Just Watched Toy Story 3 (2010)

This is the conversation I have with the missus every single time a Pixar movies comes out.

HER: Hey that new Pixar movie’s out.

ME: Eh.

Weeks pass.

HER: Let’s go see that new Pixar movie.

ME: Fine.

We see the movie.


She glowers at me, deservedly so.

I’m not sure what it is about these movies that I always forget how damn good they are when the next one comes out. I remember begrudgingly going to see Finding Nemo with some friends when I was visiting Columbus one time and coming out loving it. Same goes for Wall*E, though I think I was more interested in that one cause it had robots. Another reason I wasn’t really excited about Toy Story 3 is that I don’t think I’ve seen the second one all the way through. All I remembered was that they added the girl cowboy and the horse.

But, damnitall if Toy Story 3 isn’t one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. Yes, best MOVIES, not best CGI movies. It’s that good. The thing that Pixar does better than anyone else in the movie making industry is taking the time to perfect the scripts. This one took something like two and a half years between script and storyboarding. That’s a lot of time to perfect a script and I’d say this one is as close to perfect as they come. Not a moment is wasted. And even when there seems to be a moment that IS wasted, you find out by the end it isn’t, so stop being such a negative Nancy.

For the record, we saw the 3D version. I’m not sure if it’s really necessary. It looked much better than Alice In Wonderland did, but it didn’t really add a whole lot aside from depth of field. I still think the Disney 3D is better than any of the other ones out there, including whatever Avatar used.

As you probably know by now, the story follows Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Hamm, Rex and the gang (paired down over the years between the second and third installments thanks to yard sales) as they deal with Andy going away to college. They end up on all kinds of crazy adventures which take some of them to a brand new house with a brand new kid and others getting the stuffing knocked out of them as the new bloods in a daycare ruled with an iron fist by a cuddly-looking teddy bear. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but the new toy characters both at the house and the daycare are a nice addition to the cast of characters without taking anything away from our heroes.

For those of you who might be thinking “But this is just a kid’s movie and I hear the ending is really sad, I don’t want to see it,” I say “See it anyway!” Yes, the ending is sad, but it’s a good kind of sad. Plus, there’s a ton of action in the last act of the movie that reminded me of how Peter Jackson’s King Kong didn’t let up for like 30 minutes (there’s the dinosaur stampede, then the bugs, then King Kong fighting T-Rexes, possibly not in that order, but it’s all intense). There’s also a great deal of comedy in the film that had me laughing out loud in spite of myself.

Oh, also, as far as I could tell the moral of the movie is “Never, ever get rid of your toys,” but the missus begs to differ. I think it’s because she’s sick of my He-Man, Ninja Turtles and Transformers toys taking up space in the storage unit.

Quick Movie Review: Galaxy Quest (1999)

Galaxy Quest is another one of those movies that seems like it would have been directly in my wheelehouse. It’s about a bunch of washed up actors from a Star Trek-like sci-fi show who get caught up in real alien hijinks. It stars Tim Allen and Alan Rickman, two stars I really like. And Sigourney Weaver looks hot. So, why didn’t I see it when I was 16? No idea. Could have been working, my friends might not have been interested in going or I just didn’t care because I kind of hated Star Trek at the time (ah to be young and foolish). So, it just never happened.

I had a great time watching this movie, but I think it’s better that I watched it now that I have a deeper understanding of sci-fi fandom and the Star Trek universe in general. Allen’s clearly playing an analog for William Shatner while Rickman could be seen as a much-fictionalized version of Leonard Nimoy with Weaver, Tony Shalloub and others playing caricatures of other cast members. I don’t know much about the Star Trek folks’ real life dealings, so I can’t speak to that, but I’ve been to enough comic book conventions to understand what a washed up loser trying to milk his 15 minutes of fame looks like.

Aside from the jabs at nerdom, I also liked the film as a sci-fi romp. The aliens think the reruns of Galaxy Quest they’ve seen are video histories which have inspired their entire race to, basically, do good and avoid evil (a credo my friend’s dad used to always leave me with whenever he dropped us off at school). When their emotionally primitive but technologically advanced society came under fire, they did the only thing they could think of: get the Galaxy Quest crew to help them against some big bad aliens. Fun stuff!

But it’s not just a comedy either, GC offers great alien effects thanks to Stan Winston. I’m a big fan of the evil alien’s being done practically, they’ve got a great look, and the hero aliens’ octopus-like true forms. How great is it when a sci-fi movie makes aliens look this good? Plus, the action is solid. Galaxy Quest is one of those rare genre movies that I could easily recommend to a wide audience, which means, I would recommend it to my parents. I know my dad would like it, but mom has pretty specific tastes (nothing too violent or dark). I think she’d get a kick out of the movie and you would too if you’re reading this blog and haven’t seen it in a while.