Toy Story 3 — “welcome yet nonessential”?


Remember what I said a few months ago about the three phases of Pixar’s history, and how this newest sequel-filled phase seems to represent a retreat of sorts from the artistic ambitions of the second phase?

The reviews of Toy Story 3 have started to trickle out, ten days before the movie’s release, and some of them are echoing these concerns. Take, for example, Peter Debruge at Variety magazine:

Andy outgrows his anthropomorphic amigos Buzz and Woody in “Toy Story 3,” the franchise’s third (and final?) installment — and as it turns out, 15 years after launching the computer-animated toon revolution, Pixar has outgrown them, too. Whereas “Toy Story 2” treated auds to a character-based sequel that handily justified its existence, this tertiary adventure delivers welcome yet nonessential fun, landing well after its creators have grown up and succeeded toying with more sophisticated stories. . . .

Pixar has essentially set an impossible standard for itself, having previously delivered the rare sequel that improves on the original, then followed that up with a run of exceptional work. This latest script, written by “Little Miss Sunshine‘s” Michael Arndt from a story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Unkrich, feels more gag-driven than the studio’s previous efforts — essentially borrowing a page from DreamWorks Animation, chasing snappy humor over heart-on-their-sleeve sentimentality, within a few months of DreamWorks going the Pixar route with the sincere storytelling of “How to Train Your Dragon.” . . .

That last comment is especially interesting, given that How to Train Your Dragon was co-directed by a former Disney animator who basically left the company after running into creative differences with Pixar chief John Lasseter (over the film that ended up becoming Bolt).

UPDATE: Steven D. Greydanus also links to Debruge’s review, and puts Toy Story 3 within the broader context of what seems likely to be a rather lacklustre summer, as far as family films go (“It might be second-string Pixar, but given Pixar’s overall track record of excellence even second-string Pixar is likely to equal, and probably to surpass, the very best the competition has to offer”).

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11340006144797496514 RC

    Any thoughts on Phase 4?

    I don't think I'm too excited about Stage 3.

  • http://hanum.staff.gunadarma.ac.id hanum

    really great animation film ^^


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X