Month: October 2009

The Problems with 3D Movies/Toy Story 3D Double Feature Review

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The visceral thrill of a film is very important when concerning actions, thrillers, horror movies, westerns, etc. Almost any genre, you will find that visceral experience like no other. Whether it be head turning in The Exorcist, mind blowing like in The Dark Knight, a whirling feeling only experienced when running like in Casino Royale, that visceral thrill can make or break a movie. In terms of critics and box office. And that is where producers do their worst. They have the strange need to think to themselves “That would look great in 3-D, wouldn’t it?” Well, movies seldom ever do. They’re a ridiculous gimmick that comes back every twenty or thirty years. It was popular in the 1950s with horror movies, utilizing the new technology in Creature from the Black Lagoon, House of Wax, and Thirteen Ghosts. It came back in the 1970s and ‘80s again, with horror movies, but this time, a cut below the rest. Friday the 13th Part 3-D. Amityville 3-D. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (had one 3D sequence that was about 10 minutes long).

And it’s come back yet again, only to make horror movies worse than before, to make animated films too kiddy, and to make mainstream action films seem, if possible, dumber. It’s been used in very recent releases. As recent as say, I don’t know, two weeks ago. Pixar Animation Studios released Up in 3D, about which Pixar head John Lasseter said: “3D is a fun toy but is essentially useless.” He is right. It can, however, be used in a very good way. With films like Monsters vs. Aliens, My Bloody Valentine 3D, The Final Destination 3D, and countless other being released in digital 3D, Pixar is actually doing something right.

The classic animated film Toy Story and its equally fantastic sequel was released a s a double feature recently to get audiences ready for the 3-D release of Toy Story 3, due out in June 2010. How did they do? Well, exceptionally well they did.

You should know the story already, if not be able to quote the entire film (which the monks behind us were doing…for both films), but let’s recap. In the first film, released in 1995, Woody (two time Oscar winner Tom Hanks) is the presiding toy over Andy’s many “child’s play things” and when Andy gets a new space action figure called Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) he gets jealous. Very jealous. Jealous enough to plot against him. The two end up at a masochistic kid’s house and have to work together to survive. The original storyline was so dislikable that Disney didn’t even want to produce it. Thank goodness they rewrote the script.

In the second film, Woody’s arm gets ripped a little, and when mistaken as a sale item in a tag sale, is toy napped by a greedy toy store owner named Carl. It turns out Woody is part of a huge franchise along with a trusty horse, a cowgirl named Jessie (Joan Cusack), and the Prospector (Kelsey Grammar).

The 3D was surprisingly well used. Instead of the recent animated releases making the 3D jump out as far in front of your face as possible, the 3D was used to accentuate characters features, to deep the darkness, and to make the depth of scenery look more realistic. And I’m proud to say the succeeded. However, at what cost? Because there isn’t really anything new to view in the film, it’s best to see if you’re fond of memories from your childhood and haven’t seen it since it was released nearly 15 years ago. The glasses add to the cost of the ticket, so I ended up paying $12.75. If you already have the DVDs, however, stay home and enjoy it on your own big screen. Certainly classic films and wonderful plotline. Sarah McLachlan’s performance of the Oscar nominated song “When Somebody Loved Me” is as heart breaking as ever.

Three dimensions that are used efficiently and not gimmicky. Two awesome movies. One good time. And one heck of an expensive ticket.

Toy Story: A+

Toy Story 2: A+

3D: A