Monday, October 5, 2009

Toy Story & Toy Story 2 in 3D

In a preview for Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, another movie I’m quite excited about, a reviewer announced that it was “proof that Pixar doesn’t have a monopoly on heartfelt animation.” (Josh Horowitz, MTV)

This made me think.

Is it fair to call what Pixar does a monopoly? One certainly can’t argue that Pixar is the best at what the do, heartfelt being only one of the words I would use to describe them. But being the best isn’t a monopoly. I’ve, personally, never heard any stories of Pixar buying out or blocking any other potential animated releases from hitting the theaters. Hell, they only put out one movie a year, if that. Every other studio spits out a constant barrage of half-assed and humdrum animation. Kid stuff, you might say. What Pixar does is art.

Most of the time. I won’t get into Cars.

But as I was saying, “Monopoly” is not a fair word to use when describing Pixar. I would use something more like: “Awesome,” or “Bad-ass,” or, to keep it simple, “The Best.”

Which brings me to the Toy Story duo…

As you probably know already, Pixar has been kind enough to re-release Toy Story and Toy Story 2 as a double feature for a limited, two week engagement. And in 3D no less! With Toy Story 3 on the way next summer, I figure the point of this release was to re-introduce a new generation of kids to its prequels. Part 2 is ten years old after all.

Good god, that makes me feel old.

So the question is, after ten to fifteen years since their original release, how do these movies hold up on the big screen? And in 3D no less?

The answer: Better than ever.

Just about any movie Pixar makes can be described easily as Timeless. Every time I watch one I could be five or ninety-five and it wouldn’t make a difference. They are just an incredible amount of fun to watch.

There isn’t quite as much “adult” humor packed into these movies as some of the later stuff. It’s no secret who the target audience originally was. But the advantage of these films is the story telling. At ever step these toys just seem to get deeper and deeper into problems, and always have a clever, usually hilarious, often adventurous solution. The car chase climax of the first movie brought chills up my spine as Woody and Buzz rocketed off towards the moving van. And Jessie’s remembrance montage of her old owner Emily in the midst of number 2, still brings tears to my eyes. It’s just quality film making, regardless of who the target audience is. Or was.

So yeah, maybe Pixar does have a monopoly after all. But not over the kid’s movie industry. Their’s is a monopoly much harder earned and continually defended after almost fifteen years. It’s a monopoly on my heart.

And that is what makes them the best.

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