Has Pixar set the bar too high? There’s nothing really wrong with Toy Story 3 – on the contrary, there’s so much right that it would be tempting to overlook its shortcomings altogether. But we get paid for full-service reviews, so it is with slight hesitation that I applaud the conclusion of a memorable trilogy.
Why the misgiving? Everything would appear to be in place. Pixar once again has created a spectacle unlike any other, unsurpassed in its visual brilliance and in the richness of detail evident in its characters and the world they inhabit. It is a movie that demands repeat viewings, as the intricacies of its artwork can’t be appreciated fully in a single sitting.
Walk into the adult-friendly playground that is the Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, and the first thing that strikes you is the lavish decorations – a life-size replica of Ken’s decadent dollhouse from Toy Story 3, complete with a working elevator, rising from the lobby’s handsome, light-blond hardwood floor as if in tribute to the movie and its detail-obsessed creators.
Rarely before has wordy exposition been employed more excessively and to lesser effect than in Angels & Demons, Ron Howard’s middling follow-up to The Da Vinci Code.
For those craving action and suspense, there’s little to be found here, despite a whirlwind denouement that sees our hero, Harvard professor and renowned symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), racing around Rome in search of an Illuminati killer. (More on that later.) Instead, screenwriters David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman subject us to a heavy-handed history lesson about the Catholic church that owes much to author Dan Brown’s tendentiously researched novel.