Film: 'Toy Story 3' (3D) Director: Lee Unkrich; Voices: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney; Rating: ****
The multiple award-winning 1995 'Toy Story' was a landmark film in many ways. Not just in terms of technology, but especially in its brilliant storytelling and themes of friendship, brotherhood and camaraderie. Fifteen years later, the team - most of them from the original, delivers a double bill. Or shall we say, triple bill.
These films prove that beyond all the technology and glitter in cinema, what truly wins audiences over is a good story well told.
Woody (Hanks), Buzz (Allen) and the gang of toys are leading a retired life as their master Andy is grown up. They make desperate attempts to get his attention, but he prefers to spend time with his laptop and would be off to college in a few days.
His mother has given him the option to either throw away the toys or donate them. But Andy plans to keep them safely in the attic. A series of unfortunate incidents lead them to the playschool 'Sunny Side Up'.
The place at first seems like a toy heaven with an endless supply of children to play with and an affable toy leader in Lotso. Woody pleads to his gang to return to Andy as that is the first duty of a toy, to be always there for their master. However, believing they have been abandoned by Andy, the gang decides to stay while Woody tries to make it home alone.
The reality of the playschool dawns on the gang as a bunch of kids thrash the toys violently while Lotso and his gang are handled in a different section by gentle kids. Barely surviving the day when the gang decides to take matters into their own hand, calamity befalls as Lotso and his gang restore Buzz to his factory setting, and imprison the rest.
On his way home, Woody learns of the true nature of the playschool and returns to try and save his friends.
There is practically nothing you can find wrong with this film. The screenplay, the characterization, the pace, the score - everything hits bulls eye. 3D, though not necessary, only enhances the experience.
A host of new characters with their idiosyncrasies and witty dialogues add to the fun. But the best thing about the film is that it neither patronises the audience (kids and adults alike), nor takes them for granted. So what you have here is the best family film you may have seen in years.
John Lasseter, who directed the first two parts, turns producer with this one, passing on the directorial baton to team mate Lee Unkrich, who's been involved as co-director and editor of films like 'Finding Nemo' and 'Monsters Inc'.
The animation industry pioneered by Walt Disney had a resurrection with the first 'Toy Story' and you can conveniently segregate modern animation films into the pre and post 'Toy Story' era. Watch 'Toy Story 3' to know why it is so and why cinema, despite the glitter and glamour, will always be about basic human emotions and good story telling.