Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Toy Story 3

Considering the fact that CGI has given Hollywood an even cheaper way than DIC enterprises and the like to furiously churn out more and more glut to dump into theaters everywhere, it's really sad that the public has to make do with something like Pixar, which continues to only remain average at best and yet succeeds simply because it's the only thing released that actually holds their attention throughout its entire running time. Still, you can understand Michael Eisner's having given Pixar a big push. Pixar's two major figureheads, Steve Jobs and John Lasseter, are both spoilt rich fat cats, are self-infatuated, and every bit as greedy and hungry for attention as he is: their movies, especially the Toy Story ones, are seen by advertisers as being major major godsends, because they allow lots of product placement opportunities that will allow them to sell lots and lots of toys. Pixar makes no bones about the fact that they see themselves as "hipper than thou" in the same way as such stuff as The Simpsons and The Family Guy, but even so, their sense of humor is slightly less obnoxious than much of the competition. And are they ever willing to play ball.

Eisner's gamble paid off big time. To this day, it has been impossible to get through a year without hearing some mention of Pixar, and their movies all rake in the moolah precisely as intended. Now, out of all of Pixar's films, I personally found Toy Story 2 to be the one with the most decent and straightforward script, even though it still followed all of their established formulas and hijinks right down to the letter. I wouldn't actually go out and buy it, but at least it's more watchable and better put together than the rest of their junk, especially the lousy A Bug's Life and the even worse Cars.

But whoever came up with the notion that "three's a charm" obviously never saw this latest offering, for there is precious little to be said for Toy Story 3, which is a horribly pessimistic plot concerning the toys being gotten rid of when college time finally arrives and comprises of a lot of wildly desperate attempts at humor and gags which were already all previously worn out in the late 80s after everyone else had gotten finished ripping them off or being "inspired by" the old Hanna-Barbera and Warner Brothers cartoons, and major major cameos of real toys as well as precious few new faces, each and every single detail marketing-ready to the max. This sort of thing all started with He-Man and The Masters of The Universe back in the mid-80s, and it's precisely the same old approach that we were all desperately trying to get rid of back then which turned nearly all of Saturday morning television and animated features into giant commercials/advertisements. Now and again, the Pixar company will attempt to touch on something remarkably tender for such a Cock Of The Walk, but their writers, a bunch of Groening and Kricfaluski wannabes, immediately and deliberately smother the brought-up subject matter with lots of "cool" humor to tell you how much they are above such a maneuver before you can savor the sentiments for very long.

In the end, I found Pixar's public utterances far more interesting that the actual movie itself. At one point I heard that Lasseter had supposed praised current new Disney kingpin Bob Igor for "staying true to the Eisner tradition" (when these guys play ball, hey, they play ball) and I once even ran into a Pixar cronie who remarked on how much he'd love to thank all the women all offering to sleep with him simply because he was with the company.

All in all, Pixar's latest film Toy Story 3, like all their other stuff, is in really about absolutely nothing whatever other than their constant quest for fame, power and money, money, money. Virtually every gag, every line, every character design and toy cameo and Oscar-seeking score in their arsenal feels strongly calculated to induce audiences everywhere to marvel and yell, "GOOOOO, PIXAR!!!" --and to spend more of their hard-earned money on Pixar product. In other words, Pixar releases are the Care Bears and My Little Pony movies with CGI and a wanna-be-trendy sense of humor.