It's a pretty safe bet to say that Pixar is the best movie production company in the world. Yes, it's the preeminent and currently the most profitable, animated film company in the world, but, in terms of companies that make movies of any kind, Pixar reigns supreme. It creates great characters in interesting plots and features great vocal work from stars like Tom Hanks and Don Rickles. Even for a movie like Toy Story 3, which isn't Pixar's best work, it is still better by infinity and beyond most of the major Hollywood productions that have come out since Pixar's last release Up, and this includes the mighty Avatar.
Because the last two Toy Story movies were wildly successful, as were all of Pixar's now 11 feature films, people know the premise here. All the toys in this movie are alive and only pretend to be inanimate objects when humans are around, and, all toys want nothing more than to have a child play with them. The problem this time is what happens when that child grows up and doesn't want to play with the toys any more. What do the toys do?
I guess one could say, if the toys are alive and only pretend to be inanimate when humans are around, then all toys have to do is stop pretending and show the humans what they can really do. Yet, instead of tackling that kind of realism, the filmmakers open this picture with a very fun, energetic, and quite silly imagination sequence. A little boy alone in his room uses his imagination to take him from his safe suburban home to a speeding train overrun with talking potatoes to aboard a spaceship in the shape of a piggy bank. Yet, the imagination sequence, while brilliant, proves that the filmmakers only want the toys to be alive in that little boy's head.
The boy doesn't know the truth about what his toys can do when he's not in the room. Why don't the toys just tell him or rather show him the truth? I suppose if that happened, then that would open the movie up to questions the filmmakers dare not answer like how and why are the toys able to move on their own? Is it mystical, magical, or by some sciene-fiction means? No, the filmmakers don't want to go there.
It's understandable. The filmmakers have more on their plates. They have toys with serious abandonment issues with which to contend. I wouldn't exactly call these toys neurotic, but their constant need for attention and having children play with them is borderline pathological. Yet, through the adventure, which leads the toys not only to infinity and beyond, but to daycare centers and to dire straits, in the end, the film reinforces the idea of friendships and negates the rather playful co-dependence, which probably only I saw.
This film could be seen as being about letting go. The toys have to learn to let go and move on. The original little boy who played with the toys and then grew up, also has to learn to let go and move on... to college. This movie is in a way all about breaking up. When you're in a relationship, sometimes, even though you love the person, sometimes it becomes necessary to part. For some it's easy to do. For others it's difficult. What happens when you see someone you love showing love to someone else? How do you deal with those sad and often jealous feelings? As strange as it is, this movie deals with that, but does so using Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, as well as a talking teddy bear.
Day & Night is the short film tha precedes Toy Story 3. It is perhaps a hundred times more imaginative and wildly more entertaining than its feature, as well as being very intriguing, and yet it's so simple. If the daytime had a personality, what would it do? If the night-time had a personality, what would it do? If they had shapes and forms, what would they be? Yes, it's a short film by Pixar but it looks so much unlike anything they've done, including Pixar's last short, Partly Cloudy. Nevertheless, it's thoroughly enjoyable.
Four Stars out of Five Rated G for All Audiences Running Time: 1 hr. and 43 mins.