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TOY STORY 3

SYNOPSIS:
As Andy (voice of John Morris) prepares to depart for college, Buzz (Tim Allen), Woody (Tom Hanks) and the rest of his loyal toys are troubled about their uncertain future: will they be discarded into the dumpster or put in the attic? In fact, the toys land up in a room full of untamed tots at the Sundale Daycare Centre who can't wait to break in the new toys - in a bad way. To make things worse, the Centre's toys are under the oppressive eye of Lotso (Ned Beatty), the toy bear that smells of strawberries but acts like prison commandant. It's pandemonium as Andy's toys try to stay together, ensuring "no toy gets left behind." In the midst of the mayhem, Barbie (Jodi Benson) comes face to plastic face with Ken (Michael Keaton).

Review by Louise Keller:
Whatever age you are happens to be the right age for this charming film from the magicians at Pixar, who manage yet once again to whisk us away to a fantasy reality in which we are 'in the zone'. It's hard to believe that it has been 15 years since we first met Woody, Buzz and the gang of toys whose world centered on their young owner Andy. In this third film, the writers have cleverly brought time forward with Andy's imminent departure to college, while little in Woody's world has changed. He and the toys may look the same on the outside, yet on the inside they are feeling the creeping vine of neglect. The CG animation and 3D is superb, yet it is on an emotional level that we relate to these quirky characters whose latest escapade is a mix of adventure, thrills and deliciously inventive humour that propels us on a soaring trampoline into Pixar heaven.

Being there when you are needed is the film's theme, as the toys are faced with being discarded and worse still, separated, as Operation Playtime fails and Andy must clear out his room. Each character is a delight. First and foremost, there's Woody (Tom Hanks), the film's protagonist, who remains good and strong through all the trials and tribulations as the toys face new challenges and environments. There are chuckles as Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), temporarily becomes a Spanish-spouting astronaut, although the biggest laughs belong to campy, narcissistic Barbie doll Ken (Michael Keaton), who models his entire wardrobe for his dream-match (the scene when he and Barbie meet is very funny). Mr Potato Head (Don Rickles) is a scene stealer: when he assembles his eyes, nose, ears and mouth into a tortilla as part of the escape plan from the 'washed up old place' day care where the toys are being chewed, kicked and drooled on. The monkey with cymbals and glazed eyes who acts as security guard is also memorable. There is so much detail in each character, I could go on, but you probably get the idea.

Everything works: from the excellent voice cast to the way the story naturally evolves and leaves us in a happy place. This is a film that will certainly endure the test of time. You don't need to have toys to enjoy it.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It's not often you can say edition 3 of a movie franchise is as good and inventive and fresh as the first 2, but this is the case and I'm delighted it is. The Pixar magic lives on: some 11 years have passed, and the youngster whose toys came alive when he wasn't around is about to go to College as a 17 year old. Hardly the place to take a roomful of toys ... on the other hand, Woody is a special case. Anyway, I can't reveal too much detail, except to say the story grabs us as a parable of loyalty and friendship, with a great sense of fun riding along the deeper themes.

Perhaps the most endearing aspect of the Toy Story films is their perfect balance between cute and cool. The right tone is especially crucial if you're going to introduce such iconic toys as Barbie and Ken. To say these additions are successful is an understatement. While the filmmakers poke gentle fun at both, there is a redemptive resolution that is neither mocking nor straight. How's that for clever balance.

The animation is superb, of course, nuanced, detailed, fluid and almost tangible in 3D. Yet the film doesn't try and imitate real life, neither in action nor in settings. (The characters and their personas are another matter...) The voice cast delivers added depth to each of them - and amusing idiosyncrasies. Mr and Mrs Potato Head (Don Rickles, Estelle Harris) are wonderful creations whose eyes, ears, arms, legs and mouth all come popping off; Tom Hanks is as good as ever as Woody and Tim Allen is terrific as Buzz Lightyear - especially when he is accidentally rebooted in his Spanish persona!

Driven by a good plot and clearly defined characters, Toy Story 3 is injected with humour and powered by fun as the adventure of their lives brings these toys together in ways that will entertain and move you. We see our better selves on display through their actions, without having to feel guilty about our weaknesses.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0


TOY STORY 3 (PG)
(US, 2010)

VOICES: Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Joan Cusack, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger, Whoopi Goldberg, Wallace Shawn, Kristen Schaal, Timothy Dalton, R Lee Ermey, Ned Beattie

PRODUCER: Darla K. Anderson

DIRECTOR: Lee Unkrich

SCRIPT: Michael Arndt

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jeremy Lasky (camera), Kim White (lighting)

EDITOR: Ken Shretzmann

MUSIC: Randy Newman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bob Pauley

RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Pixar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 24, 2010







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