Toy Story (1995)



Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Altered film history

When people think of Pixar, rarely do they think about where it originated from anymore. It just…is. Most people love and respect this industry, and await further releases every year, but not all take the time to reflect on its origins. Pixar, after all, defined CGI in film, altering the way we look at film. Toy Story was the first movie of its kind, and when it was released, it forced viewers’ jaws wide open. Being the first of many was just one of the elements that helped make Toy Story an instant classic, and quite honestly, one of the best movies ever made.

Andy is your average kid that plays with his toys. Woody (Tom Hanks), the cowboy with a pull string, is Andy’s favorite toy…that is until Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) bounces into the picture. Buzz, the spaceman, is the toy, the toy every kid on the planet wishes they had. It was electronic, had fun buttons, it made sounds, had hidden compartments…it was the toy of the century, ladies and gentlemen…only…he had no idea he was even a toy. When Woody gets jealous, his anger accidentally knocks Buzz Lightyear out of the window…hence our adventure begins…

The story is so simple, yet so complex. Simple in a way that a child can understand and enjoy and complex in a way that adults can also enjoy while watching with their kids. There are subtle moments here and there where an adult would pick up on, like the moral of the story, and how much Joss Whedon is a child at heart. He had to be a child at heart to write this story – he knew to put in specific toys that would help kids connect with the film, but more importantly, he was able to accurately enter a child’s imagination and show us what a world of toys looks like through the eyes of children. Let’s be honest, we were all kids at one point, and this film, no matter how good or bad it is, is able to transport its viewers into the past, where they will remember the good ol’ days.

The plot is a bit confusing. There is not a constant goal of any of the characters really…a point where someone says, okay, this is what I’m going to do, and this is how I’m going to do it. You usually see a lack of these things in coming-of-age films, which is not a hard category to find in the children’s section, but that not really what this is either. This is one of those rare instances where there isn’t as much of a plot than a story wrapped around the moral. The moral was crystal clear – the consequence of greed and jealousy. You made your bed, now you have to sleep in it. The moral itself was constant throughout, the plot was split into two conflicts – man v. man when Woody and Buzz were adversaries, and man v. nature when Woody and Buzz were allies. It all pulls together by the end of the film in the most satisfying ways.

Visually speaking, this is where things get a bit jumbled. Part of being a critic is reviewing for those who haven’t seen it yet, a new audience, so to speak. There were elements in this movie where a new audience would be a tad disappointed. There are simply standards in this day in age. Imagine some kid watching Harry Potter, and then watching Avatar, and then finally moving on to Toy Story. It’s going to look pretty bad. This is the first CGI movie, so the animation isn’t perfect…it’s actually slightly choppy. The graphics are also nowhere near par for modern films either, but you can let most of that go when you know they are toys…then again…there was just something about it that didn’t come off feeling believable. Take that as you will.

The score was amazing, and the movie as a whole is so memorable that by the time you are in your mid-twenties, you have the entire script memorized. Trust me, I know.


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