Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3

*1/2

 

Conventional wisdom is that Pixar animation studio is the greatest thing to happen to family entertainment since Walt Disney.

I absolutely disagree. Every Pixar movie that I have seen, with the exception of “Finding Nemo,” is terribly overrated.

The triumph of Pixar is a victory of style over substance.

There was a time, although it seems so long ago now, when children’s movies were MORE likely to exhibit intelligence and teach moral lessons than movies made for adults.

There was a time when the genesis of a family film was an ambitious screenwriter with a story to tell and some wholesome axioms about the right way to live your life.

Now the inspiration of a children’s movie, it seems, is a computer programmer reporting to his corporate boss that there has been yet another advancement in animation technology.

The screenplay is little more than an afterthought – assigned to a dependable pro like a book report. The cast is not based on talent or who is best for the part, but simply based on who has the most recognizable voice (“hey, it’s the guy from Cheers and the lady from Seinfeld. Neat”).

Since almost every penny of a Pixar movie’s gargantuan budget is spent on the animation, most of the filmmakers’ efforts are put toward making it look good at the expense of everything else.

Certainly at the expense of the story. “Toy Story 3” barely has a plot at all. It’s about a group of toys who are thrown out by their owner, sent off to an unpleasant daycare center, and decide that they have to escape and make their way home.

Maybe this plot would be adequate if I cared about any of the toys. But I didn’t.

Maybe the movie would be worth sitting through if there was a little comedy to liven things up. But there isn’t. “Toy Story 3” didn’t make me so much as chuckle. Not once.

The majority of the screen time is devoted to frantic, colorful, boring chase scenes.

It is deeply perplexing to me that “Sex and the City 2” – a film that is positively bubbling over with intelligence and insight about humanity – has gotten brutalized by critics. Meanwhile, “Toy Story 3” – a movie with zero substance, zero characterization, zero wit, and nothing to say about the world – is receiving glowing reviews.

I don’t get it. And I’m sure not jumping on the bandwagon. Pixar movies stink. Computer animated movies stink. “Toy Story 3” stinks.

 

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