Friday, August 27, 2010

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 / Toy Story 3. USA (c) 2010 Disney / Pixar. P: Darla K. Anderson, John Lasseter. D: Lee Unkrich. SC: Michael Arndt - story: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich. Disney Digital 3D. Animation dept big. Visual Effects dept big. Computer dept big. Sound dept. big. M: Randy Newman. ED: Ken Schretzmann. Voice cast: Tom Hanks/Antti Pääkkönen (Woody), Tim Allen/Santeri Kinnunen (Buzz Lightyear), Joan Cusack/Nina Tapio (Jessie), Don Rickles/Pekka Autiovuori (Mr. Potato Head / Herra Perunapää), Blake Clark/Jarmo Koski (Slinky), Wallace Shawn/Mikko Kivinen (Rex), John Ratzenberger/Petteri Summanen (Hamm / Röh), Estelle Harris/Maija-Liisa Peuhu (Mrs. Potato Head / Rouva Perunapää), Jeff Pidgeon/Antti Pääkkönen (Aliens / Vihreät alienit), Jodi Benson/Krisse Salminen (Barbie), Michael Keaton/Eppu Salminen (Ken), Ned Beatty/Markku Huhtamo (Lotso / Tuhti-karhu). 104 min. Released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Finland in both a Finnish-spoken version and in an original version with subtitles. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 2, Helsinki, XpanD 3D, in the Finnish-spoken version, 27 Aug 2010 (day of Finnish premiere).

I went to see Toy Story 3 tuned by excellent word-of-mouth. I had found the original Toy Story a masterpiece and have been aware that Toy Story 2 is considered even better (I have yet to see it).

Toy Story 3 is the story of the end of childhood. Andy goes to college and it is time to pack the toys away. They are meant to be taken to the attic, but are instead taken to Sunnyside Daycare, where they are treated terribly. The great escape brings them literally to the inferno: to the mouth of the furnace of the junkyard. After a last minute rescue they find a new home with little Bonnie.

First-rate animation, solid story construction, and interesting "characterization" in a movie full of wit and deeper implications on big themes such as consumer culture, short attention spans, and wear-and-tear attitudes. Toys are indicators and barometers of the children who play with them.

In the Toy Story films there is an understanding of children's play that brings to mind classic treatises such as Yrjö Hirn's Barnlek / Leikkiä ja taidetta [Children's Play / Play and Art, 1916]. Hirn claimed that beyond children's games and toys there is a serious, courtly, dignified, and even sacred background which can be traced back to very old forms of culture. Hirn is fascinated by the fact that children's games are similar in all, even totally different forms of culture and that they have an atavistic, secret quality that has a serious aspect although they are "just play". Hirn examines classic toys such as Noah's Ark, le bilboquet, les pantins, diabolo, the drum, the bow, the rattle, le marotte, crepundia, masks, the jack-in-the-box, and dolls, with special attention to spinning tops, balls, and kites. (For example the origin of the kite is in ancient Chinese ritual, where the kite was the means to reach transcendence.) Most of Hirn's study is dedicated to children's dances, songs, puppets, puppet shows, Kasperle, shadowplays, and the circus. I'm sure he would have loved the Toy Story series.

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