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Toy Story 3 (2010)
The conclusion to a trilogy that will last for years to come
Walking up to the theater for the 11:59 showing of Toy Story 3, my sister and I went to the ticketing machines and got our prepaid tickets. We were soon joined by a group of friends, all eager to see the movie. When we got into the theater and found our seats I was, admittedly, not feeling all that excited. Still, I had no doubts that it would be amazing; it's PIXAR, after all, and I had been following the movie closely basically since it was announced and had seen no reason to believe otherwise. Yet the excitement was still lacking. As I watched people begin to fill the theater, the thrill slowly began to wash over me, but it wasn't until I saw three girls walk in, each holding a different toy from Toy Story that it really hit me. Besides being terribly jealous of the girls toys, I was finally feeling excited for the movie.
Not long after, the lights dimmed, and the previews began. To be honest, I was a bit thrown out of mood by the trailer for a certain other movie I've been anticipating, but once I saw that Pixar lamp jumping over to the "I" on the logo, I was right back in the mood again. Then the movie started. It's amazing how a single shot of a film can say so much; The fluffy white clouds perfectly laid against a gentle blue backdrop. It was the exact same thing we saw 15 years ago in the opening of Toy Story 1.
The whole beginning of the film was utter blissfulness for me. "Nostalgia" would probably be the best word I could use to describe it. I enjoyed every minute of it, and I can't think of what better I can say about it than that. It was funny, sweet and yes, even heartbreaking. When Rex added to the list of toys who had been disposed of "Bo-peep" my eyes nearly welled up. It was one of those "oh no!" moments that only Pixar can do. It was the same feeling I got in Up when Ellie and Carl lost their baby. Both were only small moments, but I've come to realize that Pixar can say more with their little moments than most companies can say with their entire films.
I suppose it would be a good time to mention that this movie is hilarious. You'll laugh, believe me, but you'll be on the edge of your seat too. As the film moves on, the stakes get pretty high for our toy heros; They couldn't be much higher, really. They simply HAVE to escape Sunnyside daycare, or they risk being torn to pieces by the out of control toddlers there. The way they escape is just plan cool, but also terribly witty. I read that the filmmakers watched many classic prison escape movies so they could get this part just right, and it really shows. I fact, this is just as good as any prison escape movie, and probably better than most. Super fun, and very thrilling! Then we come to the climax of the film; The most desperate situation the toys have been in yet. Probably the most true statement I can make about this scene is that it's intense...very intense. As the toys try to climb their way up the mountain of trash to escape their fiery fate, you can't keep your heart from pounding in your chest. They accept their fate, clutching each others hands in their last few moments. They slip closer and closer to their doom. There's just no way out of this one! No wait...it's "THE CLAAAAW!" The claw chooses who will go and who will stay, and it's never been truer than now. As it pulls our friends from the furnace you can't help but be very relieved through your laughter.
Now we come to the end of the film and oh what and ending it is. I've had several people tell me it was the perfect ending, and while I'm not sure anything can ever be perfect, this is just about as darn close as anyone's ever going to get. As Andy reluctantly turns over each and every toy to the adorable little Bonnie, their is only one word that can describe the emotions; bittersweet. This scene is bittersweet to the end. The most poignant moment comes when Bonnie exclaims "There's a snake in my boot!" and reaches for Andy's old woody doll. Andy pulls back out of instinct, to protect his favorite sheriff. Then, carefully describing Woody's characteristics to Bonnie, Andy hands him over forever to his new "favorite deputy." The final scenes are those of Andy playing with Bonnie and the toys in the front yard. Some will smile, some will cry, and some will do both (and certainly it is deserving of both) but all will come away effected by this film in way one or another.
As Andy says his final goodbye, and the camera pulls away to the sky, we see again the classic shot that began this journey fifteen years ago and we are forced to say our final goodbye as well.
"Up" flies as high as the house which becomes the premise of the film.
When I walked into the theater last night for the 9:15 showing of Up I had high expectations. I didn't go in with a half-hearted interest or mild confidence; I was expecting to see something amazing and I wasn't let down. "Up" flies as high as the House that becomes the premise of the film.
I admit I was a bit distracted when the movie began; either no one knew the movie was starting or no one cared because they were being VERY loud. But as the movie played on the noise died down and I found myself charmed by an opening sequence that is so emotional that you'd hardly believe you were watching a children's movie. In fact, three fourths of the way through the sequence a younger woman sitting in front of me declared to her friends "This movie is sad!" in a voice that indicated she had not been expecting it. That being said this movie is still definitely suitable for little children and although I wouldn't go as far as to call it a children's film (I think pixar is beyond that) it has, as always when it comes to pixar, no course jokes or crude humor.
As the movie progressed past the opening sequence, I almost expected to be let down by what came next; I wasn't. After a touching opening sequence that told the tale of his life, the character of Carl Fredrickson continues to be developed with such care that you can't help but feel sorry for him when the men Nursing Home comes to hall him away; even if he is a bit grumpy.
Since I don't have time to go through the movie section by section (and you probably wouldn't have time to read it even if I did) I'll continue this review by highlighting my favorite bits and criticizing what little there is to criticize.
The scene in which the house is sweeping through the clouds as a storm rages around is truly incredible; the action is actually intense and you don't feel like your watching a happy fairytale in which the characters would never get hurt or die. In general, the action was that way throughout the film. There was one point somewhere between the touching storytelling, the witty script and the epic action that I literally forgot the movie was animated and that has arguably never happened to me before.
The biggest downfall of the movie, in my opinion, were the evil talking dogs. I found Dug to be the only talking dog that really came across effectively; the other "evil" dogs had little to no character development, were not memorable at all and were not threatening in the slightest. When they climbed into airplanes to shoot at Russell I found myself rolling my eyes in disbelief; dog's flying airplanes? This small downfall, however, is not near enough to ruin the movie in any way.
Another slight downfall (and I'm not sure if I'd really call this a downfall) is that I would have liked a bit more of a sense of wonder and discovery when Carl and Russell first arrived at Paradise Falls; perhaps they could have discovered a few interesting creatures (besides Kevin) or strange plants. Ultimately I don't think they would have had time for this which is probably why it wasn't there but it would have been nice addition.
As you can probably already tell, my overall opinion on this film is VERY positive; although a bit more of time would have made the film a bit more interesting and well-rounded, in the end, it is not needed and the film still comes across as charming and even epic without it.