Thursday, October 1, 2009

Toy Story 3-D Review

Who can say anything bad about Pixar? The company consistently puts out amazing stories filled with incredible characters that always manage to captivate large audiences.

Toy Story, the first ever feature-length computer animated film, and Toy Story 2 are no exceptions, so it’s obvious that Pixar’s decision to re-release the two films in 3-D would only amplify the phenomenon. The colors, the creativity, the fun, and the fact that beloved toys have returned to reach beyond the screen and touch the viewer’s heart ... Oh, yes, the Toys are back in town! You’re never too old to have some fun with these characters.

After the 1995 release of Toy Story, fans waited four years for Pixar to release the sequel, but now they can watch the two films back to back for the price of one ticket (a bonus, especially for broke college students).

Toy Story follows Woody the cowboy’s fight to keep his spot as Andy’s favorite toy when Andy gets the latest and greatest Buzz Lightyear toy. In Toy Story 2, Woody finds out that he’s a collector’s item with a toy family he never knew about including Jessie the cowgirl, Bullseye the horse, and Stinky Pete the Prospector.

The successful films inspired two rides at the Disney Resort parks and a cartoon television series about Buzz Lightyear. Now, Toy Story 3-D will make new fans and reacquaint old friends before the release of Toy Story 3 on June 18, 2010. Before the movie begins, a new trailer for the third installment plays alongside a trailer for A Christmas Carol in 3-D. A 10-minute intermission between movies will also entertain audiences with its fun facts, trivia, and film shorts.

It’s always a delight to see classics revamped for the modern audience, but what happens when you take two films not made for 3-D and convert them to the new format? Unfortunately, you’re bound to get a result that could have been better had it only been made originally for 3-D. If only the angle of vision given to viewers would change just a few degrees in certain scenes and there were a way to make these 3-D versions fresh and exciting. Some viewers who don’t consider the big screen a major factor in the enjoyment of a film may prefer to stay at home and watch the DVDs.

As the opening credits jump out at viewers, they can only hope the rest of the films will feel just as real and as much a part of the room. The use of 3-D technology in the double feature does create a clear and crisp picture, and it brings extra life to the living toys. A few scenes shot from character’s points of view make the 3-D effect seem special, but for the majority of the films viewers can take their 3-D glasses off and see just fine. On the bright side, this makes it easier for audience members with weak vision to enjoy the movies.

Despite the defects, the 3-D does add something to the films, and this reviewer can’t get past the Pixar factor. 3-D or not, Pixar films are always able to display crisp animation, realistic characters (even if they are toys), and touching stories. These films will remind viewers of their own favorite childhood toys. In the eyes of a child and with a bit of imagination, toys in the real world can come alive, too.

At the core of these films, a child’s spirit comes to life and uplifts audience members. The films show that, like Woody, Buzz, and Jessie, everyone needs to feel loved. A talented voice cast helps convey the emotions that come with such friendships, rejections, and decisions. With Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack as Jessie, and Kelsey Grammer as the Prospector, the double feature makes for a delightful break from life’s complications. The only thing missing is a traditional Pixar short before each film.

Pixar fans will not want to miss this limited, two-week engagement of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3-D, which opens October 2.

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