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USA 2010
Directed by
Lee Unkrich
103 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Sharon Hurst
4.5 stars

Toy Story 3

Synopsis:  The toys are back, but life has changed. Andy is now 17 and heading off to college. As he clears out his room he prepares to take Woody with him and to relegate the rest of the toys to the attic. But Andy’s mum mistakenly sends the attic bag to the kerb to await the garbage van. The distraught toys escape and make their way to Sunnyside Daycare Centre where they discover, to their horror, that the toddlers are all a bit too rough and the place is run Mafia-style by Lotso, a grumpy old Teddy bear who treats everyone as prisoners. Can the toys escape and reunite with their beloved Woody? And will life ever be the same without the person they belong to – Andy?

Let me open by saying you must see this film, regardless of your age! It is a total delight, with themes to entertain all, and indeed to give food for thought on such weighty issues as mortality, obsolescence, belonging, family, loyalty and friendship.  I know you may be sceptical and wonder how an animated film can fill such big boots, but it just does.

All the favourites are back – Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) being the linchpin characters, but of course there’s the Potato Heads, Hamm (the pink piggy bank), the three aliens, Rex (the not-so-fierce dinosaur), Slinky the dog and Jesse the cowgirl (Joan Cusack). A selection of clever new characters also entertain, especially a pompous thespian hedgehog.

The animation is, as ever, terrific, though not as much use is made of the 3D as could have been (though what could compare favourably to Avatar, released last year?). But what really marks this film out for glory is the splendid plot, with plenty of humour, real emotion, adventure and nods to other films. The opening scene is a corker, as a runaway train, full of Smurf orphans is careering towards a broken bridge and Woody gallops, Indiana Jones style to the rescue. Buzz is in Superman modeand the action is non-stop excitement in the first five minutes. Then we cut to reality and see it is actually Andy reminiscing on his childhood games as he packs the toys away before leaving for college.

The clever dialogue reflects gently upon aging, moving on, and being left behind, all issues close to everyone’s heart. When the toys decide to head to daycare they are told that is a place for washed-up toys who have no owner. Lotso (Ned Beatty) pontificates that “no owner means no heartbreak”. He is a marvellous Godfather-type character with his henchmen Big Baby (a hilarious horror film style character) and Octopus. Even with these not-so-nice characters we eventually find out what has led them to their bitter-and-twisted attitude.  Barbie from the previous films is joined by the fabulous Ken (Michael Keaton), and many wonderful jokes are made at his expense. Traditional goodies vs the baddies adventure plot points abound and the action and suspense ramp up a treat as the toys find themselves eventually heading towards a massive garbage incinerator.

Buzz displays a couple of new impressive persona in his programming while Woody is as always the loyal reliable hero, there for those who need him. A very special new character is introduced here for the finale of the series – Bonnie – a sweet little tot who will barely leave a dry eye in the house as she features in the stunningly conceived truly touching ending which has a resonance for all who were ever young – which I guess is everyone!  (And p.s. don’t leave before the end credits have rolled).




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