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|Toy Story 3|
dir Lee Unkrich
scr Michael Arndt
prd Darla K Anderson
voices Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Michael Keaton, Jodi Benson, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, John Morris, Emily Hahn
release US 18.Jun.10, UK 23.Jul.10
10/US Disney 1h43
Packing it in: Woody, Buzz and friends
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Pixar's keystone franchise takes on the tone of its more serious recent films (WALL-E and UP), mixing comedy, action and emotion in a way that's pure magic: we end up laughing, frightened and crying tears of both dismay and joy.
Andy (Morris) is getting ready to go to university, so the toys are preparing to be deposited in the attic. But a mix-up sees Woody (Hanks), Buzz (Allen) and pals sent instead to Sunnyside Daycare, an apparently happy place with no end of children to play with them. Except they're put in the terrible 2's room. And the leader of the Sunnyside toys, Lots-o-Huggin Bear (Beatty) is more like a prison warden. After a series of adventures, the toys must plot an elaborate escape.
The film opens with a fantastic (and fantastical) action set piece set in the Wild West, complete with dinosaurs and spaceships, before transitioning into a more melancholy exploration of the changes life throws at us as we grow up. The sadness the toys feel about not being played with is palpable, as is the bittersweet elation of the toy paradise they enter (no one owns the toys so there's no heartbreak). And there's more to come. These dark shadings add weight and meaning to what's essentially a comical romp.
And the characters develop through increasingly beautiful animation (the 3D is very subtle) and terrific vocal work. The filmmakers weave in clever new characters, including bringing in Ken (Keaton) as a foil for Barbie (Benson). That he gets the film's dress-up montage is a stroke of genius. And there are also inventive twists, such as a hilarious scene involving Mr Potato Head (Rickles) and a tortilla. The most memorable new character is a little girl (Hahn) who sparks something unexpected in Woody, Andy and us.
Constant comical touches keep us laughing even as things get very bleak, and there's one scene that's genuinely (and beautifully) distressing. Amid all the lively antics, this is a thoughtful story about regret for the past and fear of the future, and it leaves plenty of themes for us to think about afterwards. Mainly, though, it'll leave children in mortal terror of ever throwing away another toy.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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