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Review: Toy Story 3 by Jamie

Right. This is a spoiler free review.

15 years ago, the first fully CGI animated film was released by Pixar. That film was, of course, Toy Story.. It introduced us to a cast of characters who, despite being made of plastic, had an emotional range equal or greater than many actors who have graced the silver screen. And far, far more emotional range than Keanu Reeves. It was a great film as was the second which came out in 1999. A good time was had by all.

Personally, I was 10 or 11 when the first Toy Story film came out. It’s hard to pin down exactly which because of the great difference in release dates between the UK and the US, especially with Pixar films and especially back then. Still even though I wasn’t exactly a little kid I still kind of grew up with the Toy Story films and, even though I’m always a little cautious with sequels, especially ones with the number three in the title, I was looking forward to Toy Story 3. So was my anticipation rewarded with the kind of joy akin to receiving a Castle Grayskull on Christmas Day or was my hope dashed to pieces like so many ruined LEGO creations?

The answer, of course, is rewarded. Toy Story 3 is seriously the best film to come out this year (Still haven’t seen Inception yet but even that will have to work hard to top this) and admittedly that’s not saying much given the turgid shit that this summer seems to have served us up so let me go one step further. Toy Story 3 is one of the best films this decade… Wait, that doesn’t work either what with this being the first year of the decade… Fuck it, Toy Story 3 is really, really good, alright.

I’m not gonna do one of my normal, long winded synopsises because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Everyone should see this film and they should see it knowing as little as possible about it. So I’ll just summarise a few things that everyone should probably already know. It’s a good few years after Toy Story 2 and Andy is 17 and is getting ready to leave for college. In the confusion of his packing, moving things to the attic and moving other things to the trash, his old toys get donated to a local daycare. They find life isn’t as awesome there as they might have hoped and so they decide to try and escape and make their way back to Andy.

There, synopsis over. Let’s get to the substance. There is so much going on in this film and yet it plays out in a beautifully simple way. It touches on themes of loyalty, love, friendship, family and learning to let go and it all seems as though Pixar where taking a massive risk taking the franchise in this direction. They could have done another film set when Andy is young and it all would have been very safe and familiar and I think the first idea for this film would have been like that with some kind of recall for Buzz Lightyear figures put into effect or something. Thankfully someone came up with this idea and thankfully Pixar doesn’t shy away from risks.

Perhaps first and foremost on the importance block is the fact that the film was funny. I mean really funny. There were scenes were the whole cinema was filled with raucous laughter, in particular a certain situation involving Mr. Potato Head and when Buzz is accidentally set to a Spanish mode (Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler, it was in the trailer.

Still, the character with the most consistently funny scenes is Ken (Michael Keaton) who I was surprised was actually in the film as much as he is. I remember seeing the clip of him and Barbie meeting in either a trailer or a preview clip online and thought that would be it, he would be there for that one joke. Thankfully he’s not and he is awesome. He is ridiculously camp, obsessed with fashion and just basically seems to have the kind of personality that a male toy from a girls toy line would probably have.

The villain of the piece shows up in the cuddly bear form of Lotso (Ned Beatty) a toy who certainly has some issues with abandonment. He is aided in his dominance of the Daycare by Big Baby, a baby doll who appears in one of the creepiest and bizarre moments of the films. I won’t give it away but I’ll just say it involves a swing and it is awesome.

Speaking of terrifying, Jesus fucking Christ, one of those creepy fucking cymbal monkeys is in here as well, his unblinking eye always watching for any escapees, his cymbals and horrible monkey screeches acting as an alarm. He also posses one of those rictus grins that those little bastards always have. Ugh, but still awesome.

Speaking even more of terrifying, there is a scene near the end that is actually pretty goddamn horrific considering the film is a U. But it is also this scene which has perhaps the second most heart-wrenching moment in the entire film, just watching the toys come together as a family and the way that they deal with what is about to happen to them. I have no shame in saying that I was crying at that moment and also genuinely scared for the characters.

The biggest heart-wrenching moment is, however, the ending. Seriously if you don’t cry during that scene then you are an inhuman monster, devoid of emotion, incapable of empathy and we should probably lock you away before we find a bunch of dead hookers buried under the patio in your garden. You sicken me.

Hmm, I don’t like this whole writing without spoilers thing. It constrains me too much. Still, you honestly just have to see this and I would hate myself if I ruined any of it for you.

Now, is there anything really that bad to say about the film? Well, not much actually. There is the occasional bit where the film seems to drag on a little but these moments are few and far between and quickly forgotten when things get going again. There’s also the feeling that some of the plots threads are recycled from the previous two films and the idea of a prison break style plot isn’t exactly massively original but it all seems easily forgivable given what the filmmakers do with everything they have at their disposal.

So to summarise, Toy Story 3 will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you nostalgic for your own childhood and your own toys. It has references to Jurassic Park, Cool Hand Luke and the original Toy Story with a cameo from Sid. Hell, it even has Timothy Dalton playing a thespian stuffed hedgehog.

