Toy Story 3D (Re-release) *****
With 3D having officially become a huge money maker for the movie industry, Hollywood studios are now exploring more ways of making big bucks out of the medium and Disney has come up with just the answer – re-release old 2D movies in 3D. And they are starting off by bringing the Pixar classic Toy Story back to the big screen (with Toy Story 2 to follow some time next year). With Toy Story 3 hitting cinema screens next year it is certainly an apt time to bring the Toy Story franchise back to the big screen and introduce a new generation of kids to it, but with the original classic already having been seen by many, whether it be at the cinema, on video, on DVD, or even BluRay, there is undoubtedly question as to whether there is any artistic merit to this release (probably not) or if it is little more than a weak attempt at making a bit more money out a movie that has already been a huge cash cow for Disney. And, of course, will people actually pay (particular with the extra surcharge for 3D) to see a film that they have already seen, just because it is now being shown in an extra dimension?
Anyone reading will likely know the plot of Toy Story already but anyone who doesn’t here is a recap: A little boy named Andy (voiced by John Morris) loves to be in his room, playing with his toys, especially his cowboy doll named Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks). But, what do the toys – the collection also including Mr. Potato Head (voiced by Don Rickles), Slinky Dog (voiced by Jim Varney), Rex (voiced by Wallace Shawn), Hamm (voiced by John Ratzenberger), Bo Beep (voiced by Annie Potts) and Sergeant (voiced by R. Lee Ermey) – do when Andy is not with them? They come to life. Woody believes that he has a good life (as a toy). However, he must worry about Andy’s family moving, and what Woody does not know is about Andy’s birthday party. Woody does not realize that Andy’s mother gave him an action figure known as Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen), who does not believe that he is a toy, but rather the character himself, and quickly becomes Andy’s new favorite toy. Woody, who is now consumed with jealousy, tries to get rid of Buzz. Then when Woody and Buzz are both lost they must work together to find a way to get back to Andy before he moves without them, but they will have to pass through ruthless toy killer Sid Phillips (voiced by Erik Von Detten) if they are to make it home in time.
With this 3D version of Toy Story being little more than the original film presented in 3D with no other discernable difference there is no real question as to its artistic merit – there isn’t any – or the purpose of its release – to increase interest in the Toy Story franchise ahead of the much anticipated third installment. This is to say that the film doesn’t really gain much at all in this re-release – the manner in which it is presented heightens the aesthetics of the animation but that is all – but it also isn’t to say that the film is any way inferior to the original 2D version released all the way back in 1995. The animation, while seeming less textured than Pixar’s recent animated efforts, is still amazing, standing up extremely well and showing that Pixar’s work will stand the test of time. The story and humour are still superb, with memorable characters who we can really care about – an impressive feat considering that they are toys – a truly fleshed out plot and a combination of hilarious gags for the younger viewers and witty in-jokes for the more observant. The voice cast too is no less excellent, with everyone doing a great job of humanizing their toy characters. The only difference to the film is that with crisp clear digital presentation and 3D – that is as good as could be hoped for considering the film was never made for 3D – it is slightly more pleasing visually but for anyone who already owns the film on DVD or, better yet, BluRay these are things that may not be enticing enough to make this really worth checking out at your cinema. This is by no means to say that Toy Story has lost it as (while it lacks the substance of Pixar’s more recent works) it is still a true classic but as to whether it is really worth paying the admission (particularly with the additional charge for 3D), I would say probably not.
Review by Robert Mann BA (Hons)
© BRWC 2010.
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