Review: Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D
PLOT: Disney and Pixar started a very beautiful (yet sometimes rocky) relationship way back with a little movie called TOY STORY. It was a story about toys… specifically, a boy named Andy’s toys. You see, his favorite, a little cowboy doll named Woody is starting to get replaced by another, more expensive doll named Buzz Lightyear. But the trick is, these toys are alive when the humans aren’t watching. The Toy Story films were early indications that Pixar would become the monumental name that it is now. And for the first time ever, you can watch the first two Toy Story films in the glory of 3D with a fun intermission for all you trivia buffs. It’s a theatrical double feature that goes to infinite and beyond!
When TOY STORY was released in 1995, it was met not only with critical praise, but audiences loved it. Pixar’s animation was beautiful, bold and exciting. But it wasn’t simply a good looking animated movie, it was also a wonderful script with a story that not only pleased the young, but also the young at heart. In fact, the original film was so popular that in 1999, TOY STORY 2 once again delighted critics and audiences. It was the birth of a new and exciting company that continues to make classic after classic. And after fourteen years, in preparation for a brand new sequel, Pixar has revived the first two films in a two week theatrical release. That alone would be worth checking out for an even younger generation, but the fact that they are being released as a double feature, in 3D is an exciting way to revisit Woody, Buzz Lightyear and all the other toys.
When I sat back to watch these gorgeous films, it was easy to get excited as the new 3D element was really quite magical. Sure these films worked back in the day without the new technology, but when Buzz Lightyear goes “falling with style” around Andy’s room, it looked better than you can imagine. In fact, this new RealD version of the Toy Story films feels just as alive and relevant as it did upon its original release. In many ways, it felt more relevant. Many times, the 3D versions of animated features are sometimes better in just plain old 2D as it really doesn’t add to the experience, that is not the case here. The eye-popping effects burst off the screen and really seem to bring out a sense of fun in a story about a young boys toys coming to life. After all, theatre chains are still desperate to bring in audiences to enjoy the complete movie going experience, and this is certainly one way to do it. Especially since it is two movies for a single admission, and a fun intermission filled with trivia and all sorts of Toy Story goodness.
When it comes to the films, I have to say that they really do hold up remarkably well. Toy Story was very unique. It was nice to see the kind of friendships that are explored in the films. From Woody (Tom Hanks) to Buzz (Tim Allen), all the way to the young boy Andy (John Morris) who is like every other kid who loves a toy one minute, and is ready to move on to another the next. I really enjoyed the original film. There was just he right amount of humor and even the slightest bit of drama. There was definitely a precursor to the later Pixar films as there are some serious subjects explored here. The most heartbreaking includes a bunch of toys that have been twisted beyond recognition by one mean little boy named Sid (Erik von Detten). The only thing that really changed from my first viewing of this film so long ago, to seeing it today, is that it seemed much darker in 1995. The misfit toys are both inspiring and sad, but not quite as dark as some of the recent Pixar fare.
As for Toy Story 2, I wasn’t as much of a fan as I was of the first one. I remember seeing it the first time and thinking it didn’t have near the heart or the humor of the first. It felt like an endless chase after another and I wasn’t a huge fan of the plot. Yet even then, who wouldn’t feel a little bit of heartbreak when Sarah McLachlan sang “When Somebody Loves You”? Yep, it brought a tear or two to my eyes. But I have to admit, seeing this baby in 3D made for a much more satisfying experience. While it still falls short of the original, and the villain is kind of weak as opposed to that bratty kid Sid who destroyed toys in the first, it was still fun. Watching it again made me hope for even more talking toy fun when part three comes our way. But I think the basic idea of toys having this sort of longing to be loved and such is a really good one and Toy Story (and even Toy Story 2) hold up very well in this classic double feature.
Now for the bad news. If you are a parent, and you are hoping to relive the magic of both films with your kids, be careful, this is a long event. For some children, sitting in a theatre for merely an hour and a half might be a little painful, imagine three hours plus. Sure they have an intermission, but they may actually want to stay for that… I got at least half the trivia correct, a paled in comparison to the young tykes that surrounded me! But seriously, if you have a mini van full of children and are looking for some movie magic, you’d better hope that everybody really loves their Toy Story! Or else just check out the first one and wait for the special 3D version of Part 2 on DVD. My rating 9/10 -- JimmyO