You don’t need me to tell you that Toy Story 3 is worth seeing. You already know if you’re going.
If you have kids who can’t drive themselves to the multiplex, you’re going.
If you loved either of the first two Toy Stories, you’re going.
If you’re a fan of Pixar, you’re going.
If you don’t fall into any of those categories, you’re going because somebody you know is going to drag you to it or bribe you or browbeat you into it and you’ll go along with them because you always do, which is how you wound up at Get Him to the Greek wondering what everybody else thought was so funny.
Otherwise you’re just counting the days till Inception opens and trying to decide if Iron Man 2 is worth another look.
There’s nothing I can say that’ll change any of that for any of you.
So, just to get me from here to the heart of this post, a few bullet points I’d have twittered during the movie itself if the blonde hadn’t taken my phone away:
- The producers could have gone farther with Barbie.
- They probably went as far as they needed to go with Ken.
- As it is, they were on the brink of having too much fun with him.
- Yes, that is Whoopi’s voice.
- Andy’s mom seems to be overcompensating for issues that aren’t related to Andy or his sister.
- Spanish Buzz is a hoot.
- The Gipsy King’s pasodoble version of You’ve Got a Friend In Me, Hay un amigo en mi, saves that song as a song.
- Although Robert Goulet’s cover at the end of Toy Story 2 may have made that job redundant.
- The toys’ story is finished with this one.
- You may not have known it needed finishing until you see this one and then you can see that it’s there from the very first scene of the original.
- If you had any doubt, Woody is the hero. He is the toy whose story this has been. Woody is a very special toy.
- He’s not special because he’s Andy’s favorite. He’s Andy’s favorite because Andy somehow felt how special Woody was from the start.
- I think it has something to do with Andy’s father who is not in the movies but whose toy Woody must have been originally.
- Woody is vintage, after all.
- Really, despite what it says on the soles of his boots, Woody isn’t Andy’s. Andy is Woody’s.
- The movie ducks its main point at the end, but it has to.
- Shrek 3 gets worse and worse in hindsight.
None of that you need me to tell you and none of it will change your mind about whether or not you’re going. What you might want to know, if you’re going, is that if you get stuck in the line at the snack counter and miss the traditional Pixar short before the feature, you won’t have missed much.
Day & Night looks like it was made as a demonstration of something, possibly some apprentice director at Pixar’s ability to see a whole storyboard through. It’s a pointless series of not all that funny visual gags with no real story or characters to tie them together. Day and Night are personified as two blobular 2D cartoon characters that seemed to me to have been inspired by the sort of health and safety films the nuns used to show us in grade school. In those films the blobs were blobs so that that could be laughed at when they got themselves electrocuted, flame-broiled, squashed, shredded, and disintegrated when they ignored the safety precautions the films were designed to teach us not to ignore.
The difference is that those blobs usually wore hats and sometimes had mustaches.
Same sorts of noses though.
Day and Night exist as transparent outlines of themselves against a void. They contain within their outlines the world, which moves and changes as Day and Night move. Inside Day it’s daytime. Inside Night it’s night. Clever, huh? The joke is that Day and Night are jealous of each other’s contents. Day wishes he could contain Las Vegas and fireworks. Night wishes he could contain…
Well, that’s just it. What Night mainly wishes he could contain is pretty girls in bikinis.
The Pixar world is not a sexless world, although the opportunities for overt sexual expression have been severely limited by the fact that the main characters of Pixar movies tend not to be equipped for sex of the normal human kind, being toys, cars, bugs, monsters, fish, rats, and robots.
In the movies that have featured important human characters---Up, Ratatouille, and The Incredibles---only Mr and Mrs Incredible are a hot and frisky couple. Carl and Ellie fall in love when they are children and when we see them as adults they are already an old married couple even when they are a young newly married couple, and Linguini and Collette spend most of their movie cooking, which I suppose could be a metaphor but when you have a romance between a male character named after a long, limp noodle and a female character named after a bisexual writer with a scandalous and unconventional sex life, you probably don’t want to stretch any metaphors.
Love and romance are very important matters in almost every Pixar movie, except Finding Nemo, and physical attraction is always portrayed as being a natural part of the mix, even in the Toy Story movies---Mr and Mrs Potato Head are a couple of real hot potatoes. Buzz and Jessie are excited by each other’s company, especially when Buzz is in Spanish mode. Part of the joke of the Barbie and Ken romance in Toy Story 3 is that we all know what they look like naked. Their anatomical incorrectness---incompleteness is more like it--- would seem to be a problem, but they are drawn together by a mutual fetishistic love of fashion and trying on outfits for each other is their version of sex, which makes the interrogation scene very kinky.
So, as I said, sex isn’t absent from the Pixar world.
But plain, unsublimated, unmasked, unleashed lust is new.
So, as far as I can remember, are the fart and piss jokes that open Day & Night.
Fart and piss jokes and other forms of scatological humor are Dreamworks specialties.
What’s even odder about Night’s lusting after Day’s pretty girls is that the main points of interest in both Day and Night’s world’s tend to appear inside them right in their bellies and lower abdominal regions. The girls frolic inside Day at just about the spot where it’s clear from Night’s expression he’d like them frolicking inside him.
Strange, strange little film but its main flaw is that it just isn’t funny. Stay in line and wait for your popcorn.
Now that I’m done not telling you whether or not you should go see Toy Story 3 I have to tell you that yesterday I was talking to Steve Kuusisto and Steve asked me if I thought he should go see it. He had no plans to, but he was curious.
As it happens, Steve hasn’t seen any Pixar movies. For a good reason. Until very recently he couldn’t see any movies. He could only go hear them.
Steve, as you know if you read his blog or have read his wonderful memoir, is legally blind. He loves movies and he has always gone to them, but he usually skipped movies that were more visual and less dialogue intensive because there was no point. Unless someone described what was happening on the screen in detail, quickly, something other people in the theaters resented, he “saw” nothing. Pixar movie have terrific dialog but they’re still cartoons and the point of a cartoon is what it looks like.
In May of 2009, however, he had an operation on one of his eyes that has made him a lot less blind and he can now enjoy movies in a more visual way.
So, the question was, how much would he enjoy Toy Story 3 or, for that matter, either of the first two Toy Stories?
I told him he’d probably have a good time, but given that he’s never seen any other Pixar movie, he’d have a better time putting a few of those in his Netflix queue.
On the car ride home after we saw Toy Story 3 Sunday---I got treated to the movie as one of my Father’s Day presents---we Mannions discussed where we’d rank it on our lists of Pixar favorites.
I said I don’t think about the Toy Story movies in the way I think about all the others because the Toy Story movies are the only ones I think I wouldn’t have enjoyed if I hadn’t seen them in the company of the Mannion boys.
We’ve seen all the Pixars together as a family, except the first Toy Story. We went as a family. There were only three of us then. Oliver was on his way. Ken was only two and a half and the experience scared him. It was his first trip to a movie theater and he was overwhelmed. When the army men appeared and the screen filled with a close up of Sarge, Ken ran for the doors, saying, “Goodbye, movie. See you later!” I went after him and we explored the mall while the blonde was left to watch the movie on her lonesome. But all the others after that were group outings. So I don’t know for a fact that I’d have enjoyed any of them as movies in their own rights if I’d seen them the first time without kids in tow, but there are several I’m pretty sure I would have and I recommended those to Steve.
I’m not saying which ones. I’m leaving that up to you. We don’t have to limit this to Pixar flicks either.
What supposed family or children’s movies would you recommend as good movies for adults who won’t be going to see them with kids?
Oliver Mannion says that you don’t have to have kids to enjoy Toy Story 3 or either of the other two Two Stories. He says that you’ll like it if you’re someone who like the authors of the best children’s books, Raold Dahl, for example, who remembers what it was really like to be kid.