Friday, December 11, 2009

Movies! - "You've got a friend in me."

I had a hard time deciding whether to write today's entry on the first or second Toy Story, so I figured that I'd just give you double your money's worth and write about the two of them. They are on my mind because there's a third installment coming, and I really hope that Pixar doesn't break it's very long success streak. (While I like some of their films more than others, there isn't a single one that I dislike - or don't own.) I've been tempted to watch them again, but once you see a Pixar movie in Blu-ray, it's pretty hard to think of watching it on DVD, which is all that I have right now. Supposedly the Blu-ray discs will come out in March, so I'm going to have to wait.

I've explained before that I don't really distinguish between movies for kids and adults, at least not when it comes to what I'll watch. My standards don't really change all that much; it's just that I am able to judge the film based on what it's trying to do and how successful it is at doing that. With that said, both Toy Story films rank as some of my favorites.

I suppose that I can defend them on an objective level, and I'd be in pretty good company as they have really high scores with the critics. We'll see if I get to that, but for me they resonate me on a very personal level as well. The reason why is that growing up, I always really loved my toys. I know that every kid does, but I probably played with my action figures for a much longer time than most of my peers. I think that I finally stopped playing with all my Star Wars/Transformers/GI JOE figures when I was a freshman in high school.

For me, it was always a really drawn-out affair. I would set them up and take over a couple of rooms in the house. I had elaborate storylines, and I would make the toys argue and pontificate just as much as I would make them fight. I was acting out my imagination, and I have to be honest with you, sometimes I still wish that I could do this. It was always very cathartic, and it was certainly a more healthy outlet for me than what a lot of other kids engage in. Don't get me wrong, I'd feel pretty silly if I tried - even if nobody was around to see me.

I should probably point out that I still have a lot of my toys. It was hard, but I finally got rid of a lot of my Star Wars toys just a year or two ago. I did, however, keep all the action figures. I also have a lot of action figures that I collected when I was in college and in my early twenties. I probably average a new action figure every two years, as I still like to have them around the house. The last one I got was a Raiders of the Lost Ark Indiana Jones figure, as I always wanted an Indy when I was a kid. I'd probably would still be getting action figures if it wasn't for the fact that I have neither an unlimited amount of money nor an infinite amount of space in my house.

Anyway, you can probably see why these films would mean so much to me. Aside from that, they're both really great examples of solid storytelling. They have compelling characters and plots along with some fun dialogue. Most importantly, they're both about something that goes a bit deeper than the surface. The first one is primarily about friendship and how to deal with the feeling of being replaced. Who can't relate to that on some level? The second one is even deeper, as it deals with the one thing that every human has ever struggled with - the uncertainty of what will come with adulthood.

I've only seen the short preview of the third film, and it looks to be a natural progression of the ideas that were introduced in the first two films. By this point, the characters have already won me over, so I'm already invested in what will happen to them. I just hope that it can go somewhere interesting now that Andy will be all grown up and off to college.

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