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Childrens

The film follows The Pirate Captain’s (on the right here and voiced by Hugh Grant) quest to win the coveted “Pirate of The Year” Award.

Arrr….Initially I was very impressed by this film. The stop-motion clay animation is superb and very smooth. It’s so smooth in fact that it ironically makes you wonder if they could have eased the workload somewhat and used computer graphics to create the same effect.

This is different from many of the other animated films made by giants such as Pixar and Disney in that it doesn’t show you a joke and then pause as a cue for you to laugh – the funny things are just there, and you can laugh if you want but the film will carry on regardless. In other words the humour is very British, very understated and also very refreshing.

Unfortunately I didn’t feel the story or character development were good enough for a full length film. The character of The Pirate Captain himself is well developed but all of the other characters are pretty much ciphers – they are there just there to make you laugh, there’s no depth to them. As a result there’s little emotional involvement, and when the film does try tugging at your heart strings it fails.

Well made and funny at times, delightful in fact. but there’s just not enough depth for a full-length film. 5/10

Ken shows that his physique isn’t just down to plastic-moulding

A sequel and a whole lot of other formulaic CGI films have dulled my appetite for films like this. Having said that Toy Story still has a lot of charm. After a slightly dull opening the film gets going when the toys find themselves sent as donations to Sunnycare Daycare. Ruled over by Lotso Bear,  initially it seems paradisiacal but things aren’t what they seem and the toys set out to escape and find their way back to their owner Andy.  However even if they get back, will he want them? Lotso is particularly sinister at times, and his henchman Big Baby can be terrifying, but it’s Ken (as in Barbie and Ken)  who is the stand-out character. He is portrayed as extremely metrosexual (read borderline gay), and provides most of the genuine laughs here. In classic Toy Story-style this film tries a number of tricks to get its emotional hooks into you, but for me it never really succeeded. Occasionally great, sometimes fun but it can also be overly manic, or even worse a bit dull at times. 6/10 (add a point if you are under 16)