show all entries...

Toy Story 3

June 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

In one sentence?

Perhaps the best prison break movie since Shawshank Redemption.  Or possibly Chicken Run.

Okay, that's two sentences.

Also, the action sequences in this G-rated animated movie were far more exciting and engrossing than the action sequences in the vast majority of action movies I've seen.  It's interesting to me that I rarely come out of an animated film feeling like I'd just wasted time and money, but I rarely come out of a live-action film feeling like it was entirely worth my time and money.

I would love to hear the Pixar people talk about their approach to writing and storytelling.  They really know how to tell a story.  Simple stories, told well.  They excel at this.

One of the things I found most interesting, and enjoyable, about Toy Story 3 is the fact that they use a very familiar plot and yet they tell it in a deeply entertaining way.  They pulled so many familiar tropes from a variety of sources, but did it in such clever and entertaining ways, that it never felt cliched or lazy to me.  Normally when I'm sitting in the theater and realizing I've seen a particular scene before in a different movie, I get bored and disappointed.  To a certain extent, it's a truism that there are no original stories.  But there are always new and original ways to tell old stories.  Just as West Side Story is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Or by the way changing the Congo into Vietnam turns Heart of Darkness into Apocalypse Now.

Or the way Toy Story 3 changes the twisted prison warden into Lots O' Huggin' Bear. 


Barbara June 30, 2010 at 12:46 pm
I'm going sometime after the holiday but I can't believe how many ADULTS have told me that it's a 'not to be missed' movie. And I am not talking about my lady friends who like anything soft, sappy and in general ending happily. These are GUYS (particularly short-attention spanned guys) that leave telling everyone that they HAVE to see this movie! I'm really looking forward to it.
Ian June 30, 2010 at 10:15 pm
It's worthwhile. Hope you enjoy it. It's not my favorite Pixar outing of recent years, but I still found it worth my time. Though, even Pixar's weaker efforts are frequently far better than most of the stuff in theaters. Another absolutely terrific animated movie, in my not at all humble opinion, is The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Sara G. August 17, 2010 at 7:09 pm
I LOVED Fantastic Mr. Fox. In fact it reminded me of how I felt after seeing the first Toy Story- that I wanted to live in that world, or at least watch it for 8 more hours. While I was visiting my family in MN we all went to see Toy Story 3. My parents claim they hadn't seen a movie in a theatre since Galaxy Quest. Yeah. We all loved it and I'm pretty sure I saw my dad getting teary eyed at the end. I wish other studios would take a cue from Pixar. I think part of the reason their films are always good on multiple levels (except for Cars, Cars is a weird exception to the Pixar Films Are Always Great rule) is that they take their time making them. 11 years elapsed between 2 & 3. What other studio would have that kind of patience when there was money to be made? Part 2 of their consistent success- great, clever, emotionally engaged writing. You simply can't get film greatness without talented writers and unfortunately most action films these days are assembled like a Cliché Mad Lib.
Ian August 17, 2010 at 7:43 pm
The Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of the best films I've seen in the past few years. Man did I love that film. The directorial angle, and animation, and the story all come together to make something wonderfully twisted and clever. I haven't seen Cars, but you're not the first person to tell me it's the exception to the Pixar=Great rule. I still wish I could sit down with the Pixar folks someday and talk to them about writing. Because they clearly understand how to tell a good story, and they concentrate on making sure that their films ARE good stories. 11 years, that would never ever happen anywhere else, where there was a perfectly profitable and exploitable franchise sitting unmilkedtodeath. I will be stealing the phrase "Cliche mad Lib", just so you know. The Russel Crowe "Robin Hood" movie was a good example of this.
recent blog entries