Monday, June 28, 2010

Movie Review: Toy Story 3

Quick question... what happened in "Toy Story 2"?

No, really. I haven't talked to anyone who remembers beyond "wasn't there a girl cowboy?"

I give a quick history of Pixar and Disney every time a new Pixar movie comes out. I'll try to cut it short this time.

15 years ago Pixar had "Toy Story". It was their first full length motion picture and they needed someone to handle distribution. Disney says they'll do it, but they get a 5 movie deal, not including sequels, and full ownership of the movies and characters.

Four years later they released "Toy Story 2". Probably their weakest release. Still, if that's their weakest release they should be damn proud. Disney hadn't been able to do half as well for way too long.

Time passes. Pixar and Disney release other movies. Disney wants a third Toy Story movie. That's all that Disney Animation seems to be able to do, after all. Sequels to those few successes that they had. But the guys at Pixar just aren't feeling it. Since the Pixar people aren't getting anything worthwhile Disney presents a script. They say "This is crap. Take it away." Disney is mad, but there isn't much they can do. Nothing but come up with a second Toy Story 3 script. This too is rejected as being bad. There's a simple conflict of cultures. Pixar refuses to do a bad story. More than anything, a movie relies on having a good story. Stick figures are fine if the story is good. Disney doesn't see it that way. To them a good movie is based on the marketing campaign that comes before it. It's based on the action figures and collectible cups they can make from it. It's based on the number of sequels they can make.

Eventually, Disney stopped asking for Toy Story 3. The 5 movie deal was coming to an end. Pixar was looking to take their next movie elsewhere. They didn't feel that Disney had treated them well. Mind you, nobody who has ever worked for Disney feels like they've been treated well.

The point was that Disney owned Toy Story and all associated rights. They started their own digital animation studio. They didn't need Pixar. Alas, whether hand drawn or digitally rendered, Disney still couldn't write. So Disney paid Pixar to take them over. Pixar came in to find "Toy Story 3" being developed. They looked at the script and killed the project. They did, however, finally come up with a good script. A great script really. And they got that movie made.

I suppose I should tell you something about the movie.

Randy Newman, the guy who wrote the music for the first two is still there, but there's only twice that he was obvious. They reused "You've Got a Friend in Me" early in the movie to help establish the Toy Storyness of it. And there's a salsa version near the end. So you don't want him dead by the end of the movie.

You will cry. Don't try to fight it. Just accept that and bring tissues.

It's been 15 years since the original Toy Story and almost that long in Toy Story land. The kid from the original is now going off to college. For some reason his room is being completely emptied. I went to college with whatever fit in the car, not whatever I owned. I mean, geez, let the kid come back on weekends and holidays.

Andy's remaining toys are just the core characters of the early movies and they haven't been played with in years. Skipping ahead... there's a misunderstanding that leads the toys, all but Woody, to think they were getting thrown away. So they donate themselves to a daycare center. I don't want to give too much away about this but the line "We're not age appropriate for those children." gives you the gist of it.

Woody has to make a decision whether to rescue his friends or get back to Andy before he leaves for college.

I didn't see "Shrek 3". The trailers made it look as bad as you'd expect from a second sequel. It had no appeal. I wasn't sure about "Toy Story 3" but the universally great reviews sold me. Yummy couldn't have been less interested. She hasn't seen it, but she's gonna have to. You should, too. It's an enjoyable movie.

I'll NetFlix it for Yummy, but I probably won't get it on DVD.

1 comment:

GreenCanary said...

It's been 15 years since the original Toy Story?!! You mean I was... *calculating* ... 17 when the first one came out?! 17?!!! And those damn toys haven't aged a day.