Wednesday, October 07, 2009

REVIEW: Toy Story 3D Double Feature

Siting in a theater for 90 minutes watching a Pixar movie? Bliss.

Sitting in a theater for 180 minutes watching a Pixar Toy Story double feature in 3D? Priceless bliss.

There's no real need to review the movies again, but I will take issue with Variety critic Todd McCarthy in one respect. In his review of the double feature, he writes:

"I had always gone along with the prevailing view that "Toy Story 2" was slightly better than its predecessor. Seeing them together reversed my opinion. Whereas "2" benefits from the introduction of cowgirl Jessie and such wonderful conceits as putting Buzz Lightyear on the toy store shelf along with his hundreds of identical brethren, "1" prevails in the end due to its more unified narrative; by contrast, "2," for all its amusing invention, dawdles for a while before charging into the action climax."

Having just seen the double, I flatly - no, I 3-dimensionally - disagree. The animation is more fluid, the characters are enriched, and the jokes are more inventive - the invention of the "deluded Buzz" is truly a stroke of genius.To me, this is the perfect demonstration of the difference between a A film like Toy Story and an A+  film like Toy Story 2. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the first Toy Story, but the second otushines it in every respect.  It's transcendent. There is no more emotional moment in all of Pixar for me than "When She Loved Me," which reduces me to tears no matter how many times I see it. And this time I had to take 3D glasses off to wipe my eyes.

As for the 3D, the approach is very similar to what Pixar did with Up: the emphasis is more on depth than on throwing things in the audience's faces. That's fine if you're in a theme park, or if you have a thin story to support your movie *cough Monsters vs. Aliens *cough* but in a movie with a good story (or two movies with two good stories) such flashy efffects would be a distraciton. Here we get to marvel at the detail, especially in scenes with elaborate backgrounds, like our first look in Al's Toy Barn, or the ride on the luggage conveyor.

Some people may not see the need to rewatch  movies they've already seen, but especially if you have kids who did not have a chance to see the original films in theaters, this is an ideal way to do it. Now all that remains is to find out whether Toy Story 3 (which gets a full trailer in the double feature) can stand alongside the other two outstanding playthings. I have every confidence it will.

GRADE: A+ for the overall experience

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