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Toy Story 2 3D

release date 22/01/2010

Screening in 3D for one week only, in anticipation of the release of Toy Story 3 in July, Toy Story 2 is smarter, slicker, faster and funnier than the original.

The film gallops at full speed for every one of its 92 minutes, combining jaw-dropping animation with a screenplay full to bursting with instantly endearing characters and heart-stopping action set-pieces. Directors John Lasseter, Ash Brannon and Lee Unkrich, and their extensive team of animators, have created a contemporary fable about friendship and courage which effortlessly charms viewers of all ages, combining slapstick humour with pop culture references. Whereas the first Toy Story belonged to Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen), part two is Woody's film, focusing on the lovable cowboy's battle with an evil toy store manager (Wayne Knight) who plans to sell him to a Japanese collector.

Woody (Tom Hanks), it transpires, is a rare and valuable collector's item. Having been stolen from Andy's home, Woody meets up with cowgirl Jessie (Joan Cusack), Stinky Pete the Prospector (Kelsey Grammer) and his trusty steed Bullseye, who used to star with him in the popular 1950s show, Woody's Round-up. Unlike Woody, the other toys are looking forward to going to Japan to their new home - well, they have been in store for several years, awaiting the cowboy's arrival to complete the set. So when Buzz, Mr Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky Dog (Reg Varney) and co turn up to free Woody, they are naturally less than enthusiastic about letting the cowboy go, setting up a climactic chase in the bowels of an airport and ultimately a passenger airplane.

All the old favourites are present, accompanied by some new faces (Mrs Potato Head, evil Emperor Zurg, Wheezy the asthmatic penguin), brought to life by terrific vocal performances from a talented ensemble cast. Hanks and Allen go to infinity and beyond as Woody and Buzz, whose love-hate relationship provides Toy Story 2 with its most emotionally satisfying and humorous moments. Grammer yee-haws for all his worth as Stinky Pete and Cusack steals the show as Jessie, as quick with her lasso as her tongue. The film has great fun at its own expense, especially during the scenes at the toy store where Buzz and co happen upon a whole aisle of Barbie dolls having a pool party (tour guide Barbie proceeds to tell all of her new friends about the foolish toy shop owners who ordered insufficient Buzz Lightyear dolls one Christmas).

Ho ho. The increased level of detail in the characters and the backgrounds is extraordinary - from the hairs on the arms of the humans to the increased expressiveness in the faces of the toys, the animators haven't missed a trick. There's a saying that sequels are never as good as the original. Toy Story 2 is one of the few exceptions to the rule.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2006, All Rights Reserved.

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