This movie is going to do insane business. I just got out of the midnight showing, which was packed. 4 theaters at the AMC30 in Olathe here in KC, and every one sold out.
The intro to the film and through the middle is a bit slow, and I would consider it a lesser vehicle then Toy Story 2, which I put as one of my top films of all time.
But from about the middle on, this film rolls. Great references to other films, cute asides.. and the moment Barbie expouses John Locke (the US political kind, not LOST) I laughed hard.
But it's the end of the film that has real, incredible punch. I will put spoilers here.
As the toys believe they are going into the incenerator, they turn to each other to find comfort and hold hands. A high school girl next to me broke down in tears, and I admit, it was incredibly difficult scene, but so well played. With no language, just nuance, the characters signal each other that they found comfort in their friendship. And as Woody struggled, and then stopped.. instead, turning to the comfort of his friends, and an outstretched hand.. jeez. There were very few dry eyes around me.
But for that, it was the very end that sold this film. While I love Wall-E, Wall-E had a sensational beginning and a fair end. Up! is maybe the most solid Pixar effort from beginning to end. But TS3 has one of the most emotionally powerful endings I have ever seen in any film.
As Andy walks into the playground of a small girl, he invites her to play with his toys.. his friends. And he asks for her to care for them, and to love them, because he had. But it wasn't just that, he sat and shared his imagination with her and encouraged her to imagine and play. And while she approached scared at first, as they played and shared, he knew he had found them a good home. It was time for him to grow up, but part of him is who he was because of his imagination as a small kid, and he was trying to share that with someone else.
That sequence packed such a wallop that outside of quiet in the theater, there were TONS of sobs. Outside of Schindler's List, I don't remember any film getting that many people outright crying.
I have always said this for a film: A good film will make you laugh, or cry, or think. It will make you root for someone, and you'll think about it later. A great film hits all those bases. TS3 had some great laugh out loud moments. It had some moments that are the kind of thing that will bring a parent or kid to tears. And it makes you think about all the memories you had as a kid, and whether or not you are passing those memories and that imagination on to someone else.
This may not be the perfect pixar film. And it doesn't surpass TS2 in my mind, but when I first heard TS3, I was very afraid this would wreck an amazing franchise. I can say now: absolutely not. This is a great film. A home run of a film. I don't know if I will see a better film this summer. And the end sequence of this film - the last 10 minutes, may classify as one of the most heart wrenching moments ever - it's both joyous and sad at the same time. It's hard to explain how they can pull something off so difficult; how one character can be going through something so sad in a way, and another so joyous, and yet you know it's for the best for all, and both characters are better for it.
Other animation studios, again, I challenge you to this: Pixar isn't making films geared at a tale that sucks parents and kids in. Instead, they focus on a story that remains timeless.
If you had reservations, I'd say: screw it. Go. Now. Immediately. Get a good seat.
I watched in Imax 3D. To be honest, I didn't notice the 3D effect at all. So maybe it was minimal. Or maybe it's because I was too involved in the story to care.