Quick thoughts: another caper movie. It’s good to see and hear all the old gang back together, but the plot is just not up to Pixar’s standards. TS2 was much better, much more organic. This is another escape and journey back home, basically the same as the first 2. Something’s got to give, or you’re just doing “direct to video” but releasing theatrically based on Pixar and TS’s rep.
Very derivative of TS2, there’s a bad guy reminiscent of Stinky Pete, and a lot of other similarities as well. The final few scenes are, in my opinion as the parent of a 10-month old and a 4 year old who’s loved all the TS’s since he was a baby, too scary for most 2-3 year olds. They also cop out with a final deus ex machina rescue via a hand of God (or claw of God) which was kind of weak, instead of the toys persevering and rescuing themselves, as they did in the previous installments (TS2 was particularly good this way).
Another conveyor belt ending? Come on guys, keep thinking. Whoever okayed that story? Couldn’t have been the team that made the previous 2 and Cars and Nemo or the Incredibles.
Also, another “imagination” intro? Jesus fuck, why didn’t the just do a complete re-make of TS2 and get it over with? And another come-uppence for the villian, but not too harsh, just nasty enough.
Unlike 2 (and 1, I guess) there are no really memorable new characters introduced, excepting maybe Ken, aided by the inimitable Michael Keaton.
Quick note, why did they make Barbie’s ass so big? There’s a plot point where I thought I could see why (someone notices it’s Barbie, and not Ken, from behind, and I first thought, “Oh, ok I see,” but no, it was the shoes he’s looking at, not her ass. But it’s major ghetto booty, just weird is all, they had to make a conscious decision to make her ass not only wider, but give it a big shelf. Strange.
Also, there’s this fucked up trend of being “inclusive” to little girls and boys in cartoons and such, but it seems to only go one way. I have a boy and a girl. But I don’t think it’s great they replaced Christopher Robin with a girl in the Winnie-the-Pooh universe, and I don’t know why Andy’s boys toys (besides Barbie, strangely, Bo Peep is missing from this installment, but she’d have been a pain in the ass, and I think she was Molly’s lamp, their poor white trash Mom couldn’t afford a house where a young boy and his baby sister didn’t have to share a room. Where was the Dad, anyway?) end up going to a girl.
Sorry for the spoiler, but a really unnecessary and forced plot contrivance. Ugh. The reason this kind of shit annoys me is because it smacks of Political Correctness, not story construction or organic plot building. Terrible, terrible ending, and grown-up Andy playing one last time with the toys with the little girl? Ugh. Much better to have given them to his own kids (as we have done for ours, I had some really durable and cool toys set aside for years, and they love them and they are better built and require more imagination than today’s toys).
Anyway, it plays out pretty predictably, the kids will love it, but I expect more from Pixar, sorry. This feels like it was either rushed, or more likely, they didn’t put the “A” team on it. I can hardly believe, from what I’ve read and heard in commentary tracks, that this project went through the exhaustive development previous movies did.
If it did, then the team has lost their special spark, at least temporarily, we hope. When I think about it, “Up” sucked pretty badly itself. I hated the big “message”, the old guy was just an asshole, and the kid and dog were just fucking annoying. Totally worthless movie, IMHO. Wall-E started wonderfully, then fell into a formulaic, preachy POS about “taking care of the Earth”, which sorry, is 90% politics and leftists trying to control more of your life “in the name of the environment” and I don’t really appreciate my kids being indoctrinated with that crap, but our little boy liked Wall-E’s voice and mannerisms.
We’ll go to the theater and see it by and by, but I watched it first on the computer.
About using cam/pre-screeners: I do this with kids movies so I can preview them before I pay to get in a theater, then find out the movie isn’t age appropriate, or that it just sucks.
Our 4 year old boy watched How to Train Your Dragon dozens of times on the “movie computer” at our home work station before we saw it on the big screen, and in my judgment, if he had seen it first on the big screen it would have scared the crap out of him, and he can’t run out of the room in a theater, and slowly get used to it, plus the little screen is much less daunting.
If he’d have seen it on a big screen, especially the IMAX, where we eventually saw it, he might have been put off it completely. As it is, it’s one of his new favorites. This is where screeners/cam versions come in handy.
And save me the “pirating is bad” lectures. Movie studios, as well as record companies, are evil. They deserve to die. I have no sympathy for them. So many shitty movies, so much lame music. They dishonestly and falsely push shitty acts and crappy music, forcing into everyone’s face through movies, radio, commercials and worthy musicians are cut out because of the “powers that be”- well, fuck them. I smile everytime I play a torrented movie or mp3.
They got my money for years, no more. I haven’t bought a DVD in about 6 years, nor a CD in, well, I don’t remember when. The 90’s, probably, a guilt buy of Aimee Mann’s Bachelor #2 because I like her and she’s independent. Since then, she’s pissed me off with a bunch of dumb-ass political pronouncements from her and her BFF unfunny Patton Oswalt, so from now on, it’s bittorrent for Aimee (and has been, plus her Christmas CD sucked balls, so bad on her anyway).
And another thing, we got really swept up in the Cars thing, our little boy was 2 when it came out, and he had Cars everything, from bed sheets to books to games to every car character in about 4 forms, plus 8 inCARnations of Lightning McQueen himself.
We’ve already been inundated with the new TS toys (almost exclusively of the “old” characters, from what I’ve seen) and we’re resisting. Enough is enough. Although we are buying him some How to Train Your Dragon stuff, and that was a wonderful movie (although, predictably, it has a lame and cliche “message”, I don’t know who cartoon writers think they are to be preaching at everyone all the fucking time).
Oh, and I’ll do a write-up of the How to Train Your Dragon Wii game (which we played on a PC emu) in the near future.
Back to TS3, some fun actors did some of the voices, was fun not knowing and trying to guess, I totally recognized Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords crazy groupie) but couldn’t place her, got Ned Beatty, didn’t care about Bonnie Hunt and who the fuck did Whoopi Goldberg do? Stretch? Wth was that? I hate her, anyway, glad it was a small part. Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) was Buttercup, recognized him. Rickles lived long enough, I guess, to finish his part, and they got a sound alike for Jim Varney.
Bud Luckey, who we love, does a voice, and Timothy Dalton, never would have guessed, but must have been like 2-3 lines tops, as Mr. Pricklepants.
Final analysis: go, it’s better than 99% of the kids’ movies out there, but don’t expect Pixar’s old magic, this is by far the weakest in the TS franchise, and of all the Pixar movies, it probably only tops the dismal Bug’s Life and Monster’s Inc, 2 our little boy never really wanted to see more than once, unlike Nemo, Wall-E, Cars, all the TSs and even the Incredibles, which was aimed more at adults, I think.
Also, slight warning, there are a few daunting scenes which may be frightening to very young or very sensitive kids, mostly near the very end.