Most importantly it is the ending to a great trilogy of films (Hopefully at least. The biggest mistake Pixar could make is deciding to green light a Toy Story 4), a trilogy 15 years in the making. For many of us that’s a substantial part of our lives, certainly over half of mine. We’ve travelled along way and for a long time with these characters, we’ve seen them lose their way and redeem themselves. We’ve seen them grow closer as friends and as a family. Finally we’ve seen the end of their story and, even though they are only toys, it’s one of the most emotional and human endings to any film series I have ever seen. Five pints out of five. Laterz.



Review: The Princess Bride aka Jamie Learns An Important Lesson About Not Judging A Film By It’s Title by Jamie

Generally with a film you can get a pretty good idea about what kind of film you’re going to get from the title. ‘Jurassic Park’ for example. That title may not tell you the intricacies of the plot but you can get a pretty good idea that dinosaurs are going to be in it. That’s awesome. Everyone knows dinosaurs are the greatest thing that ever happened ever. Ever. Or take the ‘Terminator’. That title may not exactly tell you that it’s a sci-fi film about a robot but it does tell you that there’s something that terminates things. On a side note robots are the second greatest thing. Combine robots and dinosaurs and you have something so pants-shittingly awesome that it can cause your eyes to bleed.

Please consult a doctor regarding the blood leaking from your eye sockets.

There exist, however, films that have what you might consider deceptive titles. Today we’re going to look at one of those films, ‘The Princess Bride’. You see what that title implies? It implies the girliest film that mankind has ever created. It has the word ‘Bride’ and the word ‘Princess’. Neither of these words suggest a film that a young boy or a manly, masculine man such as myself would want to watch. So I spent years avoiding this film. Throughout those years I’ve had people come and tell me that it’s a great film and yet I resisted, probably because most of the people who told me that were women of the female variety. You know, the ones with the breasts and things. This did nothing to persuade me that this was a film that a tough, testosterone-filled male like me would want to watch. My God, I’m Manly.

Then one day, I just relented. I bought the bullet and just decided to watch the damn thing. After all it was only an hour and a half long so what did I really have to lose?

So how did I get on with it? Well, I will admit I fucking loved this movie. It was so ridiculously awesome that I barely know where to begin. I don’t really want to give any of the plot away because I’m sure that there are other powerful, virile chaps like me out there who also haven’t seen this film based simply on the title. What I will say to you my manly brethren is just ignore the title or, as a friend suggested, imagine a new title for it. I found his suggestion of ‘Quipping Gents With Swords Go Adventuring’ most apt.

So what can I say about this film without revealing nothing about the plot? Well, I can tell you about the fucking incredible cast. We’ve got Cary Elwes as Wesley, the main gent with a sword, Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, the quipping Spanish gent with one of the most quotable lines in movie history, Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck, a right royal prick, The 5th Baron of Saling Christopher Guest as the sadistic Count Rugen who has one of my favourite lines ever uttered in a movie (“Have you been chasing me your whole life only to fail now? I think that’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard… How marvellous), Wallace Shawn as the too clever for his own good Sicilian Vizzini, Fred Savage as The Grandson, Peter ‘Fucking Columbo’ Falk as The Grandfather (The character names for these two make much more sense when you watch the film), Peter Cook as The Impressive Glergyman, Mel Smith as Rugen’s torture assitant The Albino, Robin Wright as the titular Princess Bride, Billy Crystal as the fucking hilarious Miracle Max and Andre The Fucking Giant as Fezzik. Yes, Andre The Giant. Can’t understand a fucking word he says but it’s just awesome to see him in this film.

The film is directed by Rob Reiner, yes the same Rob Reiner who brought us possibly the single greatest comedy film of all time, Spinal Tap and this film has a slightly similar feel to that hallowed work. The humour that pervades it does parody the entire fantasy genre somewhat but the comedy works in parallel with the story much in the same way that the comedy in Spinal Tap parodied 80s metal bands whilst still having a coherent plot. Well done Rob Reiner, I applaud you… or at least I would if I weren’t typing.

Go back up and look at that cast. Every single performance in this film is golden and it’s hard not to when you have a cast like that. Even Cary Elwes who have issues with (I really don’t like the first Saw film) is incredible and some of the physical comedy he pulls off towards the end of the film is truly a joy to watch. As I said before the only bad part of the film is Andre The Giant’s incomprehensibility but you kind of let it slide because you’re watching a fantasy film with Andre The Goddamned Giant in it! It’s brilliant.

There’s really not much else I can say about this film. It’s so good that I actually hate myself a little bit for not having watched it earlier. What a fool I was! So if you haven’t watched it for fear of having your masculinity compromised then get over yourself you prick! And if you have seen it but haven’t watched it for a while then dig it up and give it another watch. You know you want to. Five pints out of five. Laterz.




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