Toy Story 3 reviews

Mister Tee
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Postby Mister Tee » Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:07 pm

A million years late, finally got to this.

The quality control for this series has been extraordinary. When you think of the fall-off from Godfather II to III, you realize how difficult it is to cover largely the same ground with many repeat characters and still come off fresh. This film's success partly stems from the powerful emotional core of the material: each chapter has used the idea of toys as a way of getting at something essential (and essentially sad) about both being a child and growing past that stage, and this film, especially in its final moments, deal with those feelings as potently as the When She Loved Me sequence in 2. If (as one presumes) this film takes the animated feature Oscar, it'll be alot more representative of the series at its peak than, for me, Return of the King was for the Rings movies.

But...there is some downside to repetition. I wouldn't go so far as Sabin as to call the film redundant, but you do have the sense that we somewhat dealt with Andy outgrowing toys, though at a far younger age, in chapter 2. This time the vantage point is different: that previous Andy was just "too grown-up for toys" and more dismissive; now he's matured enough to feel both a nostalgic pull and the sense he has to move on But there's still a sense of watching recycled material.

There's also a sense of deja vu with the plot mechanics. I can't say I recall the first two movies to the letter, but my overall recollection is, they went off somewhere and had to break out to get back to Andy. The details are different (and clever enough), but recognizing the rhythm deadens the movie's impact some. Wall E for me remains Pixar's top achievement this decade, at least partly because it was an original concept.

But this movie does have that last scene, which, god help me, had me close to the blob of blubbering jelly I was at ET's finale. At first I was just misting up, but the damn scene went on and on, and then it was, fuck, water's rolling down my face, and, oh, jesus god, Woody's waving goodbye and now I'm total mush, and I just hope the damn credits run a long time so no one sees my face all soaking like this. I'm not that easy a cry at the movies, so when I'm reduced to infancy like this I have to give the movie some high kind of credit.




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Postby Sabin » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:45 am

I started the tag #tragicpixarshit on Twitter recently, counting down the five most inappropriate for children moments in PIXAR-dom. These guys remember their childhood fears and preoccupations far too well and are not afraid to excise their preadolescent neuroses in front of America. The Brad Bird films tackle more grown-up feelings of inadequacy and drive for excellence, and while the recent PIXAR films (Up, WALL-E, Cars) possess a more matured gaze towards the future, the earlier ones are powerfully guilt-laden and feel resultant of a toddler's therapy session. None more so than the Toy Story films, perhaps because you can never own imaginary monsters, fish, or bugs like you own your toys. They're yours. And you spent the majority of your childhood failing them.

I thought after Toy Story 2, everything was tied up in as neat a bow as could be expected. I was...right. Toy Story 3 is redundant, but perhaps the greatest redundant film I can remember off-hand. The thematic resonance of Toy Story 2 is haunting. As I wrote earlier, it manages to sway you with arguments about limited immortality vs. powerful mortality. It's a beautiful film. Toy Story 3 isn't beautiful so much as exhilarating and cathartic. In spite of its flaws (and I'm loathe to call them such), Toy Story 3 mainly exists to A) thrill, and B) provide closure for adults young enough to remember being a kid during the Toy Story films and say goodbye and move on with our lives. I didn't quite know I needed that, but the bitter aftertaste of Toy Story 3 I think is largely because it grows you up. I still think the film owes far too much a debt to previous installments, plugging too many previous catchphrases in, but its indulgences are selfless. We return to the world of Woody and Buzz to immediately begin saying goodbye. I think the film's chief offense is arriving over ten years after the last one. The PIXAR folk have a lot of faith that moviegoers can reboot themselves back into 1999 as easily as I can.

The narrative is ridiculously efficient. It throttles us through so many tropes and innovations that it's very difficult to fault this film. It's a very entertaining jail break film. It reboots Buzz and gives us Spanish Buzz. We get a lot of old school playing and it settles us with a new special child who plays just as well but differently. There has always been a psychosexual undertone to Woody talking about being Andy's toy and missing being played with. Toy Story 2 spoke more to the need to cherish and move on, but in Toy Story 3 these inanimate objects feel almost like a cult yearning for shared ritual. But the sense of family between them is quite touching, and the film succeeds in throwing numerous monkey wrenches between them, physical and emotional.

