Wednesday, June 16, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond!

Screened Toy Story 3 at work last night in between closing down projectors. It was everything I expected from a Toy Story movie - nothing more, nothing less. Which is not to say it was in any way bad. It was great fun from start to finish. It just wasn't quite up to the same level as Pixar's more recent movies such as Wall-E and Up.
The plot pretty much mirrored the second one, with Woody coming to terms with the fact that Andy has outgrown him, Buzz in his factory mode (again) and an evil toy trying to stop them returning home.
The animation is the best yet, and the 3D is subtly impressive. All of the returning voice cast are as comfortable as if it was just a few months since the last one instead of 11 years. Of the new voice cast, Michael Keaton as Ken and Ned Beatty as Lotso are standouts. After an exciting and visually spectacular opening, the movie slows down a little as we are reintroduced to the characters and the dilemma of Andy going off to college. Once it turns into a prison break story, though, it picks up and never looks back. The action finale at the dump is one of the most exciting scenes Pixar has crafted, and has a highly emotional finish where I almost believed for a second we had seen the end of these characters (almost).
The real ending is a little saccharine, but wraps things up nicely. Toy Story has joined the rare group of trilogies where the third one doesn't suck. It's a fine send-off for the characters that we've known and loved for 15 years now. And remember, Ken is not a girl's toy!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Splice of life

Screened Splice at work the other night. It was fairly good, and not at all like the Species rip-off the trailers made it out to be. It's actually more of a slow-paced character study than a monster movie, though with some horrific scenes that are reminiscent of early Cronenberg. It's also one of the most sexually confused movies I've ever seen (SPOILER: how many movies have a genetically-mutated child having sex with both mommy and daddy?)
The film is not without flaws, and the ending manages to be both predictable and ludicrous, but the stylish look and good performances from the three leads save it. It's also a film that is full of ideas worth talking about, something you can't say about any other films so far this summer. Boy this summer has sucked to date. I only watched half of Iron Man 2, and wasn't impressed, and the other films out I have no desire to see. Hopefully Toy Story 3 and Inception will save the summer.