Posted on Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
Earlier today I had the opportunity to watch an early unfinished cut of Lee Unkrich‘s Toy Story 3 and Teddy Newton‘s Pixar short film Day & Night. Due to the uncompleted nature of the feature film, we’ve been asked not to give a full formal review. Instead I’ve recorded a short spoiler-free video blog with Steve from Collider, embedded after the jump. I’ve also put some thoughts in type, after the jump.
For those of you who don’t want to watch the video, here are some of my short thoughts:
Teddy Newton’s Day & Night is unlike anything you’ve seen before. The concept is pretty trippy. The film features no dialogue, and two hand drawn animated characters, each of which offer a window into the world. One shows the world in its nighttime state, while the other shows the same world in its daytime state. The interrior of the world is computer animated, and sometimes represents the feelings or mood of the the character that contains it. I won’t say any more, only that the resulting effect is very cool in 3D. If I have any criticism, it is that it doesn’t connect emotionally i the same way that Pixar’s last short Partly Cloudy did. It is instead more of a fun experience.
I’ve talked to a few friends since seeing Toy Story 3 and each and every one of them has asked me how it ranks in the Pixar library. I honestly can’t even list my favorite Pixar movie, so don’t ever expect me to rank them. At very most, I can tell you that I didn’t enjoy Cars and A Bugs Life as much as the rest of the films.
How does it compare to that last two Toy Story films? That’s a tricky question. The first Toy Story will always be remembered as a classic, and the second film has held one of the top most spots as one of the best reviewed wide release movies of all time. It would be wrong to expect the third film to the previous entries in the series.
That said, Toy Story 3 did not disappoint. The film introduces a lot of new characters, some of which stand toe to tow with the characters created for the first two features. Barbie’s new “boytoy” Ken steals almost every scene he appears in. The story goes to places you might not expect, and the movie trailers released thus far don’t give much of it away.
And speaking of the trailer, you might remember it contained a few clips of an action scene on a train in the desert. I know I talked to a few Pixar fanatics who were worried about that sequence, as it looks very unlike anything Pixar has done in the past Toy Story films. Let me assure you that the sequence makes sense (for those who care to know, it is the opening sequence — if you remember how Toy Story 2 opened then you’ll understand what I mean).
The story is a fun ride to places unknown, and takes some twists and turns you might not expect. The conclusion is a fitting end to the series, and will probably leave you in tears. The last 20-30 minutes are pure brilliance. I can’t wait to see the film again when it’s completed and in 3D.
Watch the video blog below:
Here are some other reactiomns from around the web:
FirstShowing: “it is a very wild ride. It’s actually a great story that has a few twists and turns and deviates from the norm quite a bit, but it’s still as great as any other movie from Pixar. I did really enjoy it and have a fun time watching it, but that’s really all there was, nothing more to make it extraordinary. It’s a bit hard to say, because I love Pixar so much, but it felt like this lacked the same magic of Pixar movies of past (at least up until the ending). But if you love the Toy Story movies, you’re going to love this one, too.”
CinemaBlend: “[when the print is finished] I think we’ll be having a conversation about the Pixar legacy, about how groundbreaking their work has become in the last few years and whether or not revisiting the movie where it all began was the right step for a company that, at its best, can legitimately be called avant garde. As much as I loved seeing all the toys again, I’m not 100% sure that this adventure– as entertaining and lovely as it was– was the right one for Pixar at this moment. Toy Story 3 takes many big risks, and twists your heart around as much as Wall-E and Up, but at times it felt far safer than what we’ve come to expect from them. And yet, I guarantee you will enjoy this film.”
ComingSoon: “Like the best Pixar movies, it’s consistently funny, exciting and moving, sometimes all three at the same time, and as someone who never got around to seeing Toy Story 2 and really had very little emotional investment in the characters, I was really impressed with what was done with a fairly simple story that doesn’t require having seen either of the previous movies to immediately understand the idea of growing up and losing interest in one’s toys. ” … “here are also moments as emotional as those in Up without ever feeling sentimental. I’ll also freely admit to being close to tears a number of times while watching it, which is a true testament to what Unkrich and his team of talented creators have done in making these toys feel so human, yet making the human characters feel even more real than what we normally see in animated films.”
Latino Review: “Lee Unkrich put his co-directing gigs behind him and gave us a fantastic end to the series. All of the toys were present (except for a few, which is explained in the film) and the movie looked great.” … “The last act had some around me crying, probably thinking back to when they had favorite toys of their own growing up.”