3D re-release 2010

Dir. John Lasseter. USA. 1999.

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Re-released 11 years after its initial release as a freshen up for the audience to remind themselves before the summer release of Toy Story 3 which will complete the trilogy of Woody and Buzz. In glorious and triumphant 3-D, the film can lay claim to one of those sequels that is better than the original.
Usually with sequels, there are more characters, more scope of landscape and greater narrative - bigger, louder, brasher.  What is in TS2's favour is that the crux of Toy Story (1996) was it was unchartered waters, it was never done before - never before had their been a completely computer generated film.  It was Pixar's calling card, and the thing that got people talking was it could be done in animation and a children's animation. It was a new step in not only animation but also film-making. It changed the boundaries and after they had completed 'A Bug's Life' where else were they to go.
In 1998, word moved round Disney that TS2 was to be released as a straight to video (we did not even have DVD's then) release and when John Lasseter got glimpses of rushes, he was appalled by what was going to be attached to th Pixar name. Lasseter, just like Orange Juice in the 80s, said rip it up and start again. They started from scratch, re-wrote the script and did 18 months work in 6 months still in time for the Thanksgiving release in 1999. Expectations were to break even, because the other rule of sequels is that they never earn as much as the original, it outgrossed Toy Story and A Bug's Life.
The reason is probably due to the realisation that Woody and Buzz are great characters, helped no doubt by their voices - Tom Hanks and Tim Allen respectively - at that time American cinema and television's everyman. But the script was written having everything for children, the film is glorious to look at in all its colour and detail but here is the birth of 'kidult' films where there are jokes and jibes that are funny to adults while the children laugh along with it all. While a character may do something silly, the adult will laugh at what they are saying. So while children will laugh at a pig or dinosaur talking, we are knowledgable to know that it is John Ratzenberger and Wallace Shawn injecting comic value into the characters.
Overall brilliant filmmaking and storytelling by the Pixar group, who saved their name and reputation on this. When I first saw the film in 1999, it was a small part of one of my greatest days. When I saw it this time I had a great companion next to me, and that is fitting as Toy Story is ultimately about life-long friendships that last a long time: Woody and Buzz, Andy and Woody, Jodie and Emily, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.  Universal themes told easily, with a lightness of touch and charm that is still missing from live action American cinema.
In a sad note, do not go and see it because of the 3D factor as nothing strikes you in the third dimension like 'A Christmas Carol' deliberately did.

Jamie Garwood

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