Sorry, Wrong Number. There’s No “Woodpecker” Here !
Hello Everyone !
~ Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner ~
Today I Will Be Playing With: Toy Story 3
For young adults, saying farewell to beloved playthings has become a rite of
passage. This often signifies the bittersweet end of a long journey, bringing
with it life-changing and inevitable conclusions… Vivid imaginations are now
effectively corralled, making room for the various realities and responsibilities
grown-ups must face.
Perhaps I am jaded, but if your toys are indeed used up and broken, common
sense dictates they must be thrown out. Especially if your name is Dr. Ruth !
In “Toy Story 3”, Andy (who was just a tiny kid in the first two installments)
is at a pivotal age, gettin’ ready to leave home for college. What mementos
of his childhood should he take with him ?
He only has so much room in his car, and almost half of that is already spoken
for due to large amounts of acne cream. Not to mention his humongous stash
of “Twilight” books and merchandise… (Don’t tell his mom, she worries enough
about him already). She thinks “Team Edward” has something to do with the
Andy has sadly forgotten about his old pal “Woody” (voiced by Forrest Gump)
and his spaced-out companion “Buzz Lightyear” (voiced by Santa Claus). The
cowboy and astronaut duo are actually toys that come to life when no one is
looking. Almost like “Night at the Museum”, except without Ben Stiller !
Unlike Ben, our college-bound student does not know about the secret life his
action figures have been living… If he did, he probably would not have stored
them in a dark chest for several years . And they sure as heck wouldn’t have
wound up inside a trash bag (as they do) headin’ for a permanent residency
amid the attic rafters !
Wait… Did You Just Say I Look Like “Justin Bieber” ?
Yes, the horrible attic… A mausoleum of memories, where yesteryear’s dusty
remnants are hidden away from sunlight ! (It’s merely purgatory for Christmas
decorations and plastic pumpkins). Andy’s friends do their best to keep a stiff
upper lip, all while dreading an impending journey upstairs.
Following some crazy mixups, the toys find themselves out on a curb as trash !
Woody is spared, but Buzz and a few other notable characters are now in quite
a pickle. Our favorites from the prior “Toy Story” instalments (such as yodeling
cowgirl “Jessie” and “Mr. Potato Head”) are now virtually enshrouded with black
plastic, sitting next to smelly garbage. Let me just say… That’s harsh.
Admittedly, this stuff was really tugging at my heartstrings. If you thought the
first few minutes of “Up” were tragic, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Sure, dead old
ladies make for sad scenarios. But before watching our loved ones get wrinkles,
there is that moment when we feel we are too “cool” to actually sit on the floor
and play with dolls or “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.
This movie manages to convey the wide range of emotions associated with such
transitions in a subtle manner. Shown from the toys’ vantage point, abandoning
most vestiges of youth is sure to resonate with audiences everywhere. We can
all understand the anguish !
As luck would have it, Andy’s perplexed pals are spared the garbage truck fate.
They are instead sent over to the daycare center… FROM HELL !!! Things will
never go over easy if you are a good egg at “Sunnyside” ! Rogue toys rule the
roost, locking up nice playthings and then offering them as sacrifices to rowdy,
Borrowing heavily from “Prison Break” (and maybe even “The Green Mile”), this
flick becomes intense as our heroes plan their escape… I think someone gets
shanked. Romance and intrigue come into the equation as new alliances form.
Careful There… She’s Just Trying To Push Your Buttons !
Jessie and Buzz get rather cozy !!! But what happens with “Barbie” and “Ken”
is nothing short of disturbing. Barbie is on board for the adventure (voiced by
Jennifer Tilly) with sinister intentions. Her ex-boyfriend Ken has been dead for
many years, yet she’s got a plan to resurrect the murderous fiend !
After reading a few chapters in the book “Voodoo for Dummies”, Barbie starts
her candlelit ritual. Wearing a vile amulet known as “The Heart of Damballa”,
she chants “Give me the power, I beg of you!”
At first, there is nothing… Then, while a storm rages on outside, Ken comes
back from beyond the grave !!! This bloodthirsty beast is actually housing
the soul of serial killer “Charles Lee Ray”, and… Um… Whoops ! I think I’ve
made an error. (“Bride of Chucky” was on TV last night) ! Sorry. OK, back
to the subject at hand…
Ken and Barbie are fairly decent dolls trying to help Woody’s gang get away
from Sunnyside. There are despicable toys though, in the form of a plump
bear named “Lotso” and an ominous octopus they call “Stretch” !!! Whoopi
Goldberg is wonderful as Stretch (who happens to be the color purple) !
By the end of this mesmerizing tale, a tear ran down my left cheek. I don’t
make it a habit of crying during movies… But man, I carry some GUILT with
me regarding what happened to my toy collection. When I was a teenager
I thought there was no harm in abusing my former playthings. No one told
me they were alive !
In retrospect, I did hear some muffled screaming after I buried my “Bionic
Man” figure in the backyard… Chalked it up to an overactive imagination.
The worst crime ever committed against my childhood comrades was with
two “Star Wars” figures. “Princess Leia” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” !
If you saw the film “Splice”, you might get a kick out of this… I took off
Obi-Wan’s head and put it on Princess Leia’s body. Poor things ! An old
dude’s noggin on a cute girl’s frame. Facial hair and all !!! Well, looking
at Carrie Fisher these days, there is a rather striking resemblance.
Andy’s toys fare much better in Pixar’s latest masterpiece. Everything’s
coming around full circle in our character’s saga… Thankfully, they stay
true to themselves while being showcased in glorious 3D !!! It’s a blast
seeing just how far they’ve come.
Worthy of the Buzz being generated, “Toy Story 3” is enchanting fun !
Would I Recommend This ? Yes
Daniel’s Critical Rating: “9” out of “10”