Sunday, 25 July 2010

Summer Goings-On and Toy Story 3!

Hello all, I must say, the lack of new posts from me has been abysmal, even by my standards! Apologies for this, Summer has been a surprisingly busy time, so here's a blast of what's been going on...

To begin, I have survived my first year of University unscathed and with grade A marks, apart from my last essay on feminism in animation which was only written in a week and received a B! XD I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year and made lots of friends, some of whom I've been able to meet over the holidays which has been great. All of my recent work can be seen on my Vimeo and Youtube pages.

One piece in particular I would like to highlight is an animatic (like a moving storyboard) that myself and Jess wrote and drew together. Only the music is not ours (from the How to Train Your Dragon and Up soundtracks). We have received some great feedback for it, so thought it would be good to share! We're hoping to have it fully animated one day!

Next up, to keep myself busy over the summer, I've completely redesigned my personal portfolio at which now sports an animated banner and some floral backgrounds. I've changed it in the hope of appealing more to visitors and being easier to browse! I'm also taking commissions for various art and animation needs, so spread the word! I've already got a couple, so grab a slot before they're gone! :P

AmberDust Studios - Online Portfolio of Gemma Roberts

And on the side I've been making a lot of changes around Final Fantasy World; embedded Wordpress into the main page for updating FF news complete with personal avatars for commenting; written a review for Final Fantasy XIII (a game with undelivered potential!); and made a Facebook and Twitter page to follow us!

It's been very sad to see so many brilliant Final Fantasy fan sites disappear in recent years, so I'm determined to keep FFWorld going!

Next week, I'm looking forward to "house-sitting" at my boyfriend's while his parents and sister are on holiday--will be nice to spend some time together! As Alex is a film maker, we're thinking of doing some proper script-writing, or perhaps recording a song (as he plays guitar) since he has been doing some great covers on his own recently!

I recently completed a 2-year-old painting that had been left to gather digital dust during the busy months of college, so that was nice to have it see the light of day! It's on DeviantArt now! :)

But now, onto the real thing that's been on my mind since finally seeing it this afternoon...

This is it, the end of Toy Story 3... it is the most funny, sweet, charming, honest, beautiful and heart-breaking films I have seen this year. But what do I expect; it's Pixar!

Growing up with the original two films, feels like they were preparing me for the finale, the day when Andy finally grows up and starts to forget his old toys. Faced with a lifetime stuck in the attic, being donated to a daycare centre or thrown out with the garbage is really the toughest moment for the toys so far and goes from bad to even worse.

Pixar really could not have done a better job with this film. Everything we had come to expect and more was granted. If you watch this as a child, you can appreciate it for your own experiences with toys; as a teenager, you associate with the memories when you had to leave for college, give away your old toys and let things go; and as an adult you may remember the same experiences, but perhaps it is Andy's mother seeing her son's empty room and saying good bye to him that is what you take away from this film.

They is really something for everyone in Toy Story 3. If you like action and adventure, it's here, if you like comedy then this is probably Pixar's funniest film next to The Incredibles thanks to the hilarity of Buzz in "Spanish mode" (I don't think I've ever been in a cinema full of people laughing so much), if you like romance then there's a lovely subplot with Jessie and Buzz, if you like animation then there's plenty to see with expert character animation and an abundance of locations all gorgeously conceived by Daisuke Tsutsumi's brilliant art direction.

Even if you just like films is general, this is a film that must be seen. It's fantastic on the big screen and although it's great in 3D, it's not particularly necessary as they do not use it for gratuitous and "gimmicky" 3D effects and shoot it like a regular animated film anyway. So it's equally as good in 2D.

The opening is pure genius, giving the toys an epic 'runaway train' adventure through Andy's rather cinematic imagination and referencing the opening scene of the first film in such an original way. The traditional "short", Night & Day, was a marvelous piece of work that opened Toy Story 3 very appropriately. It was lovely to see 2D and 3D merge so seamlessly and work! 

I thought that How to Train Your Dragon earlier this year would be a tough one to beat (being Dreamwork's best film thus far in my opinion!) but Toy Story 3 has really blown it out of the water. I loved the direction they took with the characters, even though there are fewer than the previous films (I was already sad at the beginning to find out that some memorable ones had been lost!) but it allowed them to concentrate on what mattered. It's consistently funny and witty throughout with some great lines from Mr Potato Head, Buzz Lightyear and even Barbie!

I also noticed that there was less dialogue for Slinky Dog and wondered whether this was out of respect for the death of Jim Varney, although he did have some lines voiced by Blake Clark.

With every year, Pixar seem to become better and better with their films, and the Toy Story series, I believe, is an example of this. Toy Story 3 shines out from the rest as screen-writing perfection. There is nothing I would change about the ending of this film, and will enjoy re-watching this series for years to come. IMBD has collectively given this a 9/10, but I have to go one step further and give it a 10/10 for concluding their story in such an emotionally satisfying way and giving these loveable characters the send-off that they deserve. You've outdone yourself Lee Unkrich.

That's all from me for now, but I'll probably be reporting again next week after seeing Inception (I've heard good things about it, but doubt it's ability to topple my view of Toy Story 3 which I'll definitely be seeing again soon!) so check back soon!

Bye for now! :)
Love Gemma