Jun 15, 2010

Toy Story 3, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 3!

Few things excite me like Pixar movies.

OK, nothing excites me like Pixar movies. And, from what I've heard, Toy Story 3 will justify all that excitement.

Trilogies always worry me, since they can either be brilliant or deplorable. For example, Star Wars (the originals, thank you very much) was done well, even if Ewoks vs. Empire is one of the stupidest battles of all time (oops! Forgot this one!). The character arcs were complex, deliberate, and smooth. The Matrix, however, was a confusing blather that ended with the Gerber baby crucifying Neo...or something like that. The hype is that Toy Story 3 is more the former than the latter.

The brief synopsis of the story is that Andy--eight or nine years old the last we saw him--has grown up and is getting ready to go off to college. Like many of us (especially those of us who are overly sentimental about everything), he has kept all of his toys to this point. However (again, like many of us), he doesn't really play with them any more. As he packs up for school, he decides to take Woody with him as a memento from childhood. The other toys will be placed in the attic--maybe for his children someday, maybe because he can't bear for them to go. However, he packs them in a garbage bag, which his mother accidentally throws away, not realizing that he wanted them kept. By some means, they all end up at Sunnyside Daycare, a seeming paradise that turns out to be more of a prison. They have to get out and return to Andy--but how?

Ultimately, the plot revolves around one theme: learning how to remember the past while being willing to let go of those you love. I was looking at the book The Art of Toy Story 3 yesterday in Barnes & Noble, and just seeing the concept art and understanding the story made me want to cry. Apparently the writer (Michael Arndt, who also--go figure--wrote Little Miss Sunshine), upon completing the final scene, walked out of his office at Pixar with tears streaming down his face. You see, Toy Story 3 isn't just our chance to be entertained once again by Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang; it's also our chance to appreciate how far their friendships have come, to remember how much we've been through with them, and, ultimately, to say goodbye. This is, after all, the last installment.

Reading through that book made me reminisce about that wonderful and terrible (paradox!) feeling of saying goodbye to my family when I went off to college. There's something big happening, symbolically and emotionally, as you cut the bonds of childhood. It's frightening and exciting. It makes you want to celebrate and cry. I think that's what Toy Story 3 is going for, and if I know anything about Pixar, it's that they can toy with my emotions as effectively as Wayne Rooney can handle a soccer ball.

That all said, I thought I'd post a few clips and a cool NYTimes piece that were recently released as we prepare for June 18, opening night!

Meet the new characters!

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