Will Preston

Pixar up their game by trying to make grown men cry

by on Aug.17, 2010, under Films, Review

Forget pirates versus ninjas; It's all about cowboys versus spacemen!

Anthropomorphising always leads to people emotionally attaching themselves to the strangest things; and It usually ends in tears. If you gave the dishwasher a name, and age and a personality, the moment it conks out, replacing it would be a tearful process. Rest in piece Platey McWasherton.

As it’s been mentioned by myself here, you can’t fault Pixar for great feature films. My only gripe with seeing them in the cinema is the inevitable younger audience. Conditions of reception turns sour from babbling bastards talking over the film, something that I barely get away with. Kids, eh! This was no different when I paid the extra money for an extra dimension and went with an old friend to see Toy Story 3: The Saddening. In 3D!

From what people would tell me, this was supposed to be an experience capable of making a grown man cry, more so than a disappointing football result or a genital malfunction. Well for most of it my tears were of laughter. It was pretty funny. Whilst the first film came to terms with a toy being replaced by another favourite toy, as well as the coming to terms of your identity as a toy, this new venture looked at the end of an era; what happens when someone too old to play with them. There was no doubt that this them would enter the films at some point.

I’m just surprised it’s taken 14 years to finally cover one of the obvious subjects in such an end game affair. But it was worth waiting for. Andy, the vacant lad who has a habit of leaving toys in the wrong place for the sake of plot device has now become a teenager. A teenager who looks uncomfortably like Zac Effron. He could have broken into song at any moment. But he didn’t. There was no gun related incidence in the cinema that day.

Anyway, now that my gun is holstered, Andy is obviously too old for these toys, unless he’s a big sweaty nerd at heart and annoyingly refers to a doll as a “collectable.” Woody and the rest of his playthings revert to attention seeking tactics that could have been easily influenced by lonely housewives. But you still feel sorry for them, but wonder into the whole “toy” mythos. At which point during their construction on the production line did they suddenly gain sentience? Why do they have to stop moving when a human is present?

There’s a lot of unexplored facets of this films world that should probably be left explored for the sake of plot holes. Oh, and it’s a kids film. You don’t need to overcomplicate this sort of thing; leave that to the recluse fan fiction writers. Speaking of which, please don’t google “Buzz gets a Woody”. With Andy leaving to go to college (hopefully not to do performing arts; thus completing the Effron factor), the toys are endangered of being thrown out into the garbage and choose to take the alternative of going to a da care centre, where they will be played with (ooer) everyday with no fear of the kids growing older; the older kids move on, the new ones come in.

It’s a nice metaphor for a possible toy afterlife; Day care centre is a heavenly land of plenty, whilst being thrown out into the trash is the one way ticket to a hellish end. Of course, this heaven doesn’t pan out. Despite being aimed for a younger audience, the story isn’t that patronising. It all ties nicely and is compelling enough to keep you engaged. Also there’s a strong cast with the welcome return of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, with a nice surprise from Michael Keaton playing a Ken doll (“I’m not a girls toy” was a fantastic line). There were enough well constructed visual gags to make me titter like a tit.

Not that it was all smiles and farting with joy. It got sad. And in some cases, it got dark. After a few altercations leading to reaching (dum dum dummmm!) The Dump, the toys are in danger of being crushed, shredded and burned. During the last moments of this harrowing scene, Woody, Buzz and the rest (there’s a few to name, ok?) are stuck in an incinerator with absolutely no way out. Rather then panic, the characters all held hands and stared at each other with an expression of frightened futility. They were accepting death, yet were terrified. It was a surprisingly bleak image which took me by surprise.

For some reason, the kids weren’t crying at this point. I nearly was. I can safely say by the end of the film that we had reached the end of the series. No need to ruin the ending, but you can tell it’s going to be a happy one, if a little sad. At this point I’m still umming and erring wither it’s better than the first.

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