Nov 24, 2010

[Review] Toy Story 3

Warning: This review contains spoilers.
Toy Story 3 is like the end of a 15-year relationship. It’s a good friend you know the ins-and-outs of, and, just like that, he’s gone. It’s extremely ironic considering the film itself is all about morality. Every Toy Story stands for major obstacles in life as experienced through the eyes of a young boy’s (then young man’s) toys. This new and final chapter is no different. It’s a beautiful farewell.
This time around, Andy ain’t no kid. He’s going to college and leaving most of his toys behind– admittedly, it’s a bit funny even at his age that he’s still got these old toys in his room, begging the question: did this kid really play with these toys when he was in high school? But that’s another topic all together. So, with Andy off to school it’s time for his toys to go. In the middle of taking them up to the attic for safe keeping, his mother mistakenly throws the bag in the trash.
Being the feisty toys that they are, the gang, still led by Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen), don’t end up in a random field of trash somewhere. Instead, they go somewhere far worse: day care. At first, everything seems great. They’re told they’ll be played with and loved again, but it all goes wrong when they realize they’re dealing with little toddlers from hell.
Woody escapes the day care to return to Andy, who’s decided to take Woody, and only Woody, to college. However, once he hears about the predicament the rest of the gang’s in, he’s forced choose himself or his friends. Of course, we know what decision he makes.
Plenty of new characters are introduced along the way and they’re just as great and as engaging as the main ensemble. Most notably Ken (terrificly voiced by Michael Keaton) and the slimy-but-understandable villain Lotso (Ned Beatty)
The story is more a less Prison Break, with toys. It’s an escape film and most likely one of the best escape films you’ll ever see. It’s still all the characters we’ve come to love and they’re still more-or-less the same. They’re smart and, most importantly, a team of friends.
They couldn’t have been introduced this time around in a better way either. It starts off with a rather hilarious story like the past films. It’s Andy telling a story with the toys except shown as if it’s actually happening instead of him just banging action figure together clumsily – it’s extremely imaginative, as to be expected from Pixar. The film kicks off quick and never stops running. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that no other film this summer will match the breakneck pacing found here. There’s never a dull moment, nor does it rush through plot points.
There’s a particular scene in the third act that deals with a trash incinerator that’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It’s a moment that puts the gang into near death and you really feel it. Yes, it’s a Pixar film and you know going in that none of them will destroyed or terribly harmed, but at this particular moment it takes you out of your element and it comes off as genuine danger. They do all that they can: stand by each other and hold onto one another. The moment they all grab hands puts the icing on the cake a.k.a. you cry like a baby if you’ve got any feelings in your body at all. They raise the stakes this time around and it’s for the better.
The biggest theme is how time passes and eventually we all face the end. And so do the ones we love. It’s very adult for an animated “kids” film, but it’s what to expect from Pixar. For anyone over eight and grasps the concept of death, the third act will hit like a ton of bricks.  it’ll hit you like a ton of bricks. All the moments of danger – such as the garbage incinerator sequence- make the nostalgic ending all the more beautiful. You couldn’t ask for a better ending.
Being a Pixar film, it’s as visually impressive as one would expect. Everything is wonderfully textured, nearly every shot pops and the 3D, never constrained by dimness. Similar to the film itself, it’s of great quality.
9 out of 10
What did you think of Toy Story 3?

Nov 9, 2010

Classic Art Gets a High-Tech Show

Fine art has always been just a bit mysterious. Not only is the skill needed to create such masterpieces beyond most of us, but the vast majority of us will never get to see the world’s greatest artworks up close. The Haltadefinizione Project is helping with the latter problem by making ultra-high-definition versions available of the greatest art pieces of all time.

The project uses sophisticated digital imaging techniques to bring out the kind of details that previously only art restorers had access to. The unprecedented project gives art lovers a chance to see the paintings they have always admired, but in a whole new way. Parts of the classic paintings which could easily escape notice even when viewing them in person are suddenly revealed in remarkable detail.

Currently, only a handful of paintings are available for viewing on Haltadefinizione’s website. They range from the extremely well-known (Da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus) to the less famous but just as amazing (Pontormo’s Deposition, Church of Santa Felicita and Bronzino’s Portrait of Eleonor of Toledo).

The advanced technology used to make the images available online allows one to zoom in for extreme close-ups – close enough that individual brush strokes can be identified and centuries’ worth of cracks in the paint can be counted. Waiting for the images to load requires a bit of patience, but seeing these timeless works of art so closely is definitely worth the wait.



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