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Toy Story 3D

It's hard to believe Toy Story is twenty years' old. It is one of those rare films that despite the advancement in technology and changes to society, it never shows its age. Toy Story is an animated classic that can be enjoyed by any age, from zero to one hundred and six. It is the Citizen Kane of CGI animation and certainly doesn't fall into the pit of many animated films of being strictly 'kids only'.

Toy Story tells the tale of toy cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks), who - as Andy's (John Morris) favourite toy - is the leader of a group of toys living in Andy's bedroom. One day Andy is given a new toy for his birthday - 'Space Ranger' Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), whose many features including a karate chop action and retractable rings make him Andy's new favourite toy. Woody becomes jealous of Buzz's popularity with their owner and decides to knock him down the side of a desk using a table lamp. His plan goes awry however when the lamp instead sends Buzz falling through the window and Woody finds himself accused by the other toys of murder. Can Woody find Buzz and convince the other toys that it wasn't an attempt of murder?

One of the things I love about Toy Story is the character journey Buzz and Woody both embark on. Both have very strong character arcs and development and neither are the same at the end of the film as they were at the beginning of it. Woody goes from a self-obsessed sheriff consumed by jealousy to a loyal, selfless cowboy who is happy to let Buzz save himself from scary toy-torturer Sid (Erik von Detten), whilst Buzz starts as an arrogant, cocksure action figure who believes he is a real 'Space Ranger' to a vulnerable and depressed man who discovers the harsh reality that he is in actual fact a toy, finally ending with acceptance for who he really is. These toys don't feel like toys, they are real people who go on very real experiences: experiences of jealousy and disillusionment that many face in day-to-day life. Toy Story may be about toys that come to life but at its core it is a true-to-life story that many can relate to - and that's why it works so well.

Of course, a lot of these themes are helped by Randy Newman's score. I know a lot of people complain about how Randy Newman's music tends to point out things which are obvious and whilst in some cases this can be true (his songs for James And The Giant Peach, for example) his songs for Toy Story in my opinion enhance the narrative more than they hinder it. You've Got A Friend In Me is a classic but many tend to forget I Will Go Sailing No More, a song that highlights Buzz's self-denial about not being a toy and help to up the emotional stakes for the character.

If the scene where Buzz tries to fly doesn't plug at your heart string, then you're not human. The Toy Story series is full of many emotional moments and Buzz's self-denial is definitely up there. It's a scene with so much heart that it's impossible not to feel sorry for poor Buzz.

It's not all about tearful moments however. Toy Story is also a film with a great sense of humour. This is something that can be appreciated more when you go back as an adult and notice many jokes that went over your head when you were younger. One of my favourite lines has to be Woody's retort to Buzz 'The word I'm searching for I can't say because there's preschool toys present'. As a twenty year old it's obvious when watching this scene that Woody was referring to a swear word - my suspicion being the 'c' word. Then there's the hilarious moment Bo Peep says to Woody "Whadda ya say I get someone else to watch the sheep tonight?" - it doesn't take much imagination to work out why Bo Peep wanted somebody else to look after the sheep. Even the jokes kids will get, such as 'That's not flying. It's falling with style!' are genuinely funny, rather than the stupid potty-humour some animated films fall back on.

Besides the humour, there are a great variety of memorable moments to be had. There's the iconic race to get to the moving van, for instance, where Buzz (with a rocket strapped to his back) is holding onto Woody with the RC Car.

Then there's the scene where Woody reveals to Sid that he and the other toys are alive in an attempt to save Buzz from being burnt to cinders. I dread to think how messed up that kid became before he was hired as a binman:

That's what's great about Toy Story though: it knows it's a family movie but it's not afraid to add a few dark moments to the plot. It doesn't treat kids like idiots, it treats them as intellectuals. That's what all the best family films do: they play to the inner intelligence of children. Because children are clever and they don't require pussy-footing to understand serious themes.

It's also a film that gets the voice-acting spot-on. You can't imagine anyone else voicing Buzz Lightyear or Woody as the voices of Tim Allen and Tom Hanks are perfect for the characters. They are Woody and Buzz.

Don Rickles is perfectly cast as Mr Potato Head too. His voice just sounds right coming from the character's mouth. Even Wallace Shawn as Rex, who arguably doesn't have as great a part as the other actors, is basically exactly how you would imagine Rex would speak. It's like every one of those actors who voiced these characters were meant to provide their voices for this film, almost as though it was meant to be. It's the lightning-in-the-bottle of animated films and there will never be one any more well cast than here.

I have owned this film on 3D Blu-ray for a while now and decided to give the 3D a go the other day. Well, let me tell you something: I don't regret owning the 3D Blu-ray at all. The 3D is more depth than popping-out-of-the-screen 3D but it is an incredible experience and actually manages to add new life to the movie. The 3D somehow gives it the feel of an animated movie released in the 2010s' rather than 1995. There's an amazing 3D sequence near the end of the film where it actually looks as though the snow is falling in front of you.

If you have a 3D TV, it's well worth buying the 3D Blu-ray.

Overall, Toy Story will always be one of the greatest animated movies of all time. It's funny, it's heart-warming, it's exciting, sad, thrilling and has a dark undercurrent: everything a family movie should be. The film also boasts great character development for its lead characters with Buzz and Woody, who go on satisfying character journeys that fundamentally change the (toy) people they are. Every character in this movie is perfectly cast and Randy Newman's score is like the icing on-top of a plastic toy cake. I Will Go Sailing No More should really be regarded more fondly as one of Disney's best film songs, even if it's not as good as You've Got A Friend In Me. The film was re-released in 3D back in 2009 and I would definitely recommend grabbing hold of the 3D Blu-ray version. It is mainly depth 3D with a few pop-outs but it helps enhance the narrative of the film - and the 3D effect with the snow at the end is amazing.