’t think so. But then I’m not a man. . . .

This film is about the rite of passage from childhood to adulthood, where growing up usually means the end of days imagining that you can reach the moon from the swingset in your backyard. But it doesn’t have to. . . .

There are good lessons to be learned from the film, and Pixar does its usual wonderful job with the animation. But I didn’t leave crying, except when I realized I paid extra for 3-dimensional effects that were pretty underwhelming.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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A&F alumnus and proto-co-founder Steve Lansingh:

Now, I know that children's movies aren't always simply fun-fests. Bambi's mother gets shot, Snow White has her run through the dark forest where the trees tear at her, and I have it on good authority that the dragon in Sleeping Beauty can cast some nightmares. You also never know what kids will find disturbing — Corin didn't like it when Ponyo's father puts her back in a bubble in "Ponyo." (Heck, he doesn't like when the Map sings his song in Dora the Explorer for some reason.)

But Toy Story 3 goes pretty whole-hog into terror. I probably wouldn't have noticed this much if I hadn't brought a three-year-old, but a huge chunk of the movie is darkly lit, threateningly voiced, and punctuated with screaming. And it isn't just one scene. This is what the movie's about. The characters are in despair from frame one: despair at their fate, whether it be a dark garbage bag in the attic, being tossed away, torn apart by preschoolers, locked in cages, under the thumb of a dictator, or burned in an incinerator. Even the finale, which is moving beyond words (yes, I had tears) is bittersweet. There wasn't a single moment of
pure
joy in the movie.

Now, that doesn't make it a bad movie. It was a rather interesting movie. But it seems lightyears away from the first Toy Story, which was about nothing but moments of joy and whimsy. The problems were about interpersonal conflicts, but on a level kids understood, using their natural affection for their toys. It was a simple story about bonding, and about making room for one another. Toy Story 3 is about death, fearing death, and facing irrelevance. It's Hamlet to the original Midsummer Night's Dream.

Maybe I wouldn't have had that reaction if I hadn't been watching the film next to Corin wondering how he was taking it all in (and that he did eventually ask to be taken home and cried for a bit during a particular sensory assault). But it did make me wonder why the series has strayed so far emotionally. Part 3 is like watching Princess Ariel and Prince Eric face the guillotine after their subjects revolt against them. It's just so out of place. An
interesting
approach, but out of place with the tone they'd established. They take characters we care about and then hold their feet to the fire, which makes for and engrossing story, to be sure, but maybe a little cheap. They play on emotions of fear and trepidation; I had wanted to soar. . . .

Later on, he adds the somewhat defeatist line: "Oh well, you can't argue with Pixar." Actually, you can, and he does -- indeed, he just did! But it says something about how pervasive the groupthink has become that even Pixar's critics feel the need to declare that you can't criticize Pixar.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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