17 September 2010

Toy Story 3

Almost three months after its release, I finally saw Toy Story 3 (2010), in the theatre, no less. Gotta love those discount movie theatres.

Pixar does things right
As I said in my previous Disney post, I'm not entirely against 3D animation, but I am finding it boring as time goes by. Of course, I also tend to prefer 2D sprite work in video games whenever possible too. Part of it is just a personal preference.

That said, Pixar does it well. Before the film, there was a preview for Alpha and Omega, a film that both Emily and I agreed pretty much looks like student work. Especially compared to Pixar. Pixar's films look good (though I'll still probably prefer the look of, say, Fantasia).

However, the fact that they're on the cutting edge of computer animation is not what makes me like Pixar. No, it's because they are very good at...

Pixar knows how to tell a good story. Probably my favourite has been Up (2009). That first sequence showing Carl and Ellie's relationship is absolutely amazing.

As an aside, the Pixar short that proceeded Toy Story 3 was called Day and Night and likewise showcased their talent for storytelling. The majority of the story is conveyed visually, and though fairly simple, still has its own little nuances. Ultimately, two entities (one Day and one Night) meet and begin to fight over their differences, but gradually come to learn that each has their own unique things to offer which are new and exciting experiences for the other. As an additional aside, the animation in this was amazing, and I think I enjoyed it visually more than the feature. However, Toy Story 3's plot definitely affected me more.

For those of us who remember the original
Honestly, Toy Story 3 feels more like it was made for my generation than for younger kids. The basic premise is that Andy has grown old and no longer plays with his toys. As he is packing for college, he has to decide what to do, and though he decides to bring Woody with him to college, he plans on putting the rest in the attic. However, in a bit of a mishap, the rest of the toys eventually wind up in a daycare center, where they are abused by snot-nosed little toddlers who choose to throw them, paint on them, etc. Woody sets out to rescue them and bring them back to Andy.

While the story would certainly be entertaining for all ages, I think those of us who grew up watching the original Toy Story (1995) are going to feel its themes the most poignantly. And while theoretically it seems to be about kids just entering college, I think it's even more poignant after you've been away from home a little longer and had more time to reconnect with your childhood interests. I think most high schoolers and thus college freshman are still a little "too big" to admit that they, say, really loved Pokémon when they were kids. But the more time you spend in college, the more you remember that we all loved Pokémon. And before you know it, you've got Pokémon Red in your Gameboy and a VHS of old episodes on the TV and you're swapping stories with friends like you used to swap cards.

And when you first heard about Toy Story 3, well, it filled you with all sorts of feelings of nostalgia. And that's what this movie is really tapping into.

Not too big a man to cry
Towards the film's end, things are looking bleak for the toys and they all come together in support, and it obviously tugs at your heart strings a little. But given my experience with film, I could see it as largely Hollywood heavy-handedness and knew everything would be alright.

But at the very end, well, I don't want to ruin it, but it did get me. I'll admit it. I cried. Not because it was played up as this super sad event. In fact, it was kind of happy. But it was a kind of bittersweet nostalgic feeling I could really connect with. I'm an adult now. I'm getting married. And while I still try to have fun and keep the kid alive a little bit, the fact is, part of childhood is gone for good. Have you ever tried to sit down and really entertain yourself with your old toys like you used to? It's so hard now. You used to be able to imagine these huge, elaborate stories and everything. And, I mean, you can still make up a story now and everything, but your heart's not in it like it used to be. The whole magic of it is largely gone.

I still have my favourite stuffed bunny from when I was a little kid. I took him everywhere. Now, he's just a rag. His name is Buhbuh. I loved him. And in some way, I still do. But it's not the same. He's not alive anymore. Not like he used to be. He's no longer my best friend. When I'm feeling down, he doesn't make things better. Now, he's just a reminder for me of those times long past.

And these were all the things running through my head as I watched the finale. Really, I think, the film is about that moment where you realize you're no longer a kid and you feel like you've lost something.

Passing it on
But at the same time, it gives you a little ray of hope. After all, in the theatre are kids, just as young as we were when we first saw Toy Story. And as we sit there remembering our childhood, they're just beginning theirs, or are currently in the thick of it. And right now, this movie is everything to them that the original once was for us. Woody and Buzz are theirs now.

No comments:

Post a Comment