I don't know how people who haven't seen/don't like Toy Story 1 and 2 will view this film, but, beyond being the third installment of a trilogy, this is where I break from my long-standing belief that if I don't read the book I should still be able to enjoy the movie, etc.: I don't much understand people who don't like the Toy Story films. So to return with a degree of nostalgia is required for this film, but I also found myself a mite distanced from some of them. I didn't really need to see all of these toys again. I felt a bit like Andy about to graduate. The allure of Rex, Ham, and Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head was a little lost on me. Because it innately relies on something I cannot fake or manufacture like I need to, Toy Story 3 never entirely organically grabbed me as PIXAR's greatest films. Its triumph is that of distraction. This film is riveting. Not in years has there been a PIXAR film that has moved quite this speedily along. They've grown more contemplative and wise, but this movie is nimble on its feet. It justifies its existence through high stakes entertainment and glorious animation.

It's quite a good film, and it leaves its toys - and in a way itself - with the younger generation, ready to move forward.




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Postby OscarGuy » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:12 pm

I loved the short before the film. I'd say it's probably their best since For the Birds, but it's definitely their most imaginative effort to date.
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Postby Greg » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:52 am

The Original BJ wrote:But even THAT was nothing compared to the film's final scene, which reduced me to an emotional wreck. It's astonishing to me that these filmmakers have made us care so much about the bond between a boy and his toys, but they have, and I don't think I've wept so much at a film since...well, at least since Up. And the scene really builds in a great way -- every time I didn't think I could get any more emotional, the film found a way to pull more tears from my ducts. I just about lost it at "So long, partner."

Wussy! :;):

Actually, though I didn't cry at the very end, I did get a little misty eyed. What's surprising is how moving was the ending for an animated comedy. Especially, because it all happened so organically, rather than being a tacked-on moral to a series of slapstick as often happens at the end of TV situation comedies.




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Postby The Original BJ » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 am

And also -- the Day & Night short that preceded the film was hugely imaginative and extremely well-executed.

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Postby Sabin » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:33 am

I'm very much of two minds with Armond White. I really think the guy makes up his mind on which films to like ahead of time almost as a response-commentary on how others do the same all the time. I don't respect that. On the other hand, he's written some of the most fantastic reviews of the past decade and he was on the A.I. bandwagon before anyone else. And it didn't feel like blind Spielberg worship either. I don't want Armond White to go away. I like the place that he holds because I can either agree with him or incredibly easily dismiss him.

I still haven't seen Toy Story 3, so I can't comment on that. I usually can begrudge him a few points regardless of what film he reviews. His citation of The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, and WALL-E as the Trifecta Worst Films of 2008 is obnoxious, especially in that he cited them as the death of culture when WALL-E is about nothing short of the rebirth of culture. It just does so free of the Christian paradigm.
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Postby anonymous1980 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:37 pm

Here's a pretty good insight on Armond White posted by someone in another message board:

I disagree with most of what armond says, but buried in the vitriol of his average review is an insight or two that seems unique to him. He mainly judges films by their context in modern culture more than by their intrinsic value. He holds filmmakers accountable for all the political and social implications of their choices. This is admirable because it is a high standard. However, there are problems with this “high standard” – Filmmakers don’t really have time to think “political socio economic context” when creating their work because it is such a huge, cumbersome medium, and films are finished years after they were conceived. Also “context” is more vague than armond who have us believe, (he writes as if the obscure points he makes should be self-evident). Finally, when a filmmaker fails this high standard, armond speaks of them as if they have some deep, politically corrupt soullessness. He becomes over zealous and mean spirited (which is too bad, because his hostility takes away from some of his best insights- which usually have to do with humanism versus cynicism) So in the end I can’t tell if I like the guy or not. but I read him.

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Postby dws1982 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:13 pm

OscarGuy wrote:White draws in viewers by crossing the grain of popular opinion. He doesn't actually hold those beliefs, he merely uses it as a ploy in order to bring in money.

Did you just make that up?

I'll say this: He can be an excellent, incisive reviewer when he wants to be.

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:01 pm

White draws in viewers by crossing the grain of popular opinion. He doesn't actually hold those beliefs, he merely uses it as a ploy in order to bring in money.

