Totoro, a character in Toy Story 3 is a crossover character from Pixar's work with Studio Ghibli.
Andy is grown now and about to head off to college and while he did love his toys when he was younger they sit unplayed with in a toy chest, some of them have even been sold at yard sales or thrown away. Feeling neglected and desperate they begin to worry who will be sold next or worse who will simply be thrown away. Unlike the previous Toy Story films the adventure is less about toys attempting to find their way back to their owner and more about how they deal with their child growing up and losing interest in them. It’s a darker toned film and fits in well with the direction the last few Pixar films have gone in, but does it suit this particular franchise?
My first mistake was going into this film with a happy carefree attitude thinking I was about to have a ton of laughs and a good adventure but the film makes an early somber beginning and doesn’t really lighten up till its almost over. The only bright spots seem to be between Barbie and Ken who are the runaway characters in the film but instead of the hilarious interactions that are innocent fun they tend to sway back and forth between humor a child can enjoy and humor only an adult could truly understand when looking past their actions and listening to just their words. I sat without a real smile on my face for awhile getting a few chuckles in here and there trusting that soon I would be overcome with good spirit and real laughter from this film. Why Pixar did you go this somber route with such a beloved franchise?
A little past the halfway marker Buzz Lightyear and Woody come to the rescue, literally, in a way that is simply hilarious and fun and takes you back to the joy of the first two films. As the film progresses you feel that sense of adventure that you remember and you start to lose that sense of hopelessness the film offers up in the first half and then some and when you finally have that love for the characters you’ve grown to know and love you get hit with such a touching scene its tear jerking. The end of the film is pretty obvious but it transports you in a nostalgic way that just connects you to the film and leaves you feeling great.
I saw Toy Story 3 in 3D and no more then fifteen minutes in I started to feel a nagging sense of dejavu. This was that terrible Clash of the Titans 3D experience all over again. Sure there was a bit of depth but nothing extraordinary and the annoyance of wearing those 3D glasses without purpose kind of takes away from what was already starting out as an unfulfilled experience. I would absolutely suggest skipping the 3D and just purchasing tickets for the regular version of the film. IMAX if you feel the need to spend that few extra bucks. There are some scenes in the film that would be epic looking on the IMAX screen trust me.
While I did love Toy Story 3 after it all sank in and I realized my lack of pure enjoyment was due to my assumptions that Toy Story 3 was going to be Toy Story and or Toy Story 2 my greatest enjoyment of the night was the Pixar short Day & Night so here is somewhat of a bonus review for that, and also this might be the only worthy aspect of seeing Toy Story in 3D as Day & Night use the technology to its advantage.
Right off the bat, for some reason, this short reminded me of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Maybe it was the shapes of the characters in the short but I was drawn. Day & Night are silent characters whose interactions are highlighted with sound by the things that appear in their respective bodies. The experience there was like watching an old Tom & Jerry episode. The background is pure black with only their bodies which hold the atmosphere of Day & Night which creates a fantastic illusion in 3D. Of course differences are always compared to Day & Night (or vise versa depending) so naturally the two are at odds. By the end of the short a very powerful message about differences is told. It might be political to some but extremely powerful and well told. Its simply an amazing short that has to be seen. It might very well be the first time that Pixar has created a short that impressed me far more then the feature film that followed it.