How to be winsome without trying too hard
“Toy Story 3” is just a delight.
It’s clever, well-thought-out, and supplies just the right
combination of story line, humor, and slight twist at the end.
The fact that the characters are animated seems almost secondary
after a while, because we know them and root for them anyway.
Woody (the voice of Tom Hanks) is the well-meaning sheriff, whose
loyalty is to Andy, the little boy who’s now grown up and ready to go off
to college. Andy’s Mom says
he has to decide what to do with the stuff in his room:
either throw it out, bag it and put it in the attic, or donate it to
the local day care center. The
toys inadvertently wind up in the donation bag, and they are terribly abused
at the day care center. Everybody’s
toys are nobody’s possession. And there are bullies among the toys there,
when they all come out at night to play, as well. So our ol’ favorites
like Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and Ken and Barbie and Slinky Dog and all
the rest seem destined, like “Puff the Magic Dragon,” to just sadly slip
away. Ah, but our fearless
little gang of inanimates manage somehow to save each other from destruction
and return safely to Andy, who tenderly places them in the care of a little
neighbor girl with just the right sense of imagination and wonder, pushing
that happy/sad button within even the most callous of adults.
This is great filmmaking for viewers of all ages.
And in places, simply hilarious, as well.
“Jonah Hex” is part animated, part
old-fashioned Western with a comic book feel.
The twist is that Jonah Hex, the primary character, looks like the
bad guy---all ugly and taciturn and violent.
We’re supposed to believe that he used to be a normal rancher with
a wife and family who went over to the Dark Side when his whole household
was brutally murdered before his eyes, and then his face was permanently
scarred with a scalding hot branding iron.
Well, that may be enough to make anybody mean.
He becomes a merciless bounty hunter, with a price on his own head,
but his relentlessness is suddenly needed by President U.S. Grant to hunt
down a terrorist who threatens the whole post-Civil War peace.
See, all we have to do to find Osama Bin Laden is send Jonah Hex
after him. Well, of course the
characters are caricatured. What
can we expect out of pulp fiction cowboys?
But it’s so humorless, so formulaic, and so dreary that find
ourselves wishing for---Buzz Lightyear in his space suit suddenly doing a
“Coco And Igor” is, in its own
way, just as taciturn and formulaic; there’s
just an elegiac wrapping. Coco
Chanel (Anna Mouglalis) is at the height of her creative powers in postwar
, and the world is beating a path to her upscale dress shop.
She feels sorry for Igor Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelson), whose vanguard
composition “Rite of Spring” was met with such vituperative outrage by
the Parisian bluebloods prior to the War’s outbreak that the illustrious
composer is now reduced to poverty, and worse, obscurity.
Coco feels sorry for him, and takes him and his entire family into
her own country estate, where Igor soon emerges from his funk and begins
seriously composing some indelibly “modern” music, and there’s
something about all the creative juices flowing in that place that Coco and
Igor are attracted to each other like moths to flame.
Of course, their fiery romance cannot help but sizzle out, leaving
Igor feeling burned and consumed (which only added emotional depth to his
compositions), and his family life in tatters, but he remains strangely
stoic throughout. She hardly
ever smiles, either. It’s
like raw passion meets haute couture and creates a blazing comet that soon
comes crashing down to earth. Powerful
score, though. Great wardrobes.
Ardor alternating with languor, interspersed with classical etudes
that sometimes sound like Scott Joplin is trying to come out and play for a
while. But we can’t really
root for anybody here, and we certainly aren’t amused, and there are
neither behavioral mores, nor morals to the story.
And we find ourselves wishing for a wise-cracking Mr. Potato Head,
just to lighten things up.
“Toy Story 3” deserves all the
accolades and attention it’s now receiving, because it’s just so
incredibly winsome. Without
even trying too hard.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace