Everybody is in love with Toy Story 3. I haven’t seen it yet. (Nor have I seen Shrek 4, the Joan Rivers documentary.)
People and critics alike are going wild. A.O. raved, New York Magazine ran a piece called “Just How Much Will Toy Story 3 Make You Cry?” and The Wrap asked (and answered) “Has Anyone Come Close to Pixar’s 11-Peat?”
The picture’s critical and commercial success is a bittersweet reminder that, no matter how bleak it may get (and boy, does it get bleak), Hollywood still works. Sweet because it’s nice to be in love; bitter because love is hard. For it is written, “Falling in love again / Never wanted to / What am I to do? / I can’t help it.”
It’s been a while since I loved this way, since I met a filmmaker, or in this case, studio, that I really felt I could settle down with. Remember Miramax? Remember Canal Plus (the old Canal Plus)? And remember, long, long before that, when Uncle Louis B. Mayer gave us The Freed Unit? That was the best Christmas ever – and it went on for twenty Technicolor years.
We love to talk about auteurs in terms of people, of single creative individuals who shape a film’s sensibility, but Pixar (and Freed and Weinstein and others) are just as worthy of the label. Commanding whole armies of brilliant artists, from writers to costumers to composers to actors, these generals of showbiz – formerly the kings of Hollywood – are now a dying breed. Corporate film is the new auteur, and though it may take many forms (like The Thing in The Thing) its mutations are perverse emulations, like when you go to Vons and buy “Cola” instead of “Coca Cola.” For it is written, “It is for all time or simply a lark? / Is it Granada I see or only Asbury Park? / Is it a fancy, not worth thinking of? / Or is it at long last love?”
So keep up the good work over there. You may be our last hope.
P.S. I’m not sure cinema gets better than those first, silent minutes of Wall-E.