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Posted on 6/17/10 09:38 AM
Toy Story 3 may be the most anticipated movie of the year. If not, it's one of most anticipated. It might as well be the most beloved children's franchise. It hit the kids with the subject matter, and it had more depth and wit than most films which guaranteed a wider audience. Both films are considered classics (Both 100% on RottenTomatoes, 5 stars in Allmovie). Along comes the third film, and the challenge of creating a threequel that lives up to the original.
Let me start off by saying that 3 is not one of those sequels that were created for the sake of having a sequel. It was created to push the story further. In fact, some may complain it goes too far. From the beginning, there's a completely different vibe. The first films had a childish, innocent mood to them. It was one of their strengths. 3 may be Pixar's darkest film yet. It borders on PG-13
You know the premise. Andy's going to college, toys accidently end up in daycare, toys want to escape and adventure set-pieces ensue. For a moment, it threatens to repeat itself and become a rehash. However, 3 dark atmosphere gives those set-pieces more personality. They're still creative, but the toys are now on the verge. 3 is intense as hell, and it never slows down. The movie exists to give the story its one last and best run.
The poorly-made trailer made some people worried. Well, everything that was supposed to go wrong, did not. Ken is a great addition. He could always slip into an annoying hipster character, but he never does. His relationship with Barbie seems to take stabs at cliched romances, and that provides some laughs. As for the Spanish Buzz, he doesn't appear until about halfway through the movie or so. Even then, plenty of things happen to him that instead of sticking out like a bad attempt at humor, it only increases the suspense. Of course, there are Potato Head jokes that never seem to get old.
I kept mentioning how dark this film is. Well, I'm really not sure if children should see this movie. Death is a stronger theme here than Up. The whole style of the movie is like a prison escape film. Big Baby is just plain unsettling. Remember how Sid's room from the first film was the G-rated Cronenberg? It's nothing compared to the melancholy that hangs above this one. That said, the darkness still doesn't overwhelm the movie. There are less laughs here, but it hadn't transformed into an "Err'body's feeling like shiat" movie. It comes off very similar The Brave Little Toaster, only more extreme.
Then, you have the ending. Oh, the ending. I could not choose a better ending for the series. It sounds like an exaggeration, but this was exactly the ending I wanted. Of course, there's the climax that got people crying. Yes, it is that sad and suspenseful. All that was missing was "Hello Zepp".
Is there anything that 3 gets wrong? The script isn't as funny as Toy Story 2. Also, there's no side-character arc like the second one. Some may view the darker mood as a bad thing, since it's a major departure from the first two. Then again, none of it harms the film. It's great that it doesn't slow down just to tell pointless jokes. The darker mood actually gives it an edge. The film also feels like an ensemble film. No toy is the main hero in this threequel. They're all contributing to it, one way or the other. It's great to see that in their last adventure, they're all a part without one being pushed aside.
So yes, 3 is the perfect ending for the classic trilogy. I know I'm using hyperboles, but by the time the movie ended, the first thing I wanted to was rewind. I'm pretty sure it sums up what I feel about the film. It currently has 100% in RottenTomatoes from 125 reviews, and I think it deserves it all.
Whee! I didn't even mention voice-acting and animation. You already know they're great.
Highs: Fantastic ending for a great series, intense all the way, pretty much as good as the first two
Lows: Its different style might turn some people off.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Subject to Change)