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Toy Story 3

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Toy Story 3 - 27/4/2012 12:33:25 AM   


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Joined: 14/1/2009
Toy Story 3 - A Teenager's Opinion

An unapologetic love note by Oliver Partington

I, like most of my generation, grew up with the films of Disney/Pixar. Randy Newman’s immortal "You've Got A Friend In Me" stayed with us for the better part of fifteen years, throughout groundbreaking and award winning cinema history. The first Toy Story caught lightning in a bottle and is probably one of the best examples of Pixar’s magic. It was a perfect blend of what people love about the studio, high caliber voice actors, a witty and intelligent script, and fantastic, even revolutionary animation, putting the style of Disney’s Nine Old Men out to pasture. They managed to defy the odds and reproduce this formula nine more times (let’s please forget about Cars 1 and most likely the upcoming Cars 2), making each one more technically groundbreaking than the last but none quite captured the magic of the characters of Toy Story. Flawed, relatable and utterly hilarious. Then came Toy Story 2. Defying the laws of cinema, it turned out to be a worthy sequel and a welcome return to the magic.

And so there we were - in late 2010 - with Toy Story 3. It had been in the works since the success of Toy Story 2, way back in 1999. But it, for some reason, just could not get made. There were about three different story lines announced during production, including the Buzz Lightyear line being recalled (seemed promising) and it was fraught with delays. But eventually, that old Pixar magic was found, and the film was finally released. I was worried. Most of my friends were worried. In fact, I'm pretty sure everyone was worried. Pixar defied the odds and created a brilliant sequel to the first Toy Story, which was both satisfying and entertaining. Pixar may be the best animation studio working today, they may have provided cherished memories that will stick around until my mind shuts down but could they really break the infamous third film rule? The rule that brought down the Godfather series, The Neverending Story series, and even the almighty Karate Kid films?

John Lasseter, will you ever forgive me?

In a conference with several other 17 year old boys, we came to the conclusion that it makes us no less macho to admit that we all choked up (there was no crying I tell you, no crying) at the ending, which I won't spoil here. Something that Pixar can do, that no other company can seem to manage, is to wave away the inherent teenage cynicism. If anyone else had made a film featuring toys hiding in a box, wanting to be "played with", the average teenager could have come up with about a dozen different Carry On style innuendos within a minute. But because it's Woody and Buzz, because it's Pixar, the thought didn't even occur to me until someone Kevin Smith pointed it out in an episode of Smodcast.

What made Toy Story 3 a worthy sequel, was that it didn't abandon what we loved about the first two, what we love about the characters, and what we love about the Disney/Pixar films, and yet it didn't stick religiously to the originals, it wasn’t afraid to move on and up. There were references to the previous two films sure but the film didn't rely on the others to keep it afloat, confident in just being a brilliant film in it's own right. There are some things done in this film, that I've never seen successfully executed in Western animation before, some truly adult themes and ideas that you'd never dream of seeing in a "kids" film when the first Toy Story film was released.

One of the best things about it, at least for a certain percentage of the viewers, was that the human character of Andy aged with us. If you were born in 1992-1994, as many of the original viewers of Toy Story were, you were roughly the same age as Andy, as he grew in the films, we grew with him. And this film was no exception, Andy is a fully grown 17 year old in the third outing, on his way to college. When I saw this film, I was watching as a 17 year old, preparing myself for whatever further education I could find. Andy was giving away his toys, and coming to age, as a man. He's dealing with exactly what my friends and I were. Watching Andy come to terms with the fact that he won't be seeing Woody or Buzz again, helped us come to terms with letting these characters, who have become as close as friends in the last fifteen years, go ourselves.

For all those that were there for Andy's sky blue wallpaper in the first shot of the first Toy Story, you had to be there for the final shot of Toy Story 3, and know that while it may be over, the nostalgia will forever remain.

Right, one more time everybody, with feeling, "You got a friend in me..."


From one film lover to another (few), check out my film review blog at - hope you enjoy!
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