Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Toy Story 3: If only humans were as lovable as these toys
Toy Story 3 is a sweet film, but don't let that fool you because these toys are on a life and death adventure that would destroy any mere mortal. The plot is simple: Andy is off to college. The Toys get mistakenly taken to a daycare. The daycare is not what it seems. Woody must save the day. But not before we're introduced to new characters: some sweet like Dolly, some creepy like Big Baby, some a wolf in sheep's clothing stuffed inside Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear and a genuinely scary cymbal playing Monkey with a set of eyes that makes your skin crawl. The new characters don't take away from the ones we've grown to love and are an added bonus that balances the old with the new in an ideal setting.
The film has heart and humor and balances it well with genuine thrills and danger. Even though I knew logically the toys wouldn't really get hurt, I still thought for a brief moment that they could. Their escape plan from the daycare is pure genius and shows great thinking on the part of the writers (kudos to the writers for a well crafted story that deserves an oscar nomination for best original screenplay). They are up against a truly villainous character, Lots -o'-Huggin' Bear who has lost his heart and will stop at nothing to keep the new toys inside the daycare. I won't reveal the reason why he wants the new toys to stay, but what I will say is that it's a case of self-preservation. Huggin' Bear and his posse, which includes Ken, who is wonderfully described as an "accessory" (something he does not take to kindly) pull out all the stops to tighten the perimeters of the daycare. They also go as far as to reprogram Buzz Lightyear by switching him back to demo mode. Buzz, clueless to who he really is, turns into an enforcer and is ordered to keep his friends locked up at night. What happens afterwards with Buzz who is set to Spanish mode is hilarious stuff and his unspoken love for the cowgirl, Jesse, goes up a notch and Buzz becomes a bit of a Latin Lothario of the G Rated variety. The subtitles alone are worth the price of a ticket.
One of the funniest sequences in the film revolves around Mr. Potato Head getting rid of his potato and gaining a tortilla body as they try to escape the daycare. He has to battle a hungry pigeon who takes a bite, but don't fret because in the garden he finds a cucumber to be his temporary body. Thinking about it now, hours after seeing it, I am still laughing.
The film is a love story to all of us because we have all been children and we've all grown up. Letting go of the past can be painful and most of us try to keep change at bay. But all things come and go and evolve. Woody learns to let go of Andy and Andy must do the same. Moving forward or staying behind go hand in hand. One is not harder or easier than the other. Passing on our wisdom to the next generation is what defines us as adults, and knowing when to let go brings tremendous reward.
I am not ashamed to admit that Toy Story 3 made me teary eyed a couple of times. This film has it all. Great dialogue. A pretty much perfect script. Memorable and lovable characters (each and every toy has its own time to shine) and it looks great. It never feels like I'm watching animation. The film transports you into its world flawlessly. I saw the 2D version because I believe that 3D is a money grab and doesn't really add anything to the experience. I recommend seeing it in 2D so as to avoid the potential of a headache and little kids will probably enjoy it more without those pesky plastic glasses.
To Woody and Buzz and all the Toys, you do indeed have a friend in me.