Bilingual is Better

Prepare yourself to fall in love with Buzz Lightyear in a whole new way!  Toy Story 3 opens today and I can honestly tell you-because my daughter and I already got to preview it-that all the raves it´s already getting touting it as the best family movie this summer are completely merited.

I will go one step further and call it the best movie made with our bilingual niños in mind! Why?  Well, because Disney-Pixar came up with the brilliant concept to activate Buzz´s Spanish mode in what is one of the most hilarious interpretations of a classic and romantic Spanish Don Juan.  The studio claims they added this endearing element to the new version of the movie to “incorporate the two languages that bind cultural ties in the U.S.”  That’s something we can stand behind.  Just imagine your kid’s pride when he hears one of his favorite toy heroes hablar en sus dos idiomas-English and Spanish!

I highly recommend watching Toy Story 3 in 3D, if you get the chance.  My daughter is almost three, and she sat quietly and completely entertained throughout the whole movie.  Granted, this installment has more drama and action, but it’s all covered with humor and wit that will have everyone in the family muerto de la risa.  My second favorite character, right after Spanish Buzz, has to be the very fashionable Ken, voiced by Michael Keaton.

When you go, please remember this one huge tip I’m giving you right now:  Stay through the end of the credits. This is when you get to clap your hands to the Gipsy Kings’ rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and laugh non-stop watching Buzz and Jessie dance a Paso Doble. Let me tell you, Buzz tiene ritmo!

Here’s a clip I worked very hard to get (for weeks!) so you can all live the moment Buzz starts speaking Spanish. Go get  your hijo/hija and watch them smile. Go. Go!

The voice actor that so elegantly brings Buzz to life in Spanish is Javier Fernandez.  Javier, also known as “La Voz de España” for his long and fruitful career as a voice actor, answered some questions for our SpanglishBaby readers.

SB:  How did you prepare yourself to give life to a character that already has it’s own personality, but that now speaks Spanish?

JF:  Precisely by always keeping that fact in mind and recognizing that a huge part of the comic element comes from the personality transformation that occurs when the Spanish mode is turned on; his moves and mannerisms change as well.  My intention was to emphasis that personality switch with my voice. I hope I was successful at it!

SB:  It will be a moment of pride for our bilingual children when they hear one of their favorite characters speak their language.  What are your thoughts about the importance of Buzz speaking Spanish?

JF:  Children learn through repetition, and if their supereheroes speak Spanish they will attempt to emulate them. I believe it’s a great idea and very effective from the pedagogical point of view, as much for Spanish-speaking children as it is for English speakers.  More and more we will witness Spanish bilingual interactions in movies. So much so that, in the future, we won’t have a need to subtitle them!

SB:  What was your favorite moment as Spanish Buzz?

JF:  I’ve liked it all, but most of all being able to portray the character’s sensible and romantic side.

As an extra treat, I’m sharing a video, for the first time, of my daughter dancing and singing to both the Spanish and the English version of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”  So, which one do you think she prefers?

Camila performing Spanish and English version of Toy Story´s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Ana Flores on Vimeo.


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