Due to technical problems here in South Africa, I’ve been unable to access wordpress for weeks. Tonight is the 1st time I’ve been able to for some time. I hope I’ll be able to re-post again very soon, but if not then the reason for silence is technical…
There’s a truism often quoted that tragedy is more interesting than comedy, that villains are more attractive to the audience than good guys, that there’s more to say about evil than there is about good. That may be, and it doesn’t do justice to the nature of story-telling; maybe that will remain true on one level while we live in a fallen world, when there’s just so much bad stuff to talk about it. Whatever the truth of that is, it remains a fact to say that there’s not a great deal to say about a more or less perfect trilogy of films.
In terms of films that have a made a major impact on popular culture, there isn’t a trilogy of films as perfect as the Toy Story films. The Lord Of The Rings trilogy have their flaws, but their greatness as well as their significance transcend those flaws and are somehow enhanced by them. No-one’s going to pretend either Star Wars trilogy is in any way great, but their impact on culture is undoubted. The three Toy Story films, however, are clearly in a different league – they are as indelible in their impact on the story we find ourselves in as they are perfect in their composition and the viewing experience they provide. Some of us – most of them, like me, without children, had forgotten in the time lag between parts 2 and 3 quire how good the films they are. Within 5 minutes of the new film starting, you’ve remembered and you’re swept up.
Of course, it is as close to perfect as one can imagine. Close, and not perfect not leas because the 3D element while not distracting is unnecessary. What it does is break an illusion of innocence and remind you that this remains a machine aimed at profit, with all the outside the cinema tasteless tie-ins we might expect. There si little other than that to say. It just is. Yes, it’s moving. More so, I suspect if you have children – the sense of growing up, leaving home and moving that lies at the film’s heart is naturally a very tangible one for those who have grown up with these films and now have children of their own. But it’s also about phases of life in general – so if your parents are aging, your job changing (or going), your friends marrying and you’re not – then this will speak to you and provoke your tear ducts.
In the end, though, simply this: whatever your age or stage or experience of life, together Toy Stories 1, 2 and 3 achieve a perfection that is rare. Depending on your tastes, other films may take deeper root in your heart. That’s personal taste. In its way though, quality remains unqualified.