24 years it has been since the creation of Pixar animation studios
24 years of animation
24 years of wisdom
24 years of great stories
24 years of spectacular awesomeness
After returning home from watching Toy Story 3, I went on a shopping spree to complete my collection of Pixar movies. The second to last one was Monsters, Inc., which I had to search through three stores to attain. I had to do it. The passion compels me so. Toy Story 3 was the first threequel (sequel to a sequel) I have seen in recent years that have made me feel something, the first threequel in recent years to make me say, "Now that's quality filmmaking."
As we all know, (most) sequels suck. There are the rare gems amongst the movie society, such as Aliens, The Godfather 2, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Evil Dead 2, Superman 2, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, The Good, the Bad & the Ugly, The Dark Knight, and of course, Toy Story 2. Thus, whenever a rare quality sequel such as Toy Story 3 comes around, it is always significant to not only praise it for the great creativity put into the making of the film, but to recognize it for its important existence in reminding us that good movies are not dead. Yet.
To commemorate such an occasion, I am going to put myself through a movie marathon of Pixar movies, from the one I just finished watching few minutes ago, Toy Story, all the way to the recent brilliancy that are WALL•E, Up, and of course, Toy Story 3, which I am going to be rewatching again at the end of this marathon.
Throughout this crazed obsession, I am going to review (or rather, reflect on my personal journey with each of the films) in this thread each of the film at the end of each viewing, starting with Toy Story, all the way until I make it back up to near-perfect threequel again at the theater.
So sit back and get a coffee or something, because this is going to be quite a read. Also leave your thoughts on Toy Story 3 and the other Pixar films here, be it you hate them (for reasons I couldn't comprehend - ever) or love them. Enjoy.
Toy Story (1995)
What began the series of winning streaks was a story spawned from a Pixar short film titled Tin-Toy. As a seemingly cheap cartoon that would otherwise be compared to a typical Dreamworks animated film today, it revolutionized the 3-D technology back in '95, bringing new heights to the world of animation. Like a puny caterpillar, Pixar sprouted its wings of 15-years success.
I was only 5 when this came out, but I still remembered watching this some time during my childhood, so I probably either:
1. watched it in the theater without understanding much of the movie, but still retained memories of scenes from the movie, or
2. watched it on TV when I grew to be a bit older.
This wondrous gift to the cinematic world meant nothing to me back then other than being just another 'cartoon.' Ironic. I knew not of the smart adult humor cunningly sneaked into the movie by the naughty producers, nor the employee vs. employee subtext crafted into the story, or even the creative fun of seeing our human world through the eyes of a toy.
It was a nice idea, a toy being in a boss and worker system, where we are the boss, deciding whether if we want to 'fire' or abandon the employees or toys. Of course, there's the whole notion of kids being tired of toys eventually, and that is reflected upon by having the toys acting as sort of a guardian to Andy, the child owner of the main toy characters in the movie. Lots of questions and discussions could be raised from the subtext applied in Pixar movies, so much so that it would take years to go through all of them.
A good story has very extensive character development, I think that's a clear fact. And in Toy Story, we see the kind and friendly, 'let's give whoever up there a big Andy's room welcome' Sheriff Woody turn green with vengeful jealousy when his spot in the career game is replaced by the cool, high technology Buzz Lightyear, and he is, thus, outranked and (for a while) outcast. This also signifies the coming of higher technology into our world, too, by the way, a subtext that's very well present in the modern world, especially since the arrival of extensive CGI movies.
You got to root for the guy, though. I mean, being replaced by an employee that works more efficiently is one thing, but having your friends (and the spud head, especially) making a mockery out of your misery and distress, that's just plain asking directly to paint a red revenge target over 'the new guy.' Nothing feels worse than being outcast in your social cycle. Except, maybe being knocked out of the window and landing in bushes one storey below, I guess.
Now, with Buzz, his character development here is naturally the most extensive. He is such a fun character to watch at the beginning, being the epitome of the toy in human world we want to see, because nothing is cooler for a kid than watching your toys come alive. An action figure, too.
But then, when it got to the sad parts, such as Buzz's gained knowledge of his true identity. I don't know about you guys, but that scene just compelled me to no end, bringing tears to me each time. I felt so much emotions from Buzz in that scene, how he suddenly woke up from a fantasy dream of being powerful, being significant, to realize he's just a seemingly insignificant piece of plastic meant to be toyed around, meant to be played with.
Of course, as the movie moved on, as we see Andy's distraught and disappointment when he lost Woody and Buzz, we learned, through the opposite party's perspectives, the true meaning of playtime, the true meaning of having someone to be by your side in your childhood. All in the name of innocence and the disposal of cynical (and perverse) thoughts, of course. :)
And upon learning that new world, learning about his significance in that world through compelling character interactions with Woody that's very nicely written, Buzz was ready to travel to infinity and beyond once more, with a new pal this time.
And even though all of these were portrayed in a very out-of-the-box creative manner, the animation genre - no, animated films regardless of any genre, even up to date, have received little recognition by the mainstream movie fans as good movies. Sure, many critics could write what they want about the top-notch writing of the story in Toy Story, but it is what the average movie lover thinks that's truly significant in the cinematic world. After all, they were made for you, the average movie audience.
Subtext: Technology is going to replace the good and wholesome 'cowboy dolls' of our society.
Character Development: Extensive.
Emotional Drama: Plenty to make you cry.
With Toy Story's success, Pixar was ready to move on to their next project, the one which was renowned for being overshadowed by Dreamworks' dastardly tricks.