Sunday, July 25, 2010

Toy Story 3 - The end of a new beginning?

I ain't afraid of no Ghosts
Today I visited a brave new future, joined by friends made when they were the future.  Donning a fine pair of spectacles (pictured) I ventured out and watched the latest instalment in the computer generated feast that is the Toy Story Trilogy.

The final film, imaginatively called Toy Story 3, is one about farewells, equality, workplace rights and the truth of happy ever after.  It's box office potential was clear from the start (5 out of the 8 adverts prior to the screening included T.Story characters endorsing products) but what I wanted to know was if this was the film that would launch 3D in the way it launched computer animation over a decade ago.


The plot of the film is relatively simple.   Andy, owner of the toys, has grown up and is now packing his bags ready for college.  In among the hustle and bustle of tidying he is faced with the question over what to do with his toys.

The film then switches to the perspective of the toys as they face repeated life or death questions, alongside wanting affirmation and love from 'their andy'.  Their exploits include discovering Barbie, finding out how 'flowery' Ken really is, realising that first impressions can deceive - and in that bosses can surpress the workforce - that expectations aren't always the same as reality and finally what happens when Buzz Lightyear is re-set for more than 5 seconds....

While an overall assessment would place the 2hr film as holding a snazzy pace, it drags at points. The drag is more from a re-hash of techniques and styles which the initial films (a decade ago) created but have become stock marks of CGI films.  We find human emotion in non-human objects, large CGI eyes looking sad and good becoming evil and throwing doubt and forgiveness up in the air.  
Toys old and new plot an escape

Highlight of the film would have to be the transformation that occurs with Buzz Lightyear when re-set for more than 5 seconds. His support of a new regime was a fascinating example of what happens when brains shut down or shut off memories, actions or just accept the new status quo.  In the week that Nick Griffin was excluded from the Queens Garden Party, I found the militaristic state the toys find themselves in, with supposed good guy Buzz as the new bad guy, a healthy reminded of all our capabilities for evil.

Overall though it is impossible to cover a 2hr film in a short blogpost. Do go and see it, but make sure you pre-load by watching an older film.  Stocked up with knowledge of a deep and meaningful story you'll be ready for this latest film which is less toy story, more top gear but overall still top class.

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