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Toy Story in Digital 3D

Starring: The voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, a fantastic script co-written by Joss Whedon, and some newly added depth perception.

Rated: PG.

Story: Disney decides that it's simply impossible to have too many 3D computer-animated kids' movies released in one year and sets Pixar to work adding a third dimension to its back catalogue.

Some time later, small children up and down the land scream and swallow their magic glasses in terror as Scud the dog leaps out of cinema screens at them.

Comments: If you're old enough to be able to read this, then you've probably seen Toy Story. If you haven't, then rush out to see it now. It was the first full-length computer animated movie and it's still one of the best. Pixar's output in recent years has become rather ponderous and overblown but Toy Story maintains a fast pace and has excellent dialogue with something for both adults and children. It truly is a classic.

Believe me - I've seen it dozens of times.

When my boys were small, it was their favourite film for a month or two. They watched it at lunch-time and tea-time every day. Over and over. Five years on, however, they couldn't remember anything about it but I heard every line in my head before it came out the speakers...

Without having any real need to pay attention to the words or plot, I was able to concentrate on the 3D effect:

Looking at the screen normally, there's a mild fuzziness to the picture. Putting on the polarised glasses brings everything into focus and introduces an impressive amount of depth. The effect works best on fairly stationary, close-up shots, appearing very convincing. Fast action is quite blurred, though, and landscape shots tend to be divided into distinct planes. It's a huge, full-colour improvement over the old red-and-green glasses, nonetheless.

The 3D is certainly cool but I'm yet to be convinced it's the future. I found it hard work figuring out where to focus at times and wearing the polarised glasses over my normal specs was initially uncomfortable and remained slightly niggly throughout. It will be interesting to see what film-makers achieve with the technology once they've really got to grips with it. Then we'll discover whether it can add some depth to their vision, not just the picture.

As for Toy Story itself, the boys (aged 7 and 9) loved it but Sproglette (aged 5) was less impressed. She could probably have done with some stronger female characters (not to mention some fairies and a mermaid). It didn't help that she refused to keep her glasses on and that she's scared of dogs. Ho well. Even with her sitting whining next to me, it was still great.

Conclusion: Toy Story in all its glory and in your face.

Explosions: A couple.
Quotable lines: Scores. ('We need more monkeys!' is a solution worth suggesting in the face of almost any problem.)
Dodgy 3D moments: A few.
Flying toys?: Two or three (but they're really just falling with style...)
What does 'To infinity and beyond!' actually mean?: Er...

Rating: 5/5.


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