Thursday, December 12, 2019

890. Toy Story Series *REVISED AND UPDATED* (1080, 1081)

Toy Story
Directed by John Lasseter

Three years ago I wrote a review on Toy Story. Well, now the Listmakers have decided that the movies are such a cohesive unit, that they should count as one entry, LOTR-stylez. So I decided just to update this post, with my thoughts on the sequels, or as the Listmakers would call them, Acts 2 and 3.

So that it's not TOO confusing, past Amanda is in bold, present Amanda is roman, and future Amanda is in purple, is a clone, and must be destroyed.

Toy Story:

If Joss Whedon is involved in a project, it is pretty much guaranteed that I am going to praise it.  While this was never a favorite growing up (I like my animated movies to have musical numbers), it is certainly a movie everyone should see before they die.

In the Toy Story universe, toys are sentient beings who only pretend to be lifeless in the company of humans.  This logic has some alarming implications, but since it is a children's movie, we can just go with it.  Six year old Andy's favorite toy is Woody, a pull string cowboy.  On his birthday, Andy receives Buzz Lightyear, a flashy action figure who isn't even aware that he is a toy (but then, why does he freeze whenever a human comes into the room?).  Buzz becomes Andy's favorite, sparking Woody's jealousy.

I haven't seen any of the Toy Story sequels, but I hear they are quite good.  My boyfriend told me that Toy Story 3 made him cry, which is the kind of manly anecdote that is really attractive (okay, that's embarrassing).  In any case, I enjoyed this; the voice acting really brought the characters to life.  I never thought I would be praising Tim Allen, but there you go.

I am sure I am not the first person to think this, but I saw this film as kind of a metaphor for Hollywood.   Westerns are now considered outdated and today people just want mindless action movies.  Another movie that shouldn't be dismissed as a kids only film.

RATING: ****-

Toy Story 2:

My sister and I got Disney Plus which has not been good for our mental health or relationships, but that's not important. What is important is that Woody is stolen from a garage sale, and it's up to Buzz and the rest of the Plastics to rescue him from Wayne Knight. Woody, however, ends up bonding with the other toys in Knight's collection, so is forced to make a difficult choice about his future.

I have a hard time sinking my teeth into the Toy Story universe, just because it is hard to grasp the stakes. Can toys die? They can clearly be dissected and put together in horrific ways and still be "alive," for all intents and purposes. So then, do they die only when their body parts are destroyed beyond repair? I know it's slightly ridiculous to dissect this movie to toy-death, but there are plenty of great movies for kids that don't fall apart upon deeper examination (e.g. Inside Out). I am not saying I won't accept non sentient things being sentient, but understanding the stakes is a crucial part of storytelling, and the Toy Story movies fail in this regard.

That being said, Pixar always makes beautiful movies and the voice actors are perfect in their roles. I love that Pixar respects children, respects their fears, their minds, and their struggles. I think many adults romanticize childhood, those "good ole days" when you didn't have to pay bills. But being a child is actually difficult and weird, and Pixar gets that.

RATING: ***--

Toy Story 3:

The big kahuna, that brings healthy, mature men, and the men I date, to tears. In this installment, Woody and the other toys accidentally get donated to a daycare center. My sister teaches kindergarten and watched this movie with me, so I was clued in that things were going to go south pretty quickly. I know her Calm Down Koala has seen some things.

This was my favorite from the series. This installment covers the human side of the toy/human relationship more, and that's what really pulls on my heartstrings. Many of us are convinced that we should stop playing when we reach a certain age, as if adults have less need for escapism than children, which I find strange. In other words, bring your damn toy with you to college Andy! I have seen weirder things in dorm rooms.

Anyway, I think Pixar has made much better movies, but these were solid films. Oh, and in case you didn't make the connection, toys => Christmas=> December theme!

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Billy Crystal turned down the offer to voice Buzz Lightyear.  He later said it was the biggest mistake of his career.

Joss Whedon created the character of Rex.

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