I didn’t exactly have the highest of hopes when I stepped into the movie theatre to catch Toy Story 3 in 3D. I figured it was going to be another less than impressive sequel that is simply capitalizing on its existing brand. As it turns out, I was wrong and I was quite pleasantly surprised.
While I still wouldn’t put it on the top tier of animated films like Pixar’s Up, Toy Story 3 actually offers an endearing storyline, clever interactions, and more than a few moments that tug at your heartstrings. In it, Andy is all grown up and heading off to college. As such, he has to decide what to do with his toys, most of which have been neglected for years.
We follow the adventures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of the crew as they’re thrown into an “evil” daycare run by a disgruntled old teddy bear. They must learn how to escape and, even then, figure out what they can possibly do with themselves when they do. Toy Story really did kick off this whole 3D computer animation thing and it’s good to see that the series ends on a high note.
District 9 (2009)
The premise behind this “alien” movie sounded like a very clever one. These extra-terrestrials somehow find themselves in Johannesburg and the “kind” humans set up a temporary camp for them below the mothership. These temporary lodges, however, quickly turn into highly segregated slums and almost into internment camps.
It’s absolutely clear and obvious that District 9 is set up to be an allegory of sorts of the ingrained racism not only in South Africa, but all around the world. It’s meant to display the injustices, but also to show that these “aliens” are “people” too with friends, families and feelings.
I was half-expecting District 9 to be more of a typical man vs. alien war movie, but that’s not really what it is at all… because the aliens never really mount an offensive. Instead, it’s more about the tale of a man who gets infected, starts to transform, and has to come to grips with his new reality.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
There are a good number of treasured childhood fairy tales that we all know and most of us love the Disney incarnations of these stories. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, for example. They also did the same with Alice in Wonderland, but Tim Burton decided to do a “re-envisioning” of the project, casting Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.
The movie starts out feeling like the middle of a Jane Austen novel, but after Alice falls down the rabbit hole, we are treated to some absolutely amazing visuals with eye-popping colors and the somewhat frightening imagery characteristic of Johnny Depp. That’s the good thing. While he did just as good a job as a crazy hatmaker as he did in Public Enemies, the story itself is poorly executed.
What we get in the 2010 edition of Alice in Wonderland is disjointed, disconnected, and disappointing. We never really get a sense of why one thing or another thing is happening, but perhaps that’s the point of Wonderland: it doesn’t make sense.