Pixar has eaten Disney and taken over Hollywood. Who would have thought that a small animation company founded by the CEO of Apple Inc. could become such a dominant figure in both the Disney Corporation and the film industry?
Each year, they pump out a brand-new film that manages to be both original and entertaining for all. They usually produce what becomes one of the highest-grossing films of the year, and their latest production, , is a prime example of that. It is both a film for all and the ever elusive well-made third installment of the series.
The previous movies in the trilogy deal with themes of abandonment and growing-up while maintaining that light-hearted, fun gloss for children.
It kicks off with a hook, featuring a high-intensity action sequence that, while fun, serves no purpose other than to highlight how far Pixar’s technological prowess has come since the first movie. After this, it is revealed that the toys’ owner, Andy, has grown up and is preparing for college. Over the time period between the second and third movies, Andy had already sold many of his toys, shown through the absence of many minor characters in the previous movies.
His sentimentality, however, causes him to keep the major ones, but due to a mix-up, these toys wind up in a local day-care center. At first, the toys are happy to integrate into this seemingly pleasant center, but as later events will show, not everything is what it seems.
The movie is sugary sweet for the eyes, featuring the lush details of every color on the visual spectrum. The technology has come a long way since the last few movies. One only need to look at the highly detailed fur on several animal toys or the depiction of various types of weather.
While marketed as a children’s film, it is actually genuinely funny for adults. The jokes are never too corny or too childish and there is even occasional mature sub-text to keep even the most mature viewer amused. Like every Pixar film, there are numerous in-jokes and references to other works, including other Pixar films.
The children’s rooms contain references to Up, Finding Nemo and My Neighbor Totoro. Even Sid, the antisocial child from the first film, makes a brief, yet important cameo. Look out for the teen in the skull shirt to find him. At the same time, the 3-D aspect of this film is really an unnecessary distraction. There’s absolutely no need to shell out an additional few dollars per person for a mild, almost unnoticeable visual upgrade.
Despite all the fun and visual splendor, is at its core a somber and contemplative film. The fun and jokes are undercut by the fact that these toys are essentially bracing for their own retirement and death, whether or not that actually occurs at the end of film.
Moments of joy and cheer are intermixed by danger and sadness that serve to highlight the struggles anyone faces with abandonment and death. It doesn’t address the serious issues in full, but then again, neither do any other Pixar film or children’s movie for that matter.
The movie ultimately never fully engages in the more serious topics mentioned. It is marketed as a movie that anyone can enjoy, whether young or old. In that sense it succeeds greatly. Whether one is looking to laugh and be dazzled with visuals or hoping for some light introspection, provides a bit of each for all audiences.
Any review of a Pixar film cannot be complete without mentioning the short film that precedes it. The short, , is clever and reminiscent of Looney Tunes. The personifications of night and day engage in numerous antics in an attempt to understand each other’s ways. This film really allows Pixar to show off its creative and technological muscle. It blends 2-D animation with 3-D in a way that cannot really be explained. The animation styles coalesce beautifully in a way that has never been seen. is a great, visual poem that’s on par with the movie it is packaged with in terms of style.
The short is so good that it alone is worth the extremely high- ticket price for the film. Still, with such a great film following it, it is just a bonus for all moviegoers.