If people ignored him, he would eventually just go away.
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Postby Damien » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:57 pm

God Bless You, Armond White!
===========================

'Toy Story' Narrowly Misses Perfect Trilogy Marks (Thanks, Armond White)

By Zach Dionne June 20th 2010

Thursday, 'Toy Story 3' had a shot at something special -- it stood to propel the three films into history, becoming the only trilogy rated 100 percent fresh across the board on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, that hope was dashed. As Roger Ebert and others predicted, notoriously contrary New York Press film critic Armond White dissed the third installment in Pixar's flagship franchise. White's review deems the nearly universally acclaimed film "essentially a bored game that only the brainwashed will buy into" and posits the series is only fit for "non-thinking children and adults."

The other negative review (seriously, there were two) comes from a critic named Cole Smithey. His "news outlet"? ColeSmithey.com, of course, where he dubs himself "The Smartest Film Critic in the World." No word on who he actually, y'know, is, or why he sits alongside the likes of critics like Ebert, A.O. Scott, Peter Travers and Owen Gleiberman on the review-compiling website.

It's hard to ignore the fact that the two Scrooges' opinions fly in the face of much of the Internet and more than 150 critics on Rotten Tomatoes -- the consensus seems to be that the film is a stellar conclusion to a shining series.

"Maybe Smithey and White – a lifelong devil's advocate who has made a career out of railing against popular opinion – used their reviews more as a means of grabbing attention," Time magazine writes in a post titled 'Can 147 Critics Be Wrong? Meet the Two Pundits Who Trashed Toy Story 3.'

The tally now stands at 155 fresh reviews and two rotten ones. Unfortunately, the pair of unsavory reviews keep 'Toy Story' from being the only trilogy of all time to receive perfect marks.

June 21 update: A third rotten review has rolled in, dipping the film's score to 98 percent with 160 positive reviews, three negative ones.

To turn off our journalistic objectivity device for a minute (what do you mean, we turned that off for the headline and never looked back?!), we'd be remiss if we didn't point out Armond White dishes a positive review to 'Jonah Hex,' an 80-minute feature film receiving a severe drubbing from critics (15 percent fresh on Rotten Tomates). White also suggested 'Transformers 2' as a superior alternative to 'Toy Story 3.'

White's chink in 'Toy Story's' armor was the final straw for some film fans -- a petition, 'Ban Armond White from RottenTomates.com,' has received nearly 2,000 signatures. The petition spotlights White's approval of films like 'Norbit' and 'Confessions of Shopaholic' and his poor reviews of critic- and fan-favorites 'The Dark Knight' and 'There Will Be Blood.'

"I am forced to conclude that White is, as charged, a troll," Ebert wrote last summer.




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Postby Zahveed » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:09 pm

I grew up on the Toy Story, and I was very pleased with this third, and hopefully last, feature installment.

But now I can look forward to the short film that comes in front of Cars 2... but that means I'd have to watch Cars 2...

It's a bittersweet world.
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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:15 pm

Yes, it's a new world, but of the 4 released prior to September (District 9, The Hurt Locker, Up and Inglourious Basterds), only Hurt Locker wasn't a blockbuster and that film was going to get nominated in a slate of 5 regardless. Matter of fact, Up and District 9 were the only two that wouldn't have and neither really fits The Kids Are All Right profile. I think Focus is going to put most of their effort behind Somewhere, which is one of the other reasons I think Kids Are All Right might be dumped in July.
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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:11 pm

OscarGuy wrote:The only reason I'm starting to discount The Kids Are All Right is that Focus is releasing the film July 9.

Only one Best Picture has had an initial release in July: On the Waterfront. It's not a particularly Oscar-friendly period to be releasing. If they felt better about pushing it, I'd guess they would push it out in December (as they are Somewhere). Even The American is a bit iffy with an early September release.

But you were just talking about making the field of 10. And, last year, 4 of the 10 were released prior to Sept. 1st. It's a new world.

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:01 pm

The only reason I'm starting to discount The Kids Are All Right is that Focus is releasing the film July 9.

Only one Best Picture has had an initial release in July: On the Waterfront. It's not a particularly Oscar-friendly period to be releasing. If they felt better about pushing it, I'd guess they would push it out in December (as they are Somewhere). Even The American is a bit iffy with an early September release.
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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:31 am

The Original BJ wrote:At this point, I think a better question to ask is if Toy Story 3 can overcome both its animated status AND its sequel hurdle to nab a Best Picture nomination in an expanded field.

Speaking without having seen the film: I think the second hurdle you mention would have been a problem in the old field-of-five -- as it was for The Dark Knight -- but I see no chance of the film being excluded from a ten-slate.

Oscar Guy, Focus also has The Kids Are Alright, which looks very audience-friendly.


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