It’s been fourteen years since the first Toy Story amazed us with Pixar’s animated visual style. The introduction of Pixar’s CGI-animation brought critical and commercial success while basically revolutionizing the genre. But it would have been just another flashy new thing if it wasn’t for the endearing buddy story brought to life by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. The themes still work for today’s kids, who are more sophisticated and computer savvy and don’t realized that cartoons were not always shown in anything but 3D.
Having been brought up watching Fleischer and early Disney cartoons, I was disappointed by the Hanna-Barbera era of the Saturday morning TV format. It lacked stories, soul, and interesting art. But my kids watched it anyways, despite attempts to expose them to the “good old days” of the classics like Fantasia, Bambi, and Snow White.
The movies start with a sneak peek of the upcoming Toy Story 3. Andy has grown up and is going off to college. His toys are being donated to a preschool where the highly excitable tykes damage Buzz Lightyear. He’s sent to the factory to be repaired but comes back not knowing he’s a toy and for some reason speaks Spanish and other dialects. The movie is set to be released on June 18, 2010.
There was a time when 3D used to be just for IMAX screens where you think you can touch those fish swimming into the middle of the auditorium. Now it’s almost expected for today’s animated features, although it hasn’t helped movies like Fly Me to the Moon.
It was interesting revisiting these films and noticing the changes in Pixar’s technology. Since these movies were not specifically created for 3D, the enhancements added didn’t make things pop out at the audience. What we are treated to was a sense of depth and dimension. It was almost like watching Blu-Ray on the big screen. The colors are bright, crisp, and you hardly notice that today’s CGI has vastly improved since this was first released.
In between the movies, there is a 10-minute intermission with on screen trivia, games, and a countdown for restless kids. Who does double features anymore? And can we get more?
Toy Story 2, which was originally to be a direct-to-video movie, was expanded when the story needed to be a full theatrical release. The 3D experience is better in this, but it may be because it was more technically advanced than the first.
Is it worth sitting for 4 hours to view the movies again? That’s an absolute affirmative. In the long run, it’s the stories and the actors that stand the test of time along with good object lessons for youngsters as well as adults. The 3D alteration was like icing on the cake. And surprisingly, there wasn’t any eye and head strain that is usually associated with wearing those oversized glasses for so long. (Review by Reesa Cruz-Hawkins)
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