Toy Story 3: When Will The Backlash Start?

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The World Cup. You have to hate it, don’t you? Well, as a fairly normal Englishman I shouldn’t (unless of course we have lost to Slovenia by the time you’re reading this), but one of the side effects for the UK seems to have been that we’ve had a bit of a wait for Toy Story 3 to come out. While release windows have closed on a lot of movies (to the extent where we even got Iron Man 2 first this year), Disney and Pixar films still seem to take a while to make the transition, and the fact that no-one would have been in cinemas in the UK to see it this week just hasn’t helped, apparently.

So I’m still some weeks away from seeing the movie (and am at present checking the BFI website daily so I can book tickets to see it in IMAX, even though I’m on their mailing list), and all that’s doing is causing my own personal hype and anticipation to ramp up to fairly uncomfortable levels. And the reception that this threequel has received is only serving to ramp that up further.

There are, when it comes to movies, two main barometers of popular culture. Much has already been said on the ‘net about the tiny handful of critics who dared to defy popular opinion and give the movie a less than glowing review, resulting in only a 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Despite gaining favour with 173 critics, the selfish 3 who didn’t match the consensus have doomed this to be only the fourth best movie of the year, and failing to displace Toy Story 2, which is still the current site champion with 147 out of 147 positive reviews.

But never fear, there is another. The Internet Movie Database allows you, yes you, to pass an opinion, and so far over 12,000 of you have. Rather than effectively a yes or no, you can cast a vote between 1 and 10, and at this point in time even the super-secret Bayesian average used by the site has worked out that this is the eighth best movie of all time.

Now the chances are that, if this article is more than a day old, the movie may have edged even higher, possibly towards the coveted top spot. (I’m sure somebody, somewhere, is coveting that top spot, although maybe the geniuses at Pixar are maybe not losing sleep over it.) Go and check now if you want to see where it is now.

But in getting into the top 10, Toy Story 3 has displaced a previous holder of the top spot, The Dark Knight. The ascension of that movie to the top spot had a number of effects, not least the fact that, at the time, every blogger for a hundred miles seemed to have an opinion on whether the Bat-movie justified its elevated status. And the general consensus was that it didn’t. There were also some knock-on effects, for example in the rush to rate the movies at the top to keep it there, the fanboys ended up leaving a different movie top, after The Godfather had headed the list for a decade – The Shawshank Redemption still tops the list to this day.

Now with the IMDb rankings, two things happen. Firstly, the people that really want to see a movie go to see it first, so just about anything of quality has a higher score in its first few weeks than it will ultimately settle at, and secondly the Bayesian average takes a while to elevate the movie up the list, as the average improves the more people that have rated the film. So Toy Story 3 could certainly be top 5 for a while, and maybe even hit the top slot.

And if it does, will the internet try to bring it down in the same way the did The Dark Knight? That movie ends (spoilers) with Batman on the run, having turned the public against him – so maybe it wasn’t too much of a stretch for that to become a metaphor for the movie’s publicity. But Toy Story 3, which has had a viral marketing campaign the likes of which we’ve only really seen before with The Dark Knight, has one of the most beloved sets of characters of movies of the last 20 years, and has been heralded as the final movie in the trilogy. So people won’t try to tear this one down as well – will they